NEW grants are available to farmers and landowners in Yorkshire and the North- East to plant woodland to reduce the risk of flooding.

Woodlands for Water is a joint venture between the Forestry Commission and Environment Agency.

It is the first programme of its kind in England, and does not affect single farm payments, but schemes must be submitted by the end of August.

It aims to help landowners access grants and, with the help of forestry experts, plan new woodland that will help mitigate downstream flooding and improve river quality.

In the past few years, large parts of Yorkshire and the North-East have suffered from flooding.

In the past 12 months alone, York, Scarborough, Saxton, Stainton, Rotherham, Doncaster, Warkworth and Morpeth were some of the areas badly hit.

Forestry experts have been selected to give tailored advice to help farmers and landowners plant trees in areas that will reduce pollution and sedimentation, and/or reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

The Woodlands for Water partnership has produced detailed maps that show where woodland could be created to help reduce flooding if the landowners are willing.

The expert advisers will work in these areas advising on woodland creation opportunities, designing schemes and applying for Forestry Commission grants.

This advisory work is heavily subsidised through Environment Agency funding.

Richard Pow, from the Forestry Commission, said: “Forests and the way they are managed can have profound effects on water.

“Well-designed, located and managed forests help to protect water, and the wide range of flora and fauna that depends on this important habitat.

“Normally, woodland creation and forest management brings a wide range of benefits, including for the water environment.

“But poor planning and management can contribute to water shortages, local flooding and water pollution, including increased acidification, siltation and nutrient enrichment.

“This research programme is concerned with improving our understanding of where woodlands could be created to maximise benefits for water.”

Interested landowners should contact the Forestry Commission or their local adviser quickly.

In addition to the normal Forestry Commission grants and the extra Woodlands for Water money, funding is available to offset the costs of the advisers at a rate of £100 per hectare, up to a maximum £2,000 per grant application.

Interested landowners can contact Richard.Pow@ or call 01904-448778.

The Woodlands for Water regional advisers can also be contacted direct. They include: 

  • Northumberland – George Dodds on 01668- 283848,
  • Hambleton, York, Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby, Teesside, Durham and Tyne and Wear – Isobel Hall (from Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, 015242-51002, email
  • Richmondshire, Craven, Harrogate – Phil Lyth (Yorkshire Farming and Wildlife Partnership), 0771- 3333170, email
  • East Yorkshire, Humberside and NE Lincolnshire – Simon Marrington (UPM Tilhill), 01653-696083, email
  • West and South Yorkshire – Ian Butterfield (White Rose Forest) email and Robin Ridley (South Yorkshire Forest Partnership), 0114-2571199, email