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  1. #1
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    Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    Not sure if this has been covered or if this is the right section but here goes:

    Where does the law stand on taking wood from common ground, public parks, roadside verges etc?

    I'm not talking felling a live (or even dead) tree or cut logs. It's just I have been noticing branches about 6 inch thick and 12 feet long that have been blown down in my local park. Was thinking I'd cut them in half, throw them in the back of the van and add them to the woodpile at home for later combustion. Would I be in trouble with the law or just the 'Parky'?
    Glory is the reward of valor

  2. #2
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    I know its illegal to take them from the New Forest. Probably need to ask the local council, presuming they own the park.
    Wouldnt be surprised if they said "no", due to "elf n safety".

    Roadside might be a bit different though.

  3. #3
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    It's only illegal if you get caught....................
    OIL THE JOINTS KEEP THE FAITH

  4. #4
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    Do it wearing a dayglo vest with a bright yellow hat on and have a mate with you who carries a clipboard and writes stuff.
    I bet there's not a soul questions you about what you are doing

  5. #5
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    When we had the big hurricane a load of trees went down in my local park and we asked the parky if we could have some, He gave us permission and even told us when the professionals were gonna be in the area to cut the trunks.
    I think they were on a price per park quote as the tree surgeons were very happy that we had done so much of there work for them
    We'd already De-limbed all the major blanches and i don't think we bought coal or wood for the next four years
    Richard
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  6. #6
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    If you see some fallen wood that you fancy collecting, the best advice is to find out who owns the land (and thus the tree and fallen wood) and ask their permission to collect it. You may be surprised that many owners will be happy for you to do so.

    To do so without permission is to risk committing an offence.

    Theft is defined under the Theft Act 1968 and the key features are "dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive"

    Now there is actually an exemption within the Act under S.4(3) saying that it's basically not theft if you are taking mushrooms, fruit, foliage from any plant (which includes a shrub or tree) or flowers as long as it is not for commercial gain.

    Some might say that fallen wood is "foliage" however I would not think so as foliage would normally indicate something green and alive.

    (be aware that if you take green things you risk getting nailed by the much more recent Wildlife and Countryside Act that lists certain plants that are a big no no)

    There may well be certain rights to collect firewood on "common land" however it's not that easy to know whether land is common or not. Common land is not merely land that the public have access to. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 opened up a lot of land for public access but this does not make it common land in the true sense. Those interested can have a thrilling read of the Commons Registration Act 1965, the Commons (Rectification of Registers Act) 1989, Commons Act 2006 etc.

    There is also a common misconception that the Magna Carter (1215) gives people the universal right to collect firewood from forests. The text usually referred to by strident Daily Mail readers actually comes from the Charter of the Forest (1217) and is somewhat obscure (probably won't go down too well at the Local Magistrates Court )

    I think the original is knocking around the archives of Durham Cathedral. The original had been translated, so there is the question of the accuracy of translation.

    [14] No forester from henceforth, who is not a forester in fee-farm, giving to us rent for his bailiwick, shall take any cheminage, within his bailiwick; but a forester in fee, paying to us rent for his bailiwick, shall take cheminage; that is to say, for every cart two-pence for the one half year, and two-pence for the other half year; and for a horse that carries burdens, one half-penny for the one half year, and one half-penny for the other half year: and not that excepting of those who come out of their bailiwick by licence of their bailiff as dealers, to buy underwood, timber, bark, or charcoal; to carry it to sell in other pla
    ces where they will: and of no other carts nor burdens shall any cheminage be taken; and cheminage shall not be taken excepting in those places where anciently it used to be and ought to be taken. Also those who carry wood, bark, or coal, upon their backs to sell, although they get their livelihood by it, shall not for the future pay cheminage. Also cheminage shall not be taken by our foresters, for any besides our demesne woods.

    I shall leave the collective legal mind of BB to ponder that one.


    On a more modern and brighter note, it was possible to get a Firewood Scavenging Permit from the Forrestry Commission:

    http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/f...ue/infd-7zpjvv

    I believe this has currently been suspended thus leading to various Daily Mail type rants, but watch that space....


    Hope that helps

    I think at the end of the day it boils down to:

    If it's not yours.
    Don't nick it.
    Last edited by Kiri; 17-03-12 at 05:17 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    In the past I've done as a some have suggested and gone early with a friend and a white van then simply put on high vis vests and tried to look like we're not working too hard.

    I've stayed away from using anything larger than a handsaw when collecting as wielding an axe, billhook or chainsaw I thought would gather attention.

    I'll maybe give the local Council a call to see where I lie in terms of legality. It goes against my nature of "It's easier to ask for forgiveness then beg for permission" or something like that. I deal with health and Safety types all week and common sense goes right out the window if there's even the most remote chance that if the planets aligned and an act of God was to happen I would take legal action against them.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Wind Blown/Wind Fall

    I think the wildlife and countryside act is unlikely to apply in terms of species. There is a very specific list of plants it protects from any sort of damage but no trees on there that I recall and as far as I remember it only covers uprooting of plants withut landowners permission; the bsbi have a code of conduct with info on this
    www.bsbi.org.uk/Code_of_Conduct.pdf

    As others have said, ask and I'm sure they will be happy for you take stuff away. I know people have asked me when doing my rangerery thing on sites and I'm generally happy unless I want it for myself or have use for it as habitat creation. Alternative is volunteer for a local conservation group and you're bound to end up being able to take vast quantities of burnable material.

 

 

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