Thousands of trees are to be planted as part of a flood defence project in northern England. England’s Environment Agency said 7 hectares of woodland and over 5km of hedgerow are to be created as part of a large ‘aquagreen’ project that will store floodwater and reduce flood risk.
The project is part of the agency’s vision for natural flood management to be seen as a core part of the nation’s defence against flooding, alongside its programme of “crucial bricks and mortar hard defences”
New research by Forest Research estimated Great Britain’s trees contribute over £400m annually in benefits in the fight against floods.
The project to plant thousands of tree and hedgerow seedlings has started at a flood defence project in Castlehill, East Hull, to create new woodland habitats for local wildlife. The project will reduce flood risk to over 800 properties and key infrastructure in east Hull.
Tree species such as field maple, downy birch, English oak, and black alder are being planted along with different species of willow for hedges and field rose, dog rose, guelder rose and blackthorn and hawthorn to create scrubland.
The planting programme started this week with a group of 20 volunteers planting hundreds of trees over three days.
Andrew Barron, the flood risk advisor at the Environment Agency, said, “Woodland habitat holds high biological value and the new hedgerow planted across the site will promote a green corridor. We also plan on converting some of the arable land into open grassland which also has great biodiversity value and will be excellent habitat for many conservation priority species, such as skylarks, barn owls, and butterflies.
“We had a great response from volunteers locally and will be doing more planting this month as part of our ambitions to create new woodland habitat as part of our flood defence work to better protect homes from the risk of flooding.
“Species will be allowed to naturally recolonise areas to create a natural woodland with scrub and grassland fringes to support a diverse make up of species and is expected to reach maturity over 15 to 20 years.”