Forestry Act 2014

14.

Removal or destruction of vegetation on land

14. (1) Where the Minister is satisfied that trees in a forest are at significant risk of being damaged by fire originating on uncultivated land in the vicinity of the forest by reason of the presence thereon of vegetation, the Minister may serve on the owner of the land concerned a notice in writing stating that the vegetation constitutes a danger to those trees and directing that the vegetation be removed or destroyed in such manner and within such time as the Minister may specify.

(2) Where—

(a) the land is unoccupied, or

(b) the land is occupied and the owner, having been duly served, fails to comply with the notice under subsection (1),

the Minister may authorise in writing any person to enter on the land concerned during any specified period, not exceeding 3 months, and remove or destroy any vegetation on the part of that land within a distance of 45 metres from the boundary of the forest.

(3) A person entering on land under an authority given by the Minister under this section shall, if so required by the owner, produce his or her authority and, if any person obstructs a person so authorised in the due performance of his or her functions under that authority, he or she shall be guilty of an offence and be liable, on summary conviction, to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

(4) On proof by the owner of the land concerned that the steps taken in relation to that land by a person authorised under subsection (2) needlessly resulted in damage or loss of a significant character to that owner in respect of that land, the person so authorised shall be liable to pay compensation to him or her therefor and, if the person so authorised is not the owner of the trees referred to in subsection (1), the person shall be entitled to be reimbursed by the owner of the trees in respect of any payment the person has properly made to the first-mentioned owner under this subsection.

(5) In this section “owner”, in relation to land, includes a person in occupation, or appearing to be in occupation, of the land.

(6) The Minister shall exercise his or her functions under this section subject to the requirements of the Habitats Regulations, and in particular, Part 5 thereof.