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

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

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










Thousands of acres of forest need to be planted along rivers to help manage flood risks and improve water quality and wildlife.

The government-funded project aims to create nearly 8,000 acres of river and waterway woodland in six watersheds from Cumbria to Devon by March 2025.

Encouraging trees to grow on and around riverbanks can block the runoff of pollutants into waterways and slow water flow to manage flood risks, officials said.

Thousands of acres of forest need to be planted along rivers to help manage flood risks and improve water quality and wildlife. Lynmouth in Devon is pictured above

Creating forest corridors could also help wildlife and make rivers more resilient to climate change by providing shade and cooling water temperatures, she added.

Farmers and landowners can apply for a subsidy for ‘Woodlands for Water’ via Staatsbosbeheer.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: ‘This is a hugely exciting and unexplored area for forest development.

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

The project is led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, supported by the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Rivers Trust and Beaver Trust.

Encouraging trees to grow on and around riverbanks can block the runoff of pollutants into waterways and slow water flow to manage flood risks, officials said.  Wistman's Wood in Dartmoor is pictured above

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

Mark Lloyd of the Rivers Trust: ‘By planting the right trees in the right places, we can tackle multiple problems and deliver multiple benefits: more wildlife, less flooding, more carbon locked in trees and soils, less drought, less pollution, more wild places for people to enjoy.’

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

The planting will take place on National Trust land and in six watersheds 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 forest subsidy must be at least a quarter of a hectare in size and meet a number of conditions.

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