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Forestry and the Law

Forestry in Ireland operates within a legal and regulatory framework.  This is necessary in order to protect forests and also to ensure that forestry operations and activities are carried out in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management.

It is important that those involved in forestry sector are familiar with the various legal and regulatory obligations governing forestry.

Licenses and Approvals

While most forestry operations are exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission, some forestry activities require, by law, a license or approval (consent) from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

It is an offence to undertake the following forestry activities unless you first obtain a license or approval from the Department:

  • Tree felling

Under the Forestry Act 1946, a Felling License is required to uproot any tree over ten years old or to cut down any tree (subject to certain exemptions).

 

  • Aerial fertilisation

Under the European Communities (Aerial Fertilisation) (Forestry) Regulations 2012, an Aerial Fertilisation Licence must be obtained before a person can use an aircraft to apply fertiliser to a forest.

 

  • Afforestation

Under the European Communities (Forest Consent and Assessment) Regulations 2010, the approval of the Minister is required for all afforestation projects where the area involved is greater than 0.10 hectares (approximately 0.25 acres).

 

  • Forest road construction 

Under the European Communities (Forest Consent and Assessment) Regulations 2010, the approval of the Minister is required to construct of forest road. 

Note:  If a forest road construction project includes the provision of access to a public road, planning permission for the access may also be required.

Application forms for a licence or approval are available from the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford.

Legal and Regulatory Framework relevant to Irish Forestry

The following lists relevant Irish and EU legislation, together with the various international protocols which have a bearing on forest practice in Ireland.

Primary legislation

  • Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992
  • Forestry Act 1946
  • Forestry Act 1988
  • Litter Pollution Acts 1997 to 2009
  • Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977-1990
  • National Monuments Acts 1930-2004
  • Occupiers Liability Act 1995
  • Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2011
  • Roads Act 1993 to 2007
  • Waste Management Acts 1996 to 2011
  • Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000

Secondary legislation

  • Forestry Act 1946 (Part IV) Regulations 1949 (S.I. No. 67 of 1949)
  • European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Waters) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 272 of 2009)
  • European Communities (Forest Consent and Assessment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No 558 of 2010)
  • European Communities (Aerial Fertilisation) (Forestry) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No 125 of 2012)
  • Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 504 of 2006)
  • Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007)
  • Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 600 of 2001)

 EU Legislation

  • Council Directive 66/404/EEC on the marketing of forest reproductive material.
  • Council Directive 71/161/EEC on external quality standards for forest reproductive material marketed within the Community.
  • Council Directive 77/93/EEC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community.
  • Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds.
  • Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
  • Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of forest reproductive material.
  • Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.
  • Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment.
  • Directive 2006/11/EC on pollution caused by certain dangerous substances discharged into the aquatic environment of the Community.
  • Community Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.

Copies of Irish legislation can be obtained from the Attorney General’s website www.irishstatutebook.ie or can be purchased from:

Government Publication Sales Office

Sun Alliance House

Molesworth Street

Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 679 3515

 

Copies of EU legislation can be obtained from the Publications Office of the European Union www.publications.europa.eu