9.2.5 Woodland, Trees and Hedgerows
9.2.5 Woodland, Trees and Hedgerows
Woodlands and trees contribute significantly to the biodiversity and landscape character of the county. They are a vital part of a network of habitats, ecological ‘corridors’ and ‘stepping stones’ essential for wildlife to flourish and move between and within habitats. They have a vital role to play in climate adaptation. They filter out noise, dust and pollutants and help minimise flooding by retaining moisture.
Useful databases and sources of information on woodlands and trees in County Kilkenny include:
- Ancient woodlands are areas which have been wooded since 1660. 28 Possible ancient woodlands (PAWS) and long-established woodlands (LEWS) were identified by the NPWS in Co. Kilkenny
- The Tree Register of Ireland (TROI) database of outstanding trees in Ireland compiled by the Tree Council of Ireland identifies significant trees in the county. A copy of the TROI for Kilkenny is available to view from the Parks Department of Kilkenny County Council.
- Woodland Survey of Kilkenny (Kilkenny County Council, 1997) identifies the amenity potential of woodlands in the county. A copy of the survey is available to view from the Parks Department of Kilkenny County Council.
- The National Survey of Native Woodlands (2003‐2008) identified and surveyed 58 sites in Kilkenny as part of a National Survey.
- Survey of Mature Trees Kilkenny City, see Appendix F
There are a number of legislative measures which recognise the importance of trees and woodlands and provide for their protection. These include:
- Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s)
Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, TPO’s allow for the protection of trees, groups of trees and woods of amenity value. Trees, which are the subject of a TPO, cannot be felled unless the owner also obtains planning permission. See Appendix E for list of current TPO’s in the county. This list may be added to over the course of this Plan. Consult with the Parks Department of the County Council for the most up‐to‐date list. The Council will conserve important trees, groups of trees or woodlands, using Tree Preservation Orders, as appropriate.
- Tree Felling
Under the 1946 Forestry Act, with certain exceptions, it is illegal to uproot or cut down any tree unless notice of intention to do so has been given in accordance with the Act. The Council will provide guidance to landowners on the legal requirements and procedures in relation to tree felling in order to protect the landscape character and biodiversity of the county.
Hedgerows contribute significantly to biodiversity and landscape character. They have an important farming function, they are wildlife habitats, and corridors, between habitats, and they also have historical significance as townland and field boundaries. Hedgerows are afforded protection under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000, prohibiting the cutting of hedges within the bird nesting period (1st March ‐1st September).
Kilkenny County Council has undertaken surveys of hedgerows in a number of areas/settlements around the county, as part of the Habitat and Green Infrastructure Assessments, undertaken to inform Local Area Plans (See Section 9.2.2 Biodiversity Outside of Habitats Designated).
The Council will promote the planting of native tree and shrub species, by committing to using native species (of local provenance wherever possible) in its landscaping work and on County Council property and maximise the opportunity to enhance biodiversity within the City & County during the life time of the plan.
Development Management Requirements:
- To protect existing woodlands, trees and hedgerows which are of amenity or biodiversity value and/or contribute to landscape character of the county, and to ensure that proper provision is made for their protection and management, when undertaking, approving or authorising development.
- To ensure that when undertaking, approving or authorising development that sufficient information is provided to enable an assessment of impacts on woodlands, trees, and hedgerows.
- To have regard to, and seek the conservation of identified trees and woodlands from a) the National Survey of Ancient and Long-Established Woodlands, b) the Tree Register of Ireland (c) sites of significance identified in the Kilkenny Woodlands Survey 1997, (d) the National Survey of Native Woodlands, and (e) Survey of Mature Trees in Kilkenny City and Environs, in the assessment of planning applications
- To retain hedgerows, and other distinctive boundary treatment such as stone walls, when undertaking, authorising or approving development; where the loss of the existing boundary is unavoidable as part of development, to ensure that a new hedgerow is planted using native species, and species of local provenance to replace the existing hedgerow and/or that the wall is re‐built using local stone and local vernacular design.
- To discourage the felling of mature trees to facilitate development and, where appropriate make use of Tree Preservation Orders to protect important trees and groups of trees which may be at risk or have an amenity, biodiversity or historic value.
To require the planting of native broadleaved species, and species of local provenance, in new developments as appropriate. See Appendix G for a list of native trees and shrubs.