All-in-one permit for cutting trees

Are you planning to prune, move or cut down a tree? You may need an all-in-one building permit.

When do you need a permit?

If you are planning to prune or move a tree, you need a permit if:

  • You will remove between 30% and 50% of the tree crown when pruning.
  • You are planning to remove more than 50% of the crown. This is called pollarding. In this case, an all-in-one building permit is only needed the first time.
  • You plan to move a tree whose trunk circumference is more than 30 centimetres.

To cut down a tree there are the following situations:

  • Your back garden is smaller than 50 square metres. Then a permit is required for a trunk circumference of more than 90 centimetres, if the tree is not visible from the public road. Is the tree visible? Then a permit is required for a trunk circumference of more than 30 centimetres.
  • Your back garden is larger than 50 square metres. Then a permit is required for a trunk circumference of more than 30 centimetres.
  • In all other cases a permit is required for a trunk circumference of more than 30 centimetres.
    A tree is understood as all woody perennial plants. Apart from trees, this also includes a conifer, holly or a large shrub.

    Measuring the trunk circumference

    The Hague uses the trunk circumference of a tree to determine if the tree may be cut down or not. You measure it at a height of 130 centimetres (measured along the trunk from the ground).

    Permit applications are done through a national system. This system asks for the diameter of the tree. You can calculate the diameter by dividing the trunk circumference of the tree by 3.14.

    Conditions

    • You may not use the permit between 15 March and 15 July (nesting season) because this is the time when nesting birds are most vulnerable.
    • You may be required to replant a tree. If replanting a tree is not possible, you could be asked to transfer a sum of money to the Bomenfonds (tree foundation).

    Who may apply for the tree cutting permit?

    The owner of the tree can apply for an all-in-one building permit. Somebody else may apply for tree cutting permit on behalf of the owner only with written permission from the owner.

    Needed to apply

    • at least 3 different digital photos of the tree in question. The photos should clearly show why you want to prune or cut down the tree
    • a short description of the tree in its surroundings to avoid misunderstandings about the exact tree and its location
    • the diameter of the tree trunk (see Measuring the trunk circumference)
    • in the case of municipal plans, a redevelopment plan and/or administrative municipal decision

    After submitting the application, you may be asked for:

    • a proposal for replanting a replacement tree
    • a report from an expert demonstrating the need to cut down the tree

      Dead and sick trees

      A permit is also required for cutting down a dead tree. Sick and dead trees can pose a danger to the surroundings. Depending on the danger, the permit may be valid immediately upon issue. However, an objection procedure can be started within 6 weeks of publication in the Gemeenteblad. Read more information about procedures for cutting down dead and sick trees on Werkwijze kappen van slechte en dode bomen (in Dutch only).

      Dutch elm disease

      An exception to the permit requirement is if an elm is affected by Dutch elm disease. This disease is very contagious for other elms in the surroundings so that the sick elm needs to be removed as quickly as possible. There is no permit required for this. Also see Boomziekten: iepenziekte (in Dutch only).

        Application procedure for tree cutting permit

        • First do the permit check in the Omgevingsloket Online (OLO) to see if you need an all-in-one building permit. If you do need one, apply for the permit via the OLO. Go to apply for an all-in-one building permit.
        • All tree cutting permit applications are assessed by the municipality┬┤s tree specialists. They check if there are legal grounds preventing the tree from being cut down. Permission is then granted or denied. An objection procedure to this decision is possible.
        • The municipality may also seek external advice. In this case, the advice will be used to decide whether or not to grant or decline a permit or grant the permit in part. An objection procedure may not be started during this period.

        Announcement for public viewing for 6 weeks after publication

        Once a decision has been taken on a tree cutting permit, the government will publish it under Vergunningen (in Dutch only). The anonymised decision will be published there.
        For information about announcements and public notices in The Hague, go to Bekendmakingen van de gemeente The Hague.
        If you want to see the entire file (for example including photos and the application), you can view it in The Hague Information Centre (the municipality may not publish the entire file on the website in line with the privacy law). You can look at the documents up to 6 weeks after publication in the Gemeenteblad.

        Also see: Apply for a residential building permit

        Published: 22 May 2019Modified: 6 November 2019