Saturday, 22 February 2014

Devon County to plant more trees - to help prevent flooding and help wildlife

More trees are to be planted in Devon:

County backs tree plea

Friday, February 21, 2014 

A PLEA for more trees to be planted on Devon County Council land has been unanimously supported by the authority.

Councillor Claire Wright, who is the Woodland Trust’s tree champion for Devon, says the move will have flood prevention benefits among others. Water sinks into the soil under trees 67 times the rate at which it sinks into soil under grass.

Mrs Wright thanked fellow councillors for their support and said she is look forward to finding suitable areas to plant native species to help tree populations to recover – which could also boost wildlife.

County backs tree plea - News - Sidmouth Herald

Motion for tree planting project on Devon County Council land unanimously backed

Friday, 21 February 2014 3 Comments by Claire
My motion for a tree planting programme on Devon County Council owned land was unanimously supported, at yesterday’s full council meeting.

I spoke briefly to say that tree planting can have huge flood prevention benefits, as well as all the other issues. Water sinks into the soil under trees 67 times the rate at which it sinks into soil under grass.
We are lagging a long way behind Europe on our tree planting, with less than 10 per cent of wooded areas, compared with around 44 per cent in Europe.
With the recent weather, our already struggling trees, which are battling development and unprecedented disease, have been under huge pressure from the storms.
I am the Woodland Trust’s tree champion for Devon and the Woodland Trust runs tree planting help schemes.
My thanks to councillors for the support and I look forward to working with portfolio holder, Roger Croad, on finding suitable areas to plant native species to help tree populations to recover, and hopefully with it, our poor suffering wildlife, which is also struggling with climate change and loss of habitat.
1. At 12:44 pm on 21th Feb Sharon Pavey wrote:
Hi Claire - it is great to hear that Devon County Council is supporting more tree planting. We planted 100 trees in The Glen in Honiton with Transition Town Honiton a couple of years ago and would love to plant more all over Honiton. Please get in touch if you have any trees needing homes & people to plant them in this area. The Transition group has an active Planting group always looking for more projects.
2. At 11:48 am on 22th Feb Gavin Jones wrote:
Great news, Claire. I didn’t know of your connection with the Woodland Trust but it is an excellent organisation. Which East Devon locations for more tree planting do you have in mind?
(PS I see you posted that information at some unearthly hour in the morning. Don’t you ever sleep?
3. At 05:14 pm on 22th Feb Claire wrote:
Sharon:  Thanks v much I will do.
Gavin:  Thank you, I am hoping to meet the portfolioholder for the environment in the next week or two. My preference would be to identify some well used public land for any tree planting.
I think I posted the blog in the evening,  not in the early hours!?

This is in the wake of warnings that trees are particularly vulnerable after the floods:
Council issues fallen tree warning - News - Sidmouth Herald
Revealed: £50m bill to clear storm damage in south west | Exeter Express and Echo

Although, without the trees, the flooding would have been much worse:

Lord Rooker: 'Planting trees could stop flooding'

Natural flood defences, like felling trees into rivers to slow their flow, have proved successful
Britain should turn swathes of its upland pastures into woodland to help prevent flooding, according to a former environment minister, Lord Rooker. He said new forests would slow flooding by trapping water with their roots.
The idea of "rewilding" the uplands is catching on fast as parts of Britain face repeated flooding, with more rainfall on the way.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said he would seriously consider innovative solutions like rewilding.
BBC News - Lord Rooker: 'Planting trees could stop flooding'

The experts are calling for planners to adopt a series of measures aimed at tackling the risk of flooding, including exploring how measures like planting trees can hold back water in the upper reaches of rivers.  

David Cameron must lead planning revolution to prevent future floods, say experts - Telegraph

The environmental engineering methods referred to collectively as “Natural Flood Management” (NFM) entail the use of a landscape’s own pre-existing features and endowments to impede river flow, and thus either reduce the downstream maximum water height of a flood or delay its onset. Experts believe it could be the most cost-effective means of addressing one of Britain’s most besetting environmental dilemmas.

NFM brings together four key techniques for stymieing the impact of flooding, all of which involve exploiting the landscape’s own natural features. Water can be stored in ponds, ditches or field attenuation bunds to attenuate flow levels, while soil infiltration zones can facilitate the entry of water into the earth at certain key locations, such as tree belts.

Is 'Natural' Engineering the Key to Flood Prevention?

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