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Woodland design: creation, felling and replanting

3.5Conversion to non-forested land
3.5.1

Requirement

Conversion to non-forested land shall take place only in certain limited circumstances as set out in this requirement.

The new land use shall be more valuable than any type of practicably achievable woodland cover in terms of its biodiversity, landscape or historic environment benefits, and conditions a, b, c and d shall be met:

  1. The woodland is not identified as of high conservation value in section 6.1.1.
  2. There is no evidence of unresolved substantial dispute.
  3. Conversion and subsequent site management protect and substantially enhance at least one of the following:
    1. The status and condition of UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and habitats.
    2. Important landscape features and character.
    3. Important historic environment features and character.
  4. The subsequent management of the converted area shall be integrated with the rest of the woodland management.

Means of verification

  • Transition plan
  • Management planning documentation for the converted area after felling
  • Records of planning process and discussions
  • Consultation with interested parties
  • Monitoring records
  • Environmental impact assessment process documentation.

Guidance

Conversion to non-forested land should be planned and implemented in accordance with the UKFS Guidelines on biodiversity, landscape and historic environment.

A transition plan should set out as a minimum the justification for conversion and a strategy for implementation, subsequent management and monitoring.

Under current regulations an environmental impact assessment may be required before such conversions are implemented.

Planning consent or an approved Environmental Statement can provide sufficient evidence that there is no unresolved substantial dispute.

Deforestation to facilitate infrastructure or built development which is not integral to the management of the rest of the woodland cannot meet this requirement.

See also section 6.1.3 in relation to restoration of small scale habitats within a woodland matrix.

Advice to owners/managers

Only timber felled in accordance with this requirement can be certified.

Owners/managers are advised to seek guidance from their certification body or group scheme manager.