Tree planting pilot to help reduce flood risk

The Environment Agency has announced the launch of a natural flood management pilot project to help reduce the risk of flooding from the River Aire in Leeds.

The first project to trial natural flood management techniques has seen 650 new trees planted by staff and trainees from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and volunteers. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has also worked on three further pilots on the same site at Eshton Beck, Gargrave.

The flood alleviation work involved building 66 log and brash leaky dams, planting a further 850 trees, undertaking 0.5ha of woodland management, building a 20m-long log revetment – using timber to prevent bank erosion and installing 200m of fenceline and a water gate to protect the new trees from nearby grazing stock. The aim is to see how natural techniques can slow the flow of water and reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

This £500,000 pilot programme, funded by Leeds City Council, uses natural methods to slow the flow of water from upstream in the catchment, including land management to reduce water run-off, woodland creation to increase tree canopy cover and river and flood plain restoration so that the landscape can hold more water in times of flood.

Chris Milburn, Project Executive at the Environment Agency, said: “This work at Eston Beck contributes to local flood risk reduction and wider environmental benefits, slowing the flow of water locally and to downstream communities.”