Further changes in the regulations on tree and shrub clearance

One of the articles previously published on this blog has already presented new amendments to the Act on wildlife conservation and the Act on forest conservation. The amendments removed a number of restrictions concerning tree and shrub clearance. After long term protests in Poland, on 11 May 2017 the Parliament passed further  amendments to the Act on wildlife conservation (printout No. 1334) which imposed better control over arbitrary tree and shrub clearance.

According to those amendments any real estate owner, who is a natural person, is obligated to inform local authorities (head of municipality/commune, town mayor or the city President) about any intention of removal of a tree with the trunk circumference measured at the height of 5 cm exceeding:

  • 80 cm – for poplars, willows, manitoba maples and silver maples
  • 65 cm – for horse chestnuts, black locusts and London planes
  • 50 cm – for all other kinds of trees

Once the authorities receive the notification on the planned tree removal, they will be allowed a 21 day time limit to verify (in the form of a visual inspection of the plot) whether such removal is compliant with the new provisions, in particular to verify whether the removal is related to business activity or not. After the aforementioned visual inspection, the authorities shall be entitled to object against such a tree removal within 14 days. No objection raised within the said time limit shall be construed as acceptance. Furthermore, within the above stated time limit, the authorities can issue a certificate confirming that there are no grounds for the refusal of the tree removal. If the tree fails to be removed within 6 months as of the visual inspection, the notification and visual inspection procedure needs to be repeated.

The authorities shall have the right to object against any tree removal if:

  • The tree is located within the premises of a real estate which is listed in the register of historical sights, or which, in the local master plan, is planned to be a green area, or which is protected by other provisions of the local master plan or which is situated on the areas covered with the following types of nature protection: wildlife sanctuary, national park, landscape reserve, natural park, Natura 2000 ecological site;
  • The tree meets the criteria of a natural monument. The authorities will obligatorily refuse the removal of a tree, which requires a removal permit, if the notification on its planned removal has failed to be supplemented despite a prior request in this respect sent by the authorities.

Moreover, if within 5 years as of the visual inspection the real estate owner shall apply for a building permit and the construction of such a building shall be connected with their business activity performed on the part of the real estate previously covered with the tree cutting permit, the authorities shall impose charges for such tree clearance.

The applicable fees and charges for tree and shrub clearance are specified by the Minister of the Environment by way of a regulation (until the issuance of such a regulation, the highest fees apply).

The amendments await the President’s signature.

Author: Maciej Górny