Helping you understand Welsh law


The Assembly has legislative competence in relation to forestry (see GoWA 2006, Sch. 7, para. 1).

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.

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.

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