Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (551)

Róisín Shortall


551. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the removal of mature trees by developers on a building site during the nesting season; if an exemption is in place in this regard; if written permission must be in place before the trees are felled; the fines in place in circumstances in which trees are felled illegally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29495/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The felling of trees is governed by the Forestry Act 2014, which provides the regulatory basis for the licensing of felling. There are certain situations, pursuant to the Act, where the felling of a tree is exempted from the need to obtain a felling licence (e.g. within 30 metres of a building but excluding any building built after the trees were planted). While it may be considered that some trees are exempted from the need to obtain a felling licence, my Department must still be notified that felling is to take place, and it will decide if the trees in question are exempted. There are also certain common scenarios whereby the felling of trees is exempted and my Department does not need to be notified. Other legislation, such as the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, may include provisions to fell trees without the need to obtain a felling licence, so it is important to know the details of a situation before it can be determined if trees in a particular case are exempted or not.

It is, however, important to note an exemption from the requirement to obtain a Tree Felling Licence under the Forestry Act 2014 (as amended) and Forestry Regulations 2017 (as amended) does not absolve an applicant or developer from any requirement in law to obtain such other approvals, consents, licences, permissions and/or authorisations that may be necessary (e.g. under the Wildlife Acts). It is the responsibility of the land owner or the person felling the tree to ensure that they are acting within the law.