There are legal and regulatory requirements relating to forestry in Ireland and those involved in forest operations must familiarise themselves with the various requirements.
The relevant Irish and EU legislation, together with the various international protocols which have a bearing on forest practice in Ireland can be reviewed on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food website.
TREE PRESERVATION ORDER
The local Government (Planning & Development) Act 1963 provides for the making of TPOs by the Planning Authority where it is considered desirable to preserve trees on amenity grounds. This prevents the cutting down, topping, lopping or wilful destruction of trees without the specific consent of the Planning Authority. Such TPOs do not apply to the cutting of trees which are dead or dying or have become dangerous, or to the cutting of trees in compliance with statutory obligations to prevent or abate nuisance.
• If the tree is on your own land then the County Council will not grant a TPO as they would not see it in any danger.
• If you wish to get a TPO then write to the Planning Department of your local County Council with a map of where the tree is with the reasons why you think the tree should be protected.
• If the tree has become dangerous or has power lines caught in its branches, the ESB can fell the tree even if it has a TPO on it.
• If a tree is felled with a TPO on it, then contact the Gardaí or County Council. They will serve an enforcement and will take the person to court and fine them.
• If you think someone has cut down a tree without a Felling Licence, then go to the Gardaí or County Council and inform them. The gardaí will investigate and prosecute if they feel it appropriate.
• You have to have a Felling Licence to fell a tree even if the tree is on your own land. But there are exceptions -e.g. husbandry.
PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW AS REGARDS FELLING TREES
The Forestry Act 1946 contains the main provisions for the felling of trees. Under this act it is an offence for any person to uproot or cut down any tree unless the owner has obtained permission in the form of a felling licence from the Forest Service.
Applications for a Felling Licence is made on a Felling notice available from Garda station.
The Garda station will then refer the matter to The Department of Marine & Natural Resources, Johnstown Castle, County Wexford.
Proceed the same as regards complaints about tree felling.
You can also go to the Environmental Awareness Officer of your local County Council.
For further information, please contact Felling Section, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Johnstown Castle, Wexford. Tel: (053) 9170371/ 9170338/ 9165534/ 9170349.
Some of the exceptions where a felling licence is not required:
• Any hazel, apple, plum, damson, pear or cherry tree grown for the value of its fruit.
• A tree standing within 30.8m (100ft.) of a building.
• Trees in a borough or urban district.
• A tree certified by the local authority as dangerous to road traffic on account of age or condition or being felled under Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993.
• A tree uprooted or cut down by direction of the Minister responsible because it is a danger or obstruction to telegraph or telephone wires.
• A tree cut down by a local authority in connection with road construction etc.