How are trees protected?...
In general, trees are protected in Ireland under the Forestry Act of 1946 which means that anyone who wants to cut down a tree needs a Felling Licence from the Forest Service. There are exemptions for trees that are within 100 feet of a building and there are certain other detailed exemptions in urban areas and for trees that are certified to be dangerous.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are made by local authorities and are a Reserved Function, which means that they must be enacted by vote of the elected Members of the Council. Most TPOs in Ireland have been made when the Forest Service asks a local authority for its view on the issue of a felling licence. If the authority wants the trees to be preserved on amenity grounds, it has the option either to acquire the tree(s), or to make a TPO under the Planning Act of 2000.
So far seventeen TPOs have been made in Co. Waterford and they are listed in the new County Development Plan. Anyone considering actions that might endanger trees covered by a TPO would have to apply for Planning Permission to do so.
Last year the value of some of the county's best specimen trees was underlined by the publication of The Champion Trees of Ireland: A Selection of Ireland's Great Trees; published by the Tree Council of Ireland. It list thirty seven of County Waterford's finest trees. But it does not claim to list all of the important trees in the county. The trees in Lismore Castle's Yew Walk are among the many that would take literally centuries to replace by replanting.