Approvals for small-scale planting without licence

Planting licence

Approvals for small-scale planting without licence

An area of 94ha has been approved for forestry by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) under the Native Tree Area Scheme (NTAS).

The scheme allows farmers to plant up to 1ha of native woodland without a licence, or up to 2ha if they have a suitable watercourse to plant along.

Grant and annual premium payments over a 10-year period total €22,060/ha for small native forests and €22,840/ha for native forests for water protection.

Latest figures in the DAFM’s Forestry Licensing Dashboard show that 91 applications have been approved under the scheme which allow for plantings of 94ha.

Forestry licences

Only two afforestation licences were issued last week, which allow for 13ha of new plantings. In the first seven weeks of 2024 a total area of 75ha has been planted.

The total number of afforestation licences issued so far this year now stands at 61, allowing for 503ha of new forestry. The number of applications for licences received is 64.

The area approved for planting is significantly higher than last year. So far this year the DAFM has approved afforestation of 503ha, compared to 789ha in all of 2023.

A further 45 forestry licences were issued by the DAFM in the week ending on Friday, February 16, comprising 16 for Coillte felling, 7 for private felling and 22 for roads.

Together these licences approve the felling of 273ha and come in addition to the 306 felling licences already issued so far this year approving the felling of 3,622ha.

The road licences issued last week allow for the construction of 8km of forest roads. So far this year 109 road licences had been issued and 8km of roads have been constructed.

Four approvals have been issued under the Woodland Improvement Scheme launched late last year which offers grants up to €1,200/ha for thinning and tending.

A total of 40 approvals have been issued last week under the Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme 2023-2027, in addition to the 320 approvals to date this year.


The gradual improvement in afforestation and road licences issued since the end of 2023 will need to be a “constant trend” going forward in order to have a “viable industry”.

This is according to the Social, Economic Environmental Forestry Association of Ireland (SEEFA), which said it now “appears this growth could be over, even though it had just begun”.

Just 152ha out of the 667ha required to meet the government’s planting target of 8,000ha annually have been achieved in the first three weeks of February, SEEFA said.

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