We’re an executive agency of the Scottish Government. As a regulator, funder and policy advisor, we work to achieve the sustainable management and expansion of forests and woodlands to deliver more for Scotland.

In order to do this, we gather and process data, including personal information, to carry out our legal and statutory obligations. We do this in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR requirements.

What is personal data?

Personal data is described by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as “information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual”. It can also include special categories of personal data such as information about a person’s health, ethnicity or sexual orientation or criminal conviction and offences data.

The personal information we collect and use

When conducting an unauthorised felling investigation, we'll gather the following personal information for persons involved in the alleged case:

  • Title
  • Full name
  • Contact details
  • Maiden name (where applicable)/known as/alias
  • Place and date of Birth
  • Copy of the individual’s signature
  • Gender and ethnicity
  • Additional support needs
  • Personal circumstances including health, finances, property valuations (if given, these are not requested) 
  • Occupation
  • Business contact details
  • If relevant, Business Reference Number/Farm Location Code/LPIS field identifier
  • Video footage and/or photographs
  • Vehicle and/or machinery makes, models and registrations
  • Contracts and/or written instructions to carry out work
  • Invoices 
  • Maps relating to site ownership
  • Land title deeds 
  • Planning application history
  • Involvement with other agencies (if relevant to the case)
  • Involvement with Police Scotland (if police intervention is needed in the case)
  • Agent or representatives (including legal representatives) business details
  • Interview transcripts
  • Correspondence with us and other parties (specifically related to the case)
  • Criminal history reference number
  • The offence they are being accused of

Lawful basis for processing

The lawful basis we rely on to process personal data for the above purposes is article 6 (1) of the UK GDPR:

  • (c) Legal obligation. The processing of this data is necessary for us to take enforcement action or to successfully prosecute the offence of unauthorised felling under Section 23 of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018
  • (e) Perform a public task. Scottish Forestry is the Scottish Government agency appointed under Section (74) of the Foresty and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018, to deliver the requirements of the Act, laid on Scottish Ministers, with regard to the offence of unauthorised felling.

We also process a limited amount of special category data. The legal basis for this is: 

  • (a) Explicit consent 
  • (g) Reasons of substantial public interest (with a basis in law) - preventing or detecting unlawful acts
  • Why do we need this personal information?

    The personal information gathered is essential in ascertaining whether or not an offence has been committed and if so when, why, where and by whom. Under the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) 2018 Act, and on behalf of Scottish Ministers, we can take a variety of enforcement actions. The information gathered is used to ensure the enforcement action taken is appropriate, reasonable and directed towards the appropriate person(s). 

    Should a case be passed to the Procurator Fiscal to consider for prosecution and for the Procurator Fiscal to take the case to court, it's essential that there is clear corroborated evidence to demonstrate that an offence was committed and that the person(s) accused committed the offence they're being accused of. This will involve processing the personal information gathered throughout the investigation.

    How do we get your personal information?

    We'll get this personal information from the following sources:

    Unauthorised felling report form - part 1. This form is used by members of the public reporting the case to us or it may be filled out on their behalf by our officers. It may also be used by our officers if they discover the case. The form will contain personal information about:

    • the person reporting the case
    • the person(s) alleged to have committed the offence
    • the person(s) involved in any of the felling and site clearance
    • operations witnesses

    Intelligence gathered during the investigation, including desk checks, on site observations, records taken and discussions with persons involved, neighbours and witnesses but not obtained through formal interviews.

    This may involve any of the aforementioned parties providing us with evidence to support their case, this evidence can be wide ranging and may include photographs, videos, financial records including receipts, invoices, contracts, property valuations and so on. 

    The recorded interview conducted under caution by our officers. When conducting an illegal felling investigation, Woodland Officers may interview persons involved under caution, following a script.

    The script starts by ascertaining the personal details of the individual involved. The script then leads the investigating officers to ask questions about the interview subject’s involvement in the case as well as allowing the opportunity for the person being interviewed, to present any information to support their position and the statements that they make.

    An agreed and signed written record is made of this interview. The interview may also be recorded using audiovisual (AV) equipment. 

    Who we share your personal information with

    We may share your personal information, such as details of the case and contact information with other public authorities such as:

  • Police Scotland
  • Rural Payments and Services Division (RPID)
  • local planning authorities
  • the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
  • NatureScot
  • If we share the data we have gathered it's to prevent a further offence from being committed or to ensure the appropriate authority is made aware that an alleged offence has been committed that's likely to be relevant to them. We may also share your personal data with sherriff services if required to serve enforcement notices.

    If we create a restocking direction, felling direction, remedial notice or notice to comply, we may also register these with Registers of Scotland (RoS), this requires us to pass the direction or notice and the relevant personal information required by the RoS to complete the registration process. 

    If a government agency, non-government agency or charitable organisation is believed to hold personal information that we wish to rely on in taking enforcement action we will request this information from them using our ‘Formal request to provide Scottish Forestry with personal information’ letter.

    This letter describes the information requested, the grounds for the request, the lawful basis why we need the personal information and the impact of not complying with our request. It also confirms that we'll become the data controller for the information supplied, once that information is passed to us. 

    This data sharing allows us to make the strongest case possible, ensuring we have sufficient and robust evidence to take enforcement action. 

    How we store your personal information

    Hard copies of personal information are stored in locked filing cabinets with restricted access. 

    Personal information stored electronically will be stored on secure networks accessible only through the use of an encrypted laptop or desktop.

    For information sharing, your personal information will be officially marked and shared using a secure transfer system.

    How long we keep your personal information

    Your personal information will be kept for a minimum period for 5 years from when the case is closed, in line with current business rules on unauthorised felling documents. 

    Your rights

    Your rights in relation to your personal information:

    • You’ve a right to request access to, and copies of, the personal information that we hold about you by making a 'subject access request'
    • If you believe that any of the personal information that we hold about you is inaccurate or incomplete, you’ve a right to request that we correct or complete your personal information
    • You’ve a right to object to and/or request that we restrict the processing of your personal information for specific purposes
    • Where you’ve given consent to the processing of your personal information, you’ve the right to withdraw that consent

    Any requests received by us will be considered under applicable data protection legislation.

    You can email the Data Protection Officer to exercise any your rights.

    Your right to complain

    We're committed to protecting your personal information and privacy. If you have queries or concerns, please contact us.

    If you remain dissatisfied, you've a right to raise a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

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    Changes to this privacy notice

    We keep this privacy notice under regular review to make sure it's up to date and accurate. 

    This privacy notice was last updated on 28 October 2021.

    View privacy policies and notices for specific areas of work