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Legal requirements for forest road works

Brief overview of the licensing of forest road works

Forest road works licences 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) acts as the single consent authority for applications for forest road works licences, where

  • the forest road provides access to a public road (other than a national road) or
  • there is material widening of an existing entrance.

This means that applicants will no longer require planning permission from the local authority for such developments as part of the forest road works licensing process.

Please note: forest road projects that provide access to a national road, planning permission from the relevant Roads Authority will still be required.

Application procedure 

A person or company, who is planning to either construct a new forest entrance, or widen an existing entrance, must apply to DAFM for consent prior to commencing works.

The document Forest Entrances - Requirements for Mandatory Consultation (PDF) sets out the application process and required documents for an application for forest road works that involves an entrance from a public road. Particular attention must be paid to the mandatory requirements, consultation process and deadlines. The document also details the application assessment process.

The licensing process for such works involves appropriate assessment and public consultation procedures (see below).

Appropriate assessment procedures

When DAFM receives an application, it carries out 'screening' to assess if there is a possibility of the proposed forestry project having an effect, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects on a Natura site within a 15-km radius.

Natura sites include Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). They are designated to afford protection to the most vulnerable habitats and species in Ireland.

DAFM can only approve a forestry-related application where it deems at screening stage that there is no possibility of an effect on any Natura site, or (at appropriate assessment stage, if required) that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of any Natura site.

You can find further details on the Appropriate assessment procedures here.

Site Notices

All applications submitted for approval, must have a Site Notice appropriately positioned on the site.

The Site Notice must be erected before making the application, be maintained in position for at least five weeks from the date of publication by the Minister on the DAFM website and the Forestry Licence Viewer (FLV) of the notice of application and must be renewed or replaced if it is removed or becomes defaced or illegible within that period. 

Consultation procedures

All applications submitted for approval require public consultation:

  1. A 30-day consultation period will commence on receipt of the licence application. Applications are free to view on the DAFM Forestry Licence Viewer. Any member of the public can make a submission within 30 days of publication of the licence application. A fee of €20 for a submission on any application will apply.

  2. A second 30-day consultation period will commence after receipt of a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) or after an Appropriate Assessment Report is produced by the Department, and relevant documentation will be published on the DAFM Forestry Licence Viewer. If a NIS is submitted with the initial application only one public consultation period is required. 

  3. On publication of a licence decision from DAFM, any member of the public can submit an appeal within 14 days to the Forestry Appeals Committee. A fee of €200 for making an appeal applies.

Lists of Appropriate Assessment cases open for consultation are published on the forestry pages of the Department’s website.

Further information:

Relevant publications

See also