More than 3,000 hectares of new forest are expected to be planted along England’s rivers and streams with support from the country’s leading environmental organizations, Forests Minister Lord said today (Saturday 25 September) Goldsmith.
Planting trees on and around riverbanks, or allowing them to grow naturally, can help improve water quality by blocking pollutant runoff into rivers, manage flood risks by slowing water flow, boost biodiversity by creating new habitat corridors and making our rivers more climate resilient by providing shade and refreshing water temperatures.
There are 242,262km of waterways in England, and it is hoped that by planting trees in this way they will contribute to a natural network of habitats across the country as part of our plans to expand, enhance and connect these places across our towns, cities and countryside.
The Woodlands For Water project aims to create 3,150 hectares of trees in six watersheds from Devon to Cumbria by March 2025. To help farmers and landowners create these forests, they will be able to apply for funding through the England grant Woodland Creation Offer. which provides greater financial incentives to landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees, including along rivers and streams.
Speaking on a National Trust river tree planting project, Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:
This is an extremely exciting and untapped area for forest creation. The benefits of planting trees along rivers are vast – from recovering biodiversity by creating more natural riverbanks; slowing the flow of surface water to reduce the risk of flooding; and improve water quality by protecting rivers from harmful agricultural pollution.
The government has pledged to triple tree planting rates by the end of this legislature, and in this vitally important year to tackle climate change with the Glasgow COP summit, this partnership marks a next important step in our plans to rebuild greener.
Forestry Commission Chairman Sir William Worsley said:
I am delighted to be working with partners to launch the Woodlands For Water project and implement another important part of the England Trees Action Plan.
By placing the right trees in the right place, aided by our new timber creation offering in England, the Woodlands For Water project can provide many benefits, from the creation of new forest habitats; protect existing habitats such as chalk streams; improve environments for fish by reducing water temperature and helping rivers adapt to climate change.
Supported by Defra, the project will be carried out by the “Riverscapes” partnership made up of experts from the Rivers Trust, National Trust, Woodland Trust and Beaver Trust, who will be available to provide specialist assistance in selected watersheds throughout. England. , ensuring that there is a pipeline of riparian planting projects in the years to come.
Rivers Trust CEO Mark Lloyd said:
The Riverscapes partnership brings together leading national organizations who want to revive our rivers, restore nature and increase our resilience to droughts and floods.
Woodlands for Water is a very exciting first project for the partnership that works with Defra to achieve the government’s tree planting goals and commitment to leaving the environment in better shape for the next generation.
By planting the right trees in the right places, we can tackle multiple problems and deliver multiple benefits: more nature, less flooding, more carbon trapped in trees and soils, less droughts, less pollution, more wild places to enjoy people. We hope this project pioneers a roadmap for the rebirth of rivers and their watersheds that can benefit all corners of England and the rest of the UK.
Dr Adrian Southern, Woodland Trust Landscape Scale Delivery Manager, said:
We are delighted to be a part of this extremely important project, both from the point of view of tackling climate change with more trees but also to show how essential it is that they are planted in the right places.
Establishing trees near rivers and in their watersheds can have significant benefits for people and wildlife, from natural flood management to stabilizing riverbanks and reducing sediment flow in streams. water, creating pleasant places for people.
This commitment from Defra could be a catalyst to support the Riverscapes partnership to begin to truly deliver the transformational change needed to address the threats of climate change and wildlife loss.
National Trust Director of Lands and Nature Harry Bowell said:
With 90% of the UK’s floodplains unsuitable and creating flooding problems for communities, we fully recognize the value of trees to our river corridors in helping to slow flood waters, absorb carbon and keep them out. cool rivers in the face of rising temperatures.
This work will improve on projects that we already have underway and where our primary focus has been the conservation and health of the river channel itself. This partnership and funding will allow us to examine the wider river corridor to further improve this work.
James Wallace, CEO of Beaver Trust, said:
As members of the Riverscapes partnership with Defra, we are excited to be part of this first big step towards paying farmers to create a nature recovery network of mosaic habitats along our rivers, working together to give back. life to our land.
We hope that over time, farmers will have an incentive not only to plant trees, but to create wetlands, flood meadows and other spaces for natural processes and wildlife to regenerate in riparian buffer zones. .
Collaboration between government, industry, landowners, communities and the NGO sector is essential if we are to help communities build their resilience to the climate and ecological emergency. The Riverscapes Partnership is eager to help engage the farming community, connect landowners to each other and much-needed public funds, and develop systemic solutions such as blended finance, enabling rapid change in the way we manage our rivers and our lands.
Today’s announcement is a key action in the recently released England Tree Action Plan, which outlines the government’s strategy to get more trees into the ground, which will help deliver many benefits for nature, climate and people, and contributes to the commitment to triple planting rates. in England by the end of this legislature.
Outside of the watersheds targeted by this new Riverscapes partnership, Defra’s other timber-building partnerships help landowners plant trees to achieve a range of goals, including along waterways.