Trees must feature in flood defence strategies

A national green services provider is calling on the government and landowners to invest in planting trees to reduce the threat of flooding in high-risk areas across the UK.

Glendale's Terry Doyle      Image: Supplied
Glendale's Terry Doyle Image: Supplied
Glendale, which specialises in the management and maintenance of the green environment, believes trees have a critical role to play in preventing a repeat of floods that devastated the South West of England in 2014 and caused millions of pounds’ worth of damage.

When planted along riverbanks, trees help slow the water flow into the river, reducing pressure on any existing flood defences, while acting as a natural barrier to hold back eroded banks.

Research also shows that water sinks into the soil under trees 67 times faster than under grass, because tree roots transform the ground into a spongy reservoir which absorbs water and releases it slowly.

Terry Doyle, regional director for Glendale in the South West, said: "The creation and management of trees and woodland is vital to effective flood defence strategies, and government funding strategies need to reflect this.

"The idea is that trees work alongside existing engineered flood defences, which will lose their effectiveness over time. As a sustainable and effective approach to flood management, we believe tree-planting projects to this effect should be implemented across the UK, particularly when taking into account our increasingly changing climate."

Landowners needed to act now to ensure there is time to plan out the next project and make sure funding is obtained before the start of the next planting season, Doyle said.

Funding for planting projects is currently available through the government’s Woodland Capital Grants 2015 scheme as well as The Woodland Trust.

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