Data on forest damage due to windthrow in the last decade: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

Provide an overview of permissions granted due to windthrow? Or can you provide me with a source that could help me in my search?


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (Information not held) applies to some of the information you have requested.

With the introduction of The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into effect on 1st April 2019 along with supporting Regulations, the requirement for a felling permission for windblown trees was introduced unless the felling was covered by other exemptions. Prior to April 1st 2019 we did not issue felling licences for windblow.

On our felling permission application form we ask for the reason for felling. However, while our Public Register of felling permissions does provide information on individual felling permissions, this information is not recorded in our systems in a searchable manner, so we are unable to filter this information and share it externally.

We also provide felling permission approval via our Long Term Forest Plans. These provide approval for 10 years and can be amended in the event of windblow in order to change felling coupes. Again, our register of felling permission proposals within Forest Plan applications provides information on individual Forest Plans, but this information is not recorded in our systems in a searchable manner.

Following Storm Arwen, Forest Research used earth observation data to identify potential areas of windblown trees across Scotland; the resulting map of windblow locations is available on their website. We also have information on our website with regards to our contingency plan for catastrophic windblow.

Forest Research also publish annual statistics that are available to the public, but these do not specifically mention windblow.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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