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I've seen lots of people do this, and unless it was clearly stealing en-masse for profit I doubt there'd be a problem, but is it legal to pick up dead logs, kindling etc. and take them away to use elsewhere as firewood?

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Though not in the UK, In my neck of the woods the current Emerald Ash Borer scourge has cause a restriction on transporting firewood to prevent the insect's spread. While not actually enforced by law enforcement officers, it is taboo amongst outdoorsmen... – user3385 Sep 4 '14 at 20:10
up vote 13 down vote accepted

All land in the UK is owned by somebody, therefore, all trees and their produce (including firewood) are owned by somebody. You could be charged with theft if you take logs, kindling etc. without permission.

The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 on 6th January 2012 discussed this very topic following the storms in the UK around that time, that left a lot of fallen trees. Jeremy Vine interviewed a lawyer who I remember explained the laws that cover this issue.

The Forestry Commission sometimes offers Firewood Scavenging Permits allowing you to gather your own firewood, usually from an area that has already been commercially harvested.

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Not only that, but in some protected areas (at least here in the US), it is not permitted to disturb or move even dead, fallen trees because it provides structure and habitat for the flora and fauna. – Robert Cartaino Feb 12 '12 at 16:27

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