Project Underway To Reduce Flood Risk In The North.

A new Woodlands for Water project is now underway in Yorkshire and the north-east of England, being run by the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency, designed to reduce flood risk and improve water quality in the region.


Farmers and land managers will be able to take advantage of the services of skilled professionals and advisers working on contract to the Commission, with advice available in areas of land where planting would be most effective at improving quality of water and/or reducing flood risk by preventing more sediment and pollutants from reaching streams and rivers.


Well planned new woodland planting can deliver all sorts of serious benefits, whether that’s providing shelter for stock and generating income from timber or capturing carbon dioxide and mitigating climate change, as well as creating new wildlife habitats and producing wood to serve as a renewable fuel.


Area director of the Forestry Commission in Yorkshire and the north-east Crispin Thorn said: “The network of Woodlands for Water advisers across Yorkshire and the north-east are available to help take forward applications for woodland creation that will benefit the water environment and bring a host of other benefits including enhancing biodiversity, reducing carbon and providing future income from timber.


“This will help meet the government’s 11 million tree target as well as delivering against key areas within the 25 Year Environment Plan.”


Grant funding has also been made available for planting new woodlands via the Woodland Creation Grant or the Woodland Carbon Fund. The latter offers up to £6,800 per hectare for new woodland planting, with extra multiannual payments of £200 per hectare for a period of ten years for those applicants who are eligible.


It’s recognized that poorly planned and managed forests can put real pressure on the water environment, while trees planted in the right places can serve to protect waterways and help meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive, which seeks to protect, enhance and restore the condition of all water in the natural environment.


All over the world, forests have long been used to help reduce the risk of flooding and the majority of flooding-related disasters have in part been blamed on the effects of deforestation, according to the Forestry Commission.


Forests use more water than shorter vegetation types because of the interception of rainwater by their rougher canopies. Interception can reduce the amount of rain hitting the ground by up to 45 per cent – or even more for some kinds of forests. Reducing even half this amount could therefore contribute to flood control in a major way.


Forest soils also hold back and delay the passage of rainwater to streams and rivers, with soils also typically drier during the summer because of their higher water usage.


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