Why the United Kingdom should plant more trees


    Natural defences, including planting more trees, could be a solution to the country’s flooding problems, according to new research.

    In a study led by the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, scientists found that planting trees could reduce the height of flooding in towns by up to 20%.

    They found strategic planting on flood plains could help towns downstream reduce the “peak height” of floods.


    The study for the Environment Agency concludes that trees round a feeder stream can slow the rush of rainwater and save properties from flooding.

    There has been a rush of interest in natural methods – planting trees and creating leaky dams which attempt to delay the flow of water by creating mini-floods upstream.

    But the report’s authors suggest that most successful natural methods are likely to be on a much larger scale than currently in operation.

    Plant trees

    They advise a strategic approach – taking a tributary stream to a main river then foresting the area round it, allowing the stream to make its own meanders, and letting dead wood from the forest to block the stream where it will.

    A drop of up to 20% in flood maximum can be achieved by doing this over 25-40% of the main catchment, they say.

    The environment select committee will produce a report on flood management soon.

    Floods minister Rory Stewart said the government was spending more than ever to protect communities and tree planting had a role to play along with improved defences and dredging.

    Source: BBC, The Guardian UK