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Volunteers help Environment Agency reduce flood risk with tree planting

[A]s part of natural flood management, young people from Oak Field School, volunteers from the Lake District National Park Authority and local anglers were out with Officers from the Environment Agency planting trees next to the river Derwent in Cumbria.

The day was organised by the Environment Agency and 200 trees, which were kindly donated by the Woodland Trust, were planted by the 20 volunteers.

This tree planting is part of a wider programme of works that are carried out in areas Environment Agency know will reap the benefits – Isel is the 15th location for this year. Planting trees can help combat erosion on river banks, as well as provide cover for fish that live in the river. As they mature, the trees also offer valuable shade to help keep the rivers cool and prevent rivers from warming, which can be damaging to fish.

Mike Farrell, Fisheries Project Officer for the Environment Agency “Rivers in England and Wales are at their healthiest for 20 years but the Environment Agency is doing even more to improve standards further. This work will help with emerging action plans the Environment Agency has for managing flood risk from the Cumbrian fells to the Solway Coast and thus ensure that we take into account natural flood alleviation measures, such as tree planting and natural river movement, as well as more traditional engineering solutions such as flood walls in towns.

“The Environment Agency would like to thank our volunteers and also the Woodland Trust for the thousands of trees they donate each year to our project sites.”

For twenty eight years, pupils from Oak Field School in Nottingham have been coming to the Western Lakes around Keswick. Margaret Stannard MBE from Oak Field School, added:  “Our young people love the chance to get out and do something really practical when it comes to conserving the landscape. This all helps them build confidence and try new skills. These sessions really give them an opportunity to take on new challenges which they might not otherwise experience. They love the countryside and enjoy giving something back.”

Natural Flood Management can be a cost-effective and sustainable way to manage flood risk alongside traditional engineering, while creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas through tourism. By planting trees along the river bank it becomes part of the natural upstream management and maintenance of the river.

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