Thousands of acres of woodland will be planted next to rivers

Thousands of acres of woodland will be planted next to rivers to help manage flood risks

  • Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for ‘Woodlands for Water’ grants 
  • Government-funded project to create nearly 8,000 acres of wood along rivers 
  • This will take place in six catchments from Cumbria to Devon by March 2025 

Thousands of acres of woodlands are to be planted along rivers to help manage flood risks and boost water quality and wildlife.

The Government-funded project aims to create nearly 8,000 acres of woods along rivers and waterways in six catchments from Cumbria to Devon by March 2025.

Encouraging trees to grow on and around river banks can block run-off of pollutants into waterways and slow the flow of water to manage flood risks, officials said.

Thousands of acres of woodlands are to be planted along rivers to help manage flood risks and boost water quality and wildlife. Lynmouth in Devon is pictured above

Creating woodland corridors can also help wildlife and make rivers more resilient to climate change by providing shade and cooling water temperatures, they added.

Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for ‘Woodlands for Water’ grants via the Forestry Commission.

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith said: ‘This is a hugely exciting and untapped area for woodland creation.

‘The benefits of planting trees by rivers are vast – from helping biodiversity recover by creating more natural riverbanks; to slowing the flow of surface water to reduce the risk of flooding; and improving water quality by buffering rivers from harmful agricultural pollution.’ 

The project is being run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, backed by the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Rivers Trust and Beaver Trust.

Encouraging trees to grow on and around river banks can block run-off of pollutants into waterways and slow the flow of water to manage flood risks, officials said.  Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor is pictured above

Mark Lloyd, of the Rivers Trust, said: ‘By planting the right trees in the right places, we can tackle multiple problems and provide multiple benefits – more nature, less flooding, more carbon locked up in trees and soils, fewer droughts, less pollution, more wild places for people to enjoy.’

Funding for the scheme comes from the Government’s England Trees Action Plan, which aims to encourage more trees.

Planting will take place on National Trust land and in six catchment areas across the country including: Taw and Torridge in Devon and Somerset; Tamar and Fowey in Devon and Cornwall; Bure, Glaven, Stiffkey, Wensum, Heacham, Lark, Gaywood and Wissey in Norfolk; Eden and Derwent in Cumbria; Teme in Shropshire and Worcestershire; Wye and Usk in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Areas eligible for the woodland grants must be at least a quarter of an acre in area and comply with a number of conditions.

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