What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
An EIA is used to determine whether consent should be given for work to go ahead.
The 4 types of forestry work that an EIA can apply to are:
- afforestation - planting new woods and forests including direct seeding or natural regeneration, planting Christmas trees or short rotation coppice
- deforestation - felling woodland to use the land for a different purpose
- forest roads - the formation, alteration or maintenance of private ways on land used or to be used for forestry purposes including roads within a forest or leading to one
- forestry quarries - quarrying to get materials needed for forest road works on land used or to be used for forestry purposes, or on land held or occupied with that land
Area thresholds and sensitive areas
The 4 types of forestry work each carry an area threshold.
|Project||Threshold where any part of the land is in a sensitive area||Threshold where no part of the land is in a sensitive area|
|Afforestation||2 hectares in a National Scenic Area (NSA) and no threshold in other sensitive areas (listed below)||20 hectares|
|Deforestation||0.5 hectare in a NSA and no threshold in other sensitive areas||1 hectare|
|Forest roads||No threshold||1 hectare|
|Forestry quarries||No threshold||1 hectare|
Thresholds and exceptional circumstances
A forestry project will be considered as not likely to have a significant effect on the environment if the area covered or to be covered by the project does not exceed any relevant threshold specified in the above table. However, you must apply for consent if we believe there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ which make it likely that the forestry project will have a significant effect on the environment
Please note, if any work has been carried out in the past 5 years to the area adjacent to the project, then this area must also be counted towards the area threshold.
What is a sensitive area?
A sensitive area can be:
- a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
- land to which an order has been made under section 23 (nature conservation orders) of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004
- an area classified as a National Park under section 6(1) of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000
- a property appearing on the World Heritage List kept under article 11(2) of the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the Worlds Cultural and Natural Heritage
- a scheduled monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979
- a National Scenic Area (NSA) as designated by a direction made by Scottish Ministers under section 263A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 2006
- a European site within the meaning of regulation 10 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994
- for the purposes of the thresholds, deep peat soil which is organic soil containing more than 60 per cent of organic matter and exceeds 50 centimetres in thickness
Land Information Search
You can use the Land Information Search to identify any classifications or sensitivities which might affect the project.
Contact details for the organisation responsible for these features will be given on the report produced by the search.
Applying for a formal opinion
If the area covered by your project is over the threshold for that type of project, then you must apply for a formal opinion to see if our consent is needed before you begin work.
Find out how to apply for a formal opinion.
Apply for consent
If the proposed project will have a significant impact on the environment, then you must apply for our consent before you begin work.
Find out how to apply for consent.
If we discover that work is being carried out without consent (subject to Environmental Impact Assessment regulations), or an applicant is breaching the terms of a previously granted consent, we may serve an enforcement notice to put things right.
Find out more about enforcement notices.