Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has been working alongside the Woodland Trust to help reduce the risk of flooding in the area by planting trees along riverbanks.
Whilst it is recognised that trees alone cannot prevent flooding, but trees and woods can certainly contribute to flood risk management. Trees planted alongside rivers slow and reduce the flow of flood waters. This is because water can infiltrate soil around trees and shrubs more quickly and more deeply meaning there is less surface run-off and greater water retention in the soil. Not only this, trees and shrubs also serve to prevent erosion of riverbanks and so reduce the level of sediment build up in other wrong places. These factors can be incredibly important at times of heavy rainfall.
Speaking about his tree-planting near Bashall Barn, Nigel said:
“Trees are a natural flood risk management measure. They do not harm to the environment and, what is more, they are aesthetically pleasing – much more so than a number of other flood measures. The Woodland Trust are perfectly placed to deliver on this matter. They have the necessary knowledge and the backing to make their goals a reality and I for one would like to help these brought to fruition.
“Clearly, an obvious step to take to prevent flood damage is to not build houses in high flood risk areas. However, when houses have already been built, it is my opinion that tree-planting is a safe, cheap and easy option which is also pleasing to the eye.
“Trees are a sustainable and low maintenance solution to the risk of flooding. The total cost to the economy of flooding just a year ago was huge. The cost of planting a few trees is minimal and could help save extremely large amounts of money in the future.”
The Woodland Trust are hoping to encourage more and more communities and landowners to work with them so that trees can be planted on a larger scale.