Permit to cut down, prune or replant tree

Would you like to prune, replant (move) or cut down a tree? You usually need an environment and planning permit.

A ‘tree’ is understood as a regular tree, conifer, holly or a large shrub (bush).

Only the owner of the tree can apply for a permit. If somebody else wants to apply for a permit, the owner must give his written permission.

To cut down, prune or replant a tree, you need a permit if:

  • you want to cut or chop down a tree
  • you want to remove (prune) between 30% and 50% of the tree crown (upper branches of the tree)
  • you want to remove more than 50% of the tree crown (pollarding). In this case, a permit is only needed the first time
  • you want to move a tree with a trunk circumference of 30 centimetres or more

Whether you need a permit depends on the spot where the tree is standing:

  • Are you able to see the tree from the public road? A permit is required for a trunk circumference of 30 centimetres or more.
  • Are you not able to see the tree from the public road? A permit is required for a trunk circumference of 90 centimetres or more.

A permit is required for a trunk circumference of 30 centimetres or more.

A permit is required for a trunk circumference of 30 centimetres or more.

Look at the exceptions under Begin link: No permit required, end link. .

Measuring the trunk circumference

You measure the trunk circumference of a tree at a height of 130 centimetres. If the tree has more than 1 trunk, you measure the circumference of the thickest trunk. When you apply for a permit, you have to provide the diameter of the trunk. You can calculate the diameter by dividing the trunk circumference by 3.14.

There are 2 cases where you do not need a permit:

  1. You want to cut down an elm which has Dutch elm disease. This disease is very contagious for other elms in the surroundings. This is why you should remove a sick elm as quickly as possible. Also see Begin link: Boomziekten: iepenziekte, end link. (in Dutch).
  2. You are carrying out work in a protected forest and natural area. And you want to manage the forest sustainably as stipulated under the Nature Conservation Act (Wet natuurbescherming). For example when removing trees in part of a forest (thinning). Or you must remove an unsafe tree in a forest area. The unsafe tree is a risk to people using the forest. For example, because it is in bad condition and is standing near a path or playground. You can read more information under Begin link: Good to know, end link. .

  • At least 3 different digital photos of the tree. The photos should clearly show why you want to cut down, prune or replant the tree.
  • A site assessment (drawing) to prevent misunderstandings about the tree and its location.
  • The diameter of the tree trunk (see above under ‘Measuring the trunk circumference’).
  • In the case of municipal plans such as quay renewal: a redevelopment plan and/or a decision by the municipality.

After submitting the application, the municipality can ask you for extra information. For example:

  • A proposal for planting a new tree.
  • A report from an expert which shows that it is really necessary to cut down the tree.

First do the permit check in the Begin external link: Omgevingsloket(External link), end external link.. Then you will see if you need a permit. If you do need one, you can Apply for the Begin link: environment and planning permit, end link. .

  • You may not make use of the permit between 15 March and 15 July because this is brooding (nesting) season for birds.
  • You might have to plant a new tree (replant). If replanting a tree is not possible, the municipality could ask you to transfer a sum of money to the Bomenfonds (tree foundation).
  • Is a tree sick or dead? Even then you need a permit according to the rules on this page. If the tree is dangerous, you are allowed to chop down the tree immediately after you get the permit. Read more information about the procedure on Begin link: Werkwijze kappen van slechte en dode bomen, end link.  (in Dutch).

In a forest or nature area

For 20 forest and nature areas you often need permission from both the municipality and the province. The rules can be found in the:

  • General Municipal Ordinance for The Hague (APV)
  • national Nature Conservation Act (Wnb)

Look at the map with the 20 areas in the Begin external link: Wijziging grens bebouwde kom Wet natuurbescherming (RIS316080, bijlage)(External link), end external link..

No permit is needed in these areas for:

  • thinning certain forest sections
  • removing a dead or sick tree in a forest area

Would you like to cut down, prune or replant trees for a different reason? For example, because of a change in the use of an area. Then the rules of the APV and Wnb apply.


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