Commencement of the Forest Act 2017

Management of forestry including non-commercial and broadleaf trees in Ireland operates within a legal and regulatory framework. On 24th May 2017, the new Forest Act 2014 and the Forestry Regulations 2017 (SI No 191 of 2017) came into force.

Some forestry activities require, under the above legislation, consent by way of licence from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine including:

Tree felling – a Felling License is required to uproot or to cut down any tree (subject to certain exemptions);

  • Afforestation – an Afforestation Licence is required for all afforestation projects where the area involved is greater than 0.10 hectares (approximately 0.25 acres);
  • Forest road construction – a licence is required to construct a forest road.  (If a forest road construction project includes the provision of access to a public road, planning permission for the access may also be required.)

This new Act, among other things, details the requirements and obligations in relation to tree felling licences. A felling licence granted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine provides authority under the Forestry Act 2014 to fell or otherwise remove a tree or trees and this system has been changed under the new regulations. 

Forest land is defined in the Forestry Act 2014 as: land under trees with—

          (a) a minimum area of 0.1 hectare, and
          (b) tree crown cover of more than 20 per cent of the total area, or the potential to achieve this cover at maturity.

MKO have extensive experience in the environmental assessment of forestry operations and contributing to obtaining the relevant consents (including planning permission when required). To improve upon our internal experience, James Owens B.Sc. in Forest Management (GMIT), has recently joined the ecology team and has experience in the private forestry sector. James has had involvement with all stages of the forestry cycle from site selection through to felling and re-afforestation. For any ecological, environmental or planning related forestry requirements, contact the MKO Galway office on 091 735611.

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