Woodlands are an important element of our landscape. When they are managed appropriately, they are extremely diverse, financially viable and visually beautiful habitats. They can also deliver fantastic habitat for game, as well as providing exciting shooting. Sadly, many woodlands are neglected and have not been actively managed for decades. Consequently, the structure of many woodlands (i.e. the ground flora, shrub and canopy layer) is being lost along with the associated bio-diversity and health of the trees and shrubs that goes with it.
Woodland on farms and estates can be present in many forms, e.g. ancient woodland, historic grant scheme plantings, woodland belts, shooting copses, self-set areas of trees and scrub, historic parkland and wood pasture. Whether you want to grow timber, manage a woodland for shooting purposes or create a more diverse and visibly attractive habitat, then active management is necessary.
A felling licence is required from the Forestry Commission to fell trees, unless exemptions listed at this link apply http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6dfkw6
It is also a legal requirement to assess trees and woodland for any European Protected Species (EPS) or other protected species (e.g. bats, dormice, badgers) that may be impacted upon by proposed work. An appropriate licence and ecological survey may be required.
If your woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), you will also need to apply to the relevant Natural England officer for SSSI consent prior to work starting. Equally, if the proposed work involves trees on a Scheduled Monument, prior consent is required by English Heritage.
A similar application procedure to the local authority will also be required for trees and woodlands within a Conservation Area.
For full details on felling licences, look at the Forestry Commission link. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-fellinglicences