Before constructing forest roads for the purposes of managing and harvesting forests, landowners are required to provide prior notification to the local planning authority before taking advantage of permitted development rights.
The Scottish Government has published guidance on permitted development in Scotland including an annex relating to forest roads and Forestry Commission Scotland has produced a briefing note on Prior Notification of forestry tracks.
Much of the focus is on the visual and other impacts of constructed tracks. Scottish Natural Heritage has updated its guidance on Constructed Tracks in the Scottish Uplands SNH 2013.
Forest Roads will need to be planned to ensure they meet Environmental Impact Assessment regulations, planning and UK Forestry Standard requirements.
The Water Environment (Controlled Activities)(Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR, as
amended) apply to forestry projects. A revised CAR Practical Guide was
published in February 2018 and it can be viewed here. Further guidance (on the practical guide) in the form of Q&A related to forestry activities is provided here.
Work that constitutes development within 25m of a classified or trunk road will need planning permission and work to create or upgrade an access where a forest road joins an unclassified public road will need to meet the technical requirements as set out by the local authority. Various councils provide guidance on the technical specifications for access onto public roads.