New planting grants to help prevent floods

Project officer Andy McDermott
Project officer Andy McDermott

A GRANT scheme has been launched by the Forestry Commission aimed at getting landowners in the Scarborough and Ryedale area to plant trees to reduce flood risk.

Flooding has caused massive damage in recent years and research into using trees to lessen its severity has been pioneered with a project based around Pickering called Slowing the Flow.

Experts say that woodland acts as a barrier to floodwater, whilst trees also prevent soil erosion, reducing sediment going into rivers and increasing water absorption into the ground.

This slows rainwater running off into swollen streams and helps lower peak flood levels.

Now a mapping exercise carried out by the Forestry Commission and Environment Agency has identified areas which could benefit from new woodland.

Landowners in these targeted floodplain, riparian (riverside), and upper catchment zones will be able to take advantage of grants.

Areas identified include parts of the North York Moors, Vale of Pickering and Yorkshire Wolds.

Grants already given under the scheme to plant new woods include: Levisham Estate near Pickering (10 acres), £15,618; Skipster Hagg Farm near Pickering (37.5 acres), £56,050 and Beacon Farm near Whitby (2.5 acres), £4,446.

Jeremy Dick, Forestry Commission delivery manager, said: “The project will deliver a host of benefits for the region.

“We know that trees can provide an effective eco-friendly method of reducing the severity of flooding and our new maps for North Yorkshire have highlighted key areas.”

Forest chiefs say that new woods will not only provide valuable wildlife havens, but also offer landowners income from timber harvesting in future years – a major attraction as demand for timber is increasing, especially for wood fuel.

To find out more contact the Forestry Commission on (01904) 382300 or go to www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.

Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.