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When can you fell trees without the city’s permission?
You can fell trees without a landscape work statement from Building Control if the following conditions are met:
- No more than five trees are felled and there are still trees remaining on the plot afterwards.
- The detailed plan governing the area does not contain any provisions regarding the protection or number of the trees in question, or other such provisions.
- The detailed plan does not contain any provisions regarding the preservation of the environment.
- The number of trees remaining does not fall below the possible minimum required by the detailed plan.
- The trees to be felled are not growing on a part of the plot that is required to have trees in the detailed plan.
- The trees are not significant in terms of the landscape, for example, majestic old stand-alone trees, groups of trees, lanes of trees or similar, the loss of which would significantly impoverish the environment. The significance in terms of the landscape is defined by Building Control.
- Plans to cut down trees growing on the boundary line of the plot have been approved by the neighbour.
If none of these conditions above are met, you must apply for a landscape work statement or permit to fell a tree. The landscape work statement will inform you if you need to have a condition assessment of the trees carried out. An arborist can assist you with this, but keep in mind that the City of Helsinki does not offer arborist services.
Dangerous trees and trees growing on the plot boundary
Trees posing an immediate danger to their nearby environment must be felled immediately; doing so does not require a permit or statement.
The holder of the property must monitor the condition of the trees on the property and, if necessary, take measures to address problems. The holder of the property is liable for any damage caused by a fallen tree.
People that have cut down trees that felt posed a danger may need to prove that trees did indeed pose a danger after the fact, if necessary. Building Control may require that a new corresponding tree be planted to replace the felled tree that was deemed dangerous.
You will need your neighbour’s consent if the tree to be felled is on the boundary line of the plot.
If the roots or branches of a tree on your neighbour’s side are inconveniencing you, you must first ask the neighbour to remove them. It is only then that, if the neighbour does not act as requested within a reasonable time frame, you can remove the roots and branches from your side from your property. The right to remove them only extends to the plot boundary, not beyond.
Possible disputes can be settled by the police or a district court. The City of Helsinki’s Building Control cannot intervene in disputes between neighbours.
Take note of flying squirrels, bats and birds
Finland’s Nature Conservation Act prohibits the destruction and damage of breeding sites and resting places of flying squirrels and bats without the express permission of Environmental Services.
You must always apply for a permit from the city’s Environmental Services if you are planning to fell a tree in an area that has trees with a hole, birdhouse or nest used by flying squirrels or bats.
Annexes to the application for a permit to fell trees.
Your application for a permit to fell trees must contain the following attachments:
- A detailed plan or map extract showing the trees to be felled and those that will be preserved.
- A photograph of the trees to be felled.
- An assessment of the condition of the trees if you already have one.