The purchase of woodland is a similar step-by step process to any other property purchase but again with certain peculiarities.
It is important to determine if the woodland was planted with the benefit of any grants and what conditions attach to this, are there any conditions outstanding and what forms are required to transfer any remaining subsidies and obligations. The buyer’s solicitor will then make a formal offer to the seller’s solicitor to buy the proposed area of woodland under certain conditions. This begins the missives for the transaction.
It is important to determine that there are no constraints affecting the land which would affect granting applications, planting, felling, or timber extraction. If you wish to use the land for farming or renewable energy projects, we can also advise.
Once the missives have been concluded, the parties are bound by the contract of sale and neither can back out of the deal without a penalty or remedy in law. For more on property transactions, please see our section on Residential Conveyancing.
Forestry Solicitors Dumfries & Galloway
Are There Any Restrictions on the Way I Can Use My Woodland?
There may be restrictions on the activities you can carry out within your woodland. You will require planning permission to erect most kinds of structure and certain types of structure will generally not be permitted. However there are certain types of development which do not require consent. There may also be designation over areas of your woodland if it is of special scientific interest, or subject to a tree preservation order. If so, you will require permission from the relevant body to carry out any development. Your solicitor will be able to tell you if this is the case, and assist you in acquiring permissions.
Can I Take Timber From My Woodland?
You may legally take a maximum of 5 cubic metres (cu.m) of timber from your woodland every calendar quarter. However, you may not sell more than 2 cu.m of this.
Grants or subsidies for planting my Woodland?
It is possible to obtain grants for tree planning and the subsidies available will depend on the species of tree planted. An application requires to be submitted to the Forestry Commission.
If you wish to take or sell more timber from your woodland you must obtain a felling licence from the Forestry Commission. The forestry commission will expect you to have a management plan for you woodland before granting your application. You can discuss your objectives for your woodland with your solicitor and they will be able to advise you on your application.
Can Anyone Use My Woodland?
There is legislation in Scotland which establishes statutory public rights of access to most land for recreational purposes. This was introduced under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and creates a statutory basis for the management of access rights in Scotland.
These rights allow people to pursue recreational, educational and very limited commercial uses of the countryside so long as they do so responsibly. The Act covers a wide range of activities which include walking, cycling, horse riding and skiing.
If you are a woodland or agricultural land owner you will be obliged by law to manage your land in a way which respects these access rights. Your solicitor can discuss in more detail the extent of your responsibility with you.
Experts in Forestry
For expert advice on buying or selling, call us here today at Williamson and Henry. We can also assist you in engaging a forest manager to assist with applications for grants, Forest Plans, or Felling Licences. Call us now on 01557 330 692.