At Somerlap, the protection of the environment is incredibly important to us. We run a number of environmental initiatives – including always using wood from sustainably managed sources and recycling waste wood to make fuel – so we were interested to see that a petition has been set up to encourage the government to investigate planting more trees in an effort to reduce flooding.

Petition to make planting trees a priority

The petition has been set up by Confor, a members’ organisation who support and promote sustainable forestry and low-carbon businesses in the wood industry. They believe that the government should make planting trees a priority to act as a natural flood defence.

In only two months, it has already had a good deal of support and media coverage, attracting nearly 30,000 signatures and a formal response from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra said that they are continuing to invest in exploring the role trees could play in reducing the risk of floods: "Trees can slow the flow of water down and reduce the impacts of floods; we are currently exploring the increased role that this could play in flood risk management."

“Defra continues to support a number of leading research and demonstration projects to better understand the role that...tree planting...could have in reducing flood risk. These include the Forest Research led ‘Slowing the Flow Partnership’ in Pickering, North Yorkshire, the National Trust led project at Holnicote Estate in North Somerset and the Making Space for Water’s project on the Upper Derwent catchment in Derbyshire.

These projects indicate that woodlands can slow the flow of water through smaller catchments and reduce the impacts of some floods. We will continue to support such investigations, gathering further evidence into the potential benefits that land management changes, such as tree planting in catchments, could have on reducing flood risk, in addition to the wider environmental and economic benefits that they could provide.”

Find out more and get involved

At Somerlap, we operate in a part of Somerset that has been regularly affected by flooding, so we are in favour of more investigation into the feasibility of this approach.

Once the petition reaches 100,000 signatures it will considered for debate in parliament. If you'd like this to happen, you can sign the petition on the parliament website.

For more information on the role of forestry for flooding, read Confor’s Forestry and Flooding report.

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