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Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023

Section 24E

226.NRW can give “the person responsible” a notice under section 24E(2) if it considers that tree felling in accordance with a licence is causing, or is likely to cause, significant harm to (i) natural beauty, or (ii) flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features, or natural habitats.

227.The circumstances in which a section 24E(2) notice can be given are, therefore, different from the circumstances that give rise to notices being given under sections 24C and 24D: NRW’s power to give a notice under section 24E(2) is not dependent on a licence condition having been breached, and can arise even where a licence holder is not at fault.

228.Under section 24E(2), NRW may give a notice to “the person responsible” to suspend or amend a felling licence or, if NRW considers that suspending or amending the licence would not prevent the harm in question, to revoke the licence.

229.The person responsible, for the purposes of section 24E, is defined in section 24E(6).

230.As with section 24C(3) notices, where a notice given under section 24E(2) suspends a felling licence, the licence may be suspended in full or partially, and the suspension comes to an end when the suspension period set out in the notice expires (unless NRW gives a further notice lifting the suspension on an earlier date).

231.If a notice given under section 24C(3) or 24E(2) makes provision to vary or amend a felling licence, or to suspend or revoke a felling licence, and a person fells trees in contravention of those provisions, that person is likely to be felling trees without the authority of a felling licence.

232.In those circumstances, enforcement action can be taken via section 17 of the Forestry Act 1967 Act. Section 17 provides that it is an offence to fell without the authority of a felling licence, and a person found guilty of the offence will be liable on summary conviction to an unlimited fine (see commentary below on section 42 of the Act, which amends section 17 of the Forestry Act 1967).

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