Protected Trees within the Maltese Islands

ERA regulates the issuing of permits as per Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations, 2018, which includes trees falling within the First and Second Schedule .

  1.  First Schedule Part A Table 1: Trees listed as Strictly Protected Species are protected in all locations in the Maltese Islands, even in  private gardens. This includes rare and/ or important indigenous species. ;
  2. First Schedule Part A Table 2:Trees protected within certain locations that is within protected areas, located Outside Development Zone (ODZ), in green areas and in natural or rural / green enclaves in the development zone. These tree species are also protected in urban public open space or located within protected areas within the Development Zone.   

Urban public open spaces comprise roads, road sides, pavements, piazzas, public gardens, parks, cemeteries, roundabouts, central strips and other traffic islands, and ancillary landscaped areas associated with these spaces.

According to the Regulations, the term protected area means any area which is legally protected, scheduled or designated for conservation in view of its ecological, scientific or landscape-related value either through the Environment Protection Act, 2016 or  the Development Planning Act, 2016, as well as any Tree Protection Area. Protected areas  thus include:​

    • ​​​Natura 2000 sites, both National and International Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs);
    • Tree Protection Areas;
    • Bird Sanctuaries as listed in Schedule V of the Conservation of Wild Bird Regulations, 2006 (S.L. 549.42) which include all cemeteries and their surroundings within 50m , all public gardens, the Pinetum at Pieta’, Manoel Island, Ta’ Qali, and various other sites located ODZ such as protected beaches;
    • Areas of Ecological Importance (AEIs) and Sites of Scientific Importance (SSIs); and
    • Areas of High Landscape Value (AHLVs).

​​​The protection does not cover sites protected for their archaeological or cultural value, albeit these may be covered by additional protective designations as per above.

​c.   Part B of the First Schedule specifies a number of other conditions in which trees are protected namely all trees:

      • ​​​​​​​​​more than 50 years are protected if located in protected areas, in ODZ, within an Urban Conservation Area (UCA) or in an urban public open space;
      • listed in the List of Historical Trees Having an Antiquarian Importance Order;
      • located within Tree Protection Areas;
      • located within a site protected by a Tree Preservation Order or covered by an approved  Management Plan for  a  protected area;
      • of the species Ficus microcarpa within urban public open space.
  1. Finally theSecond Schedule of the Regulations also lists trees which are potentially damaging to the environment and which are not protected. Specimens of Eucalyptus sp. are protected in urban public open spaces under the provisions of Part B of the First Schedule. S​uch species are considered harmful for the local flora and fauna and hence their propagation, planting, import, export and selling is considered illegal. The environmental considerations represented by this schedule are essentially related to rural conservation and ecology, and may not be relevant to urban areas. In this regard, old or mature trees belonging to the listed exotic species (but located in urban areas) still provide a valuable aesthetic contribution to the streetscape and their value as urban ‘green lungs’.

Carrying out interventions on Protected Trees

In order to carry out works on protected trees, a permit from the Authority is required. T​he relevant application for interventions on the above mentioned protected trees can be obtained from the relevant webpage​. For further information contact the Environmental Permitting Services n tree.permitting@era.org.mt or phone 2292 3500 during office hours.