Helping you understand Welsh law

Forestry

The Assembly has legislative competence in relation to forestry), subject to any reservations in Schedule 7A of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Historically, the responsibilities for forestry were placed on the Forestry Commissioners, a non-ministerial government department established by the Forestry Act 1919. Following devolution, the Forestry Commissioners for Wales initially took over these responsibilities in Wales.

The law relating to forestry is generally to be found in the Forestry Act 1967.  In general terms forestry law concerns the development of afforestation (including the felling of trees), the production and supply of timber and other forest products, and the establishment and maintenance of adequate reserves of growing trees.  It also concerns the protection of trees from diseases and pests, which is an area governed by European Union law.

More information on EU law and the impact of EU Withdrawal can be found here.

Since 2013 forestry functions in Wales have been carried out by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). NRW has a general duty to promote forestry, the development of forests and the production and supply of timber and other products of forests. Natural Resources Wales is a statutory body established by the Natural Resources Body for Wales (Establishment) Order 2012/1903. It has a range of functions which were transferred to it by the Natural Resources Body for Wales (Functions) Order 2013/755. This order amends a large number of legislative provisions by substituting references to Natural Resources Wales for existing references to the Forestry Commissioners.

Key subordinate legislation

• The Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005
• The Plant Health (Forestry) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2015
• The Plant Health (Fees) (Forestry) (Wales) Regulations 2019
• The Plant Health (Forestry) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2019

Key European Union Legislation

• Council Directive 2002/89/EC
• Commission Directive 2004/103
• Commission Directive 2004/105/EC
• Council Directive 2000/29/EC
• Commission Directive 2005/17/EC
• Commission Directive 2006/35/EC

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