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It is forbidden to cut, destroy or alter the allocation of forests or biotopes such as ponds, swamps, marshes, springs, dry grasslands, moors, peatlands, plant covers consisting of reeds or rushes, hedgerows, shrubs or groves and natural habitats of animals.
Applications for exemption can be submitted to the Nature and Forest Agency.
The derogation nevertheless remains an exception to the rule and may only stem from reasons of public interest.
In return, the applicant may be forced to take compensatory measures including, where possible, the replacement of the destroyed biotopes and habitats.
Who is concerned
Any natural or legal person, private or public, must request authorisation for deforestation/clearing from the Nature and Forest Agency for any:
- deforestation/clearing of land of a surface area of greater than 2 hectares;
- or for felling considered to be excessive on a land with a surface area of less than 2 hectares.
Where the surface area affected by the deforestation/clearing exceeds 20 hectares, the procedure falls under the scope of a classified establishment operating permit application.
In the case of the felling of trees lining roads or marking the boundaries between parcels of land or the felling of one or more trees situated in public squares or in part of a public or private building or monument, the procedure falls under the scope of a nature protection permit application.
How to proceed
Filing an application
The applicant must send a written declaration on plain paper addressed to the Minister of the Environment, indicating the exact location as well as the volume of the wood by registered letter to the address of the Nature and Forest Agency.
If needed, a deforestation or clearing plan indicating the precise characteristics of the trees to be felled (species, quantity, etc.) including their location may complete the declaration.
The Nature and Forest Agency then analyses the application and informs the Minister of the Environment of its opinion. The Minister will notify the applicant of the decision as well as the conditions and compensatory measures to be complied with in the event of a favourable decision.
Conditions and compensatory measures
The clearing/deforestation permit is accompanied with certain conditions to be respected and also compensatory measures where necessary.
These compensatory measures depend, in particular:
- on the type of trees to be felled and their scarcity;
- the quantity to be felled;
- the age of the trees;
- the location of the land.
Officers of the Luxembourg police and agents of the Nature and Forest Agency may carry out on-site controls and report offenders in the event of violation.