Did you know that around 357,000 properties in Wales – or about 1 in 6 buildings – are at risk of flooding? And that the natural environment, and trees in particular, can play a huge part in helping absorbing surface water run-off and thus reducing peak flooding flow?
That’s why Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust in Wales) has launched a petition calling on the Welsh Government to reduce flood risk by supporting the planting of at least 10 million trees over the next 5 years, creating hedges, tree belts and wooded areas targeted where they will best help soak up rainfall and slow down water runoff.
Many of these could be small areas rather than large ones and could be extremely useful in particular for the farmer, providing shelter for livestock from the sun and wind as well as the rain, and a supply of firewood in the future. Planting woodland like this can be a great way of making use of small areas of land to make the farm more efficient.
How could this be achieved, I hear you ask?
The Welsh Government already has a grant scheme, Glastir Woodland Creation, which can offer grants for every hectare of new woodland planted. The scheme has been popular with farmers and other landowners and uptake is showing slow by steady growth. Coed Cadw is now calling on the Welsh Government to offer enhanced grant rates for the type of planting which will do most to reduce flood risk – for example planting shelter belts of trees alongside streams, or along the contours in upland areas.
The Pontbren Scheme in Powys provided an excellent example of what this approach might mean in practice. Here, ten farmers have worked together to plant over 120,000 trees and shrubs, to create or restore over ten miles of hedges and create numerous ponds. Now nearly 5% of the Pontbren land is woodland, pond and hedgerow. Crucially, this has been achieved with no loss of agricultural productivity. Indeed the aim was to reduce costs, make farming more sustainable and improve prospects for the next generation on these family farms.
This tree planting will also count towards the 100,000 hectare tree planting target the Welsh Government has already set, to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.
Can anyone sign the petition?
The Welsh Government will want to see predominately Welsh voices supporting this petition, and so we are not specifically calling on people living outside Wales to sign it. However, if you have some connection with Wales, for example if you come from Wales but do not live here at present, and you have strong views on the subject you are still welcome to sign and please do share with all your Welsh friends, family and colleagues. We need your help to get this message across!
In addition, if you are planning on visiting the Royal Welsh Show, in Builth Wells Monday 22nd to Thursday 25th July please come and say ‘Hello’ to us at our stand (Avenue D3, Stand number 735), where you can also support our ‘Reduce Flooding. Plant Trees’ petition as well as:
- receive your free native broadleaf tree to take home
- check out our Bee Hive and pollinator trees
- colour in a bee or butterfly and add it to our tree
- talk to us about tree planting and grants available
- be amazed by our soil erosion demonstration
- discover all the other incredible things trees do for you
We’ll look forward to seeing you! In the meantime, keep up-to-date with the latest on this campaign by visiting Coed Cadw Facebook page and hit ‘like’ www.facebook.com/coedcadw or talk to us on Twitter @coedcadw.
Angharad Evans, Campaigns Officer, Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust in Wales)