Plant a tree to slow the floodwaters

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TREE planting is the latest weapon to tackle flooding in Calderdale.

The Forestry Commission is providing grant aid to encourage landowners to plant trees and help reduce flood risk.

The commission and the Environment Agency has targeted the district in new mapping data of Yorkshire and Humberside.

Land off Rishworth Moor to Sowerby Bridge near the River Ryburn, and from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge near the River Calder is included.

Jeremy Dick, of the Forestry Commission, said: “Planting woodland in these areas can help reduce flooding by reducing the amount of water off the hills and slowing down the actual flood which stops peak-flow happening.

“It won’t prevent flooding but it helps.”

Landowners will be paid up to £3,800 per hectare which would be a significant contribution to the cost of planting woodland, and the option is there for landowners to make money in the longer-term from timber harvesting.

Mr Dick said money had been made available following research by the commission.

Flooding has caused huge damage in recent years and research into using trees to lessen its severity has been pioneered in North Yorkshire 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 ground water absorption. This slows rainwater running off into swollen streams and helps to lower peak flood levels.

Mr Dick said the project would put trees back where they used to be.

Parts of Kirklees, Bradford, Wakefield and Leeds are included in the new mapping exercise allowing landowners in certain floodplain, riverside and upper catchment zones to access grants.

Gibralter Farm, Hebden Bridge, has been offered £3,192 for a new one hectare (2.5 acres) wood.

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