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Do you want to cut down trees (or have them cut down) or standing timber in an existing forest in the Netherlands that falls under the Dutch Conservancy Act (Natuurbeschermingswet)? Then you must inform the provincial authority one month in advance (in Dutch). In some municipalities you will need an All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects in addition to the notification of tree felling.
Do you work on projects of national interest, such as work on motorways, railways, waterways or the energy and gas network? Then you have to notify the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch).
When to notify
You have to notify the authorities if you are planning to cut down trees or standing timber in an area of at least 1000 m2 or a minimum of 20 trees in a row. Standing timber includes:
- Forest plantations
Please note: you must also notify if trees or thickets die as a result of your actions. This is also the case if they are destroyed by cattle you own.
Exemption of notification
In some cases you do not have to report the felling of standing timber. This is the case for:
- Standing timber in gardens or yards
- Maintenance to create more living space for other trees and bushes (thinning)
- Rows of poplar or willow trees lining farmland or waterways
- The regular cutting down of willow trees in wetlands or coppice
- Fruit trees and trees used as windshields for orchards
- Pine trees of no more than 20 years of age, to be used as Christmas trees.
Other rules may apply in the cases mentioned above. Check with your local municipality which rules apply in your situation.
You must reforest the land within 3 years. If you transfer the land in the meantime to a new owner or user, you must inform them of the reforestation obligation. If trees on your land perish as a result of fire, storm or sickness, you will have to replant within 3 years. You have to give a notification of tree felling, even if the trees are already gone.
Exemption of reforesting
In some cases you can get a deferral, exemption or compensation of your duty to reforest. This can be the case when your project is delayed or overrun. You can submit a request to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch). If you are not able to reforest the original area where you cut down trees, you can apply for permission to use a different area (in Dutch).
Notification and obligatory reforestation after a calamity
Have trees perished as a result of fire, storm or disease? Reforestation duty still applies. You need to reforest the area within 3 years. You also have to submit a notification of tree felling, even if the trees have already gone.
Tree felling for wood production
If you plant new trees to produce wood, you can apply to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for an exemption from the obligation to report tree felling and the obligatory reforestation. The exemption is subject to the condition that you (or the owner or manager succeeding you) have the tree belts cut down within 40 years of submission of the application.
Submitting a digital report with Message Box
Using Message Box, you can digitally submit a tree-felling report or submit a request as a result of the replanting obligation to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.