I want to cut trees in my garden, do I need planning permission?
You can not cut them if they are the subject matter of a tree preservation order
The cutting of trees is a process that is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, not your local authority. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto
If I want to cut trees in my suburban garden do I need to get planning permission from the local council?
Many forestry type operations in Ireland are exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission. In general, the cutting of trees is a process that is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, not your local authority.
However, local authorities under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2011 do have a mandatory responsibility to include objectives in their development plans relating to the preservation of amenities, which empowers them to make provision for tree preservation by establishing a tree preservation order (TPO).
Tree cutting is governed under the Forestry Act 2014. It [Forestry Act 2014] introduced a single application process to obtain a felling licence, if required.
Since you wish to cut trees and you have not indicated their age, type, where exactly they are in your garden, the size of your garden or where the suburban garden is actually located it is best that you proceed with caution. The answers to any of those points may result in markedly different requirements for you.
Unless you are absolutely certain that none of the trees that you wish to cut are the subject matter of a TPO you should contact your local authority to confirm their actual status. If any of the trees that you wish to cut down are the subject matter of a TPO the principle effect is that you may not cut, top, lop or wilfully destruct them without first obtaining the consent of your local authority.
Section 19 of the Forestry Act 2014 details situations where the requirement for a tree felling licence is exempted. It is an offence to fell trees without first having obtained a felling licence if an exemption does not apply.
In general, a tree in an urban area is exempted (an urban area is an area that comprises a city, town or borough specified in the Local Government Act 2001, before the enactment of the Local Government Reform Act 2014) from requiring a tree felling licence; however, it is best that you do consult with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice/treefelling/treefelling/ as you do need to consider the additional factors which you have not outlined in your question.
Sarah Sherlock, Legal Mapping Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie