Forestry Act 2014
The provisions of the Act and the regulations came into force on 24 May 2017. The Forestry Act, 1946, was repealed on that date.
Definition of a forest
Forest land is defined as land under trees with a minimum area of 0.1 hectare and tree crown cover of more than 20% of the total area (or the potential to achieve this cover at maturity).
A tree means a free-standing, woody perennial plant whose species has the potential to have a more or less definite crown and be capable of reaching a minimum height of five metres at maturity and includes a sapling and the species of birch and hazel.
The Forestry Act 2014 applies to all such areas. This means that
- an Afforestation Licence is required for all afforestation projects where the area involved is greater than 0.10 hectares (approximately 0.25 acres).
- a Forest Road Works Licence is required to carry out forest road works
- a Felling Licence is required to fell or otherwise remove a tree or trees and to thin a forest for management reasons. A replanting obligation applies. This obligation also applies to agroforestry.
- an Aerial Fertilisation Licence is required to carry out aerial fertilisation
Control of Afforestation
An Afforestation Licence is required for all afforestation projects where the area involved is greater than 0.10 hectares (approximately 0.25 acres).
Such projects must obtain prior written approval from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) termed 'Technical Approval'. Once a 'Technical Approval' has been granted; a supplementary 'Financial Approval' is required for grant-aided projects. This financial approval must be obtained before work can commence.
Further details on afforestation licences, application procedures, site notices and consultation requirements can be found here:
Control of Forest Road Works
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.
However, forest road projects that provide access to a national road, planning permission from the relevant Roads Authority will still be required.
Further details on forest road works licences, application procedures, site notices and consultation requirements can be found here:
Control of Felling
The Forestry Act 2014 provides for a single licence process for tree felling. Felling licences can be valid for up to 10 years in duration, which may be extended for one or more further periods, up to a total of 5 years.
However, trees outside of the forest can be felled without a tree felling licence in certain circumstances.
Further details on felling licences, how to make an application and details on exempted trees can be found here:
Control of Aerial Fertilisation
A licence is required before aerial fertilisation can take place.
Aerial fertilisation is prohibited during the period from 1 September to 31 March of the following year, unless where the Minister considers that exceptional circumstances so warrant.
The regulations set limits for permissible fertiliser types, concentrations, application rates and exclusion zones for certain environmental sensitivities.
- Contact your local Forestry Advisory Staff
- Forestry Division, Approvals Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford. Tel: 053-9163400; email Forestryappenq@agriculture.gov.ie.
- Forestry Act 2014 (PDF)
- SI 191 of 2017 Forestry Regulations 2017 (PDF)
This video outlines the main points of the Forestry Act 2014, explains how to make a felling licence application and gives an overview of the DAFM’s felling decision tool.