From 17 June 2013, owners of private woodlands of 0.2 hectares or more need a licence to fell trees, and are required to re-establish the woodland under an approved felling management plan.
The Forest Service administers felling licence applications through its Felling Licence Branch, which is also available to assist with queries and advice. Applications are assessed against legal requirements, forestry standards and best practice guidance. A licence lasts at least five years.
Felling trees does not always require a licence. For example, a licence is not required to fell fruit trees, or trees in your garden, city parks or churchyards. Tree felling necessary for a development authorised by planning permission does not require a licence. Removal of scrub consisting of young trees (up to 8cm in diameter), or lopping or topping trees, or felling a small volume of timber (up to 5 cubic metres in a calendar quarter) also does not require a licence. The full range of exemptions are set out in full in section 15 of the Forestry Act (Northern Ireland) 2010.
As well as the 2010 Act, there are two other pieces of legislation regulating the felling of trees. These are “The Forestry (Felling of Trees) Regulations (NI) 2013” and “The Forestry (Felling of Trees) (Calculation of the Area of Land) Regulations (NI) 2013”. You can read these in full by following the links below.
Felling Licence Branch
Tel: 028 90524480