On Thursday Fran Hitchinson, Conservation Policy Advisor at the Trust, went to London to give evidence to the Flood and Water Management Bill committee, which includes high profile MPs such as Huw Irranca-Davies and Roberta Blackman-Woods.
This is the first time the Woodland Trust has given evidence on a Bill as it is being passed through parliament so it was an important day for us all and in her own words Fran tells us how she got on:
“Nervously I took my place on the panel and waited for a question, it could have been from any one of the MPs on the Committee looking after the Bill. As there were a number of people on the panel giving evidence it was a while before we were asked a question but it was great to get the chance to speak to these influential MPs about how important the environment, and of course trees and woods, are in the Bill.
“We only got asked two questions but I got across all our key points which was the important thing. Now our comments are on record all the MPs can refer back to them and know what we thought and use them in the future to make sure the case is made for our natural environment, trees and woods.”
Our key thoughts on the Bill are:
- We are very supportive of the inclusion of wording on ‘natural processes’. Natural processes can be a powerful and effective tool for flood mitigation that can be used alongside more traditional options. Our research has shown that trees and woods can have impacts on mitigating both large and small floods.
- We believe the Bill could be better integrated with wider environmental objectives to ensure synergies in actions and to deliver the maximum benefits for our habitats and species. There are a number of ways in which we feel the Bill could achieve this: strengthening the sustainable development wording, making it a requirement for the national strategies to contribute to wider environmental objectives and making closer links with the Water Framework Directive and the actions of the River Basin Management Plans.