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  • by Karma Loveday

Woodlands for Water project targets creation of 3,000 hectares of trees along rivers

Over 3,000 hectares of new woodlands are set to be planted along England’s rivers and watercourses with backing from the country’s leading environmental organisations, forestry minister Lord Goldsmith announced on Saturday.


The Woodlands for Water project aims to create 3,150 hectares of trees by March 2025. The project will be operating nationally on the National Trust estate and in six catchment areas across the country including: Taw and Torridge (Devon and Somerset); Tamar and Fowey (Devon and Cornwall); Bure, Glaven, Stiffkey, Wensum, Heacham, Lark, Gaywood and Wissey (Norfolk); Eden and Derwent (Cumbria); Teme (Shropshire and Worcestershire); and Wye and Usk (Gloucestershire and Herefordshire). Along with the National Trust, the scheme is supported by the Woodland Trust, The Rivers Trust, and Beaver Trust.


Defra said farmers and landowners will be able to apply for funding through the England Woodland Creation Offer grant.


Goldsmith said: “This is a hugely exciting and untapped area for woodland creation. The benefits of planting trees by rivers are vast – from helping biodiversity recover by creating more natural riverbanks; to slowing the flow of surface water to reduce the risk of flooding; and improving water quality by buffering rivers from harmful agricultural pollution. The Government is committed to trebling tree planting rates by the end of this parliament, and in this vitally important year for tackling climate change with the Glasgow COP summit, this partnership marks an important next step in our plans to build back greener.”


There are 242,262km of watercourses in England. The Woodlands for Water announcement is a key action of the Government’s recently published England Trees Action Plan and its commitment to treble planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament.

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