Drought losses on newly planted trees

Drought losses on newly planted trees

The Forestry Commission has recently published guidance about possible Force Majeure claims for landowners who have suffered exceptional losses on woodland creation schemes as a result of the hot and dry weather. Depending on the scheme, owners or managers of impacted sites will have different time periods for notifying the appropriate authority of Force Majeure tree losses, some as short as 15 working days of being in a position to do so.

The guidance is useful in explaining that the point at which owners are in a position to claim Force Majeure is not necessarily the time at which the force majeure event itself occurred – for example, it can take time to see and assess the full extent of damage caused by drought. To claim force majeure, it will be necessary to prove that, despite taking every care that could reasonably have been expected (including, for example, any watering requirements specified in the grant agreement), the exceptional circumstances prevented compliance with those obligations. Evidence will be required to include details of the actions that were taken with an explanation of the events and the dates they occurred and how this has prevented compliance with grant scheme obligations.

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