FOI request - felling licence in Sheffield.

Ian Dalton made this Freedom of Information request to Forestry Commission

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Dear Forestry Commission,

I have contacted you several times using several different means and emailed various FC offices starting with an email I sent in February and have yet to receive a response. Please see my original email below to which I would appreciate a reply. I would simply like to know if Sheffield City Council require a felling licence as they are felling thousands of healthy trees. If they require one I would like to know why action has not been taken, or if action has been taken, why it was ineffective. If they do not require a licence I would like to know why they are exempt. I note that the FC intervened with Northumberland Council and halted some felling work they were involved in whilst an investigation was carried out. I would like to know how this case differs with Sheffield and why one was investigated by you and Sheffield appears not to have been (to my knowledge).

Original email sent to [email address] in February 2017:
"Dear FC,

My name is Ian Dalton and I'm a tree officer for Bromley in London. I'm writing to you regarding the mass felling of healthy trees in Sheffield which I'm sure you're all too aware of. I've been following it quite closely with shock and horror. I had a look at the felling licence exemptions and it seems to me that Sheffield City Council and their contractor Amey might require a felling licence because of the large volume of healthy street trees that they are in the process of felling for no good reason. I also read an article in Hort week that talks about an instance where you have apparently intervened and halted the felling program whilst you investigate the necessity for a felling licence. Has the possible need for a felling licence in Sheffield been brought to your attention? If so, what is your opinion. If not, is it something you would be willing to get involved in? I'm a great fan of Forestry Commission and I would like to think that you would not condone the mass felling of healthy, mature street trees and that you would step in try to prevent it continuing if you could. I would very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Ian Dalton "

Yours faithfully,
Ian Dalton

King, Jenny,


Dear Mr Dalton


Thank you for contacting us via the ‘whatdotheyknow’ web site.  I am sorry
your earlier attempts to contact us direct were unsuccessful.


We have already responded to another request via ‘whatdotheyknow’ about
the requirements for felling license for the tree felling as part of the
Streets Ahead programme in Sheffield and you may find that of interest. 
In summary, a licence is not required when felling is in compliance with
an Act of Parliament. The felling under the Streets Ahead contract is
being carried out under the Highways Act 1980.  The Highways  Act gives
local authorities the power to fell trees if they ‘endanger or obstruct
the passage of vehicles or pedestrians, or obstructs or interferes with
the view of drivers of vehicles or the light from a public lamp, [or
overhangs a highway so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of


In the case you refer to at County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland the trees
felled were in a parkland setting, not immediately adjacent to any
highway.  The Forestry Commission investigation concluded that an offence
had been committed and using its powers under Section 17A of the Forestry
Act 1967 served a Restocking Notice.


Yours sincerely


Jenny King
Parliamentary and Information Rights Officer | Director England’s Office |
Forestry Commission England
620 Bristol Business Park | Coldharbour Lane | Bristol | BS16 1EJ



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David Jones left an annotation ()

Forestry Commission mention another FOI request to which they have responded. It's probably this one:

Mr Long left an annotation ()


"King, Jenny, Forestry Commission 20 August 2018

Dear Mr Buxton,

The Forestry Commission is currently investigating the felling of street trees in Sheffield. The Forestry Commission advised Sheffield City Council that we were commencing an investigation on the 19 April.

Best wishes

Jenny King
Parliamentary and Information Rights Officer | Director England’s Office | Forestry Commission England

620 Bristol Business Park | Coldharbour Lane | Bristol | BS16 1EJ
0300 067 4264"