Woodlands and plantations
At Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) we recognise that many landowners plant trees not only to enhance the natural environment but also as an investment for the future.
Commercial plantations of short rotation coppice crops, especially willow, are increasing across the province.
It is important that for any tree cutting activity, commercial or private, that the dangers posed by nearby overhead electricity lines is considered.
Find out more information on important safety advice for tree cutting.
Commercial tree plantations
New or planned plantations
If you are planning a commercial plantation on land with an overhead line running through the area the line may affect where trees can and cannot be safely planted. It is important that proper safety clearances are kept between the overhead line and the trees for the safety of plantation workers and other land users, as well as the safe and efficient operation of the overhead line.
For new plantations a Commercial Agreement can be set up between the plantation owner and NIE Networks. This Agreement will outline in what areas around the overhead line that trees should not be planted to achieve the necessary safety clearances over the lifetime of the plantation. It also ensures that at the time of harvest the plantation owner is compensated for the value of timber that could have been, but was not planted. This way the plantation owner will incur no financial loss due to the presence of our overhead network.
If you have an existing commercial plantation on land with an overhead line running through the area, tree cutting may be required within the plantation. If any tree cutting is required a NIE Networks' tree patroller will identify this and contact you. A Commercial Agreement can still be set up between the plantation owner and NIE Networks that will allow us to carry out the cutting required to achieve the required safety distances and ensure that at the time of harvest the plantation owner is compensated for the value of timber lost during the cutting.
Harvesting of tree crops
If you are intending to harvest trees (or a tree plantation) that is close to an overhead line, or are concerned about plantation trees that are close to an overhead line, please contact us as it may require the power to be turned off to allow the trees to be harvested safely.
We can visit the site with you to provide advice, assess what precautions will be required and arrange a suitable date to turn the power off.
This Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA formerly AFAG) Safety Guide [Link opens in a new window] provides industry standard guidance on carrying out timber harvesting extraction work, or the use of skyline or high lead crane systems, near overhead lines.
Please be mindful that any forestry work in the vicinity of overhead lines is potentially hazardous and further information and advice can be found here.
We have a long standing agreement with the Forest Service and every year we work together to maintain safety distances between forests and the overhead network as well as safety harvesting mature forests.