THOUSANDS of trees are to be planted along the Severn and Wye as part of a national project to create new woodland along rivers and watercourses.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith announced the plan today.

More than 3,100 hectares of woodland will be created as part of Defra’s Woodlands for Water project - a new project to be carried out by the Riverscapes Partnership comprising experts from The Rivers Trust, National Trust, Woodland Trust and Beaver Trust - to encourage landowners and farmers to plant trees near rivers and watercourses. 

Woodlands to be planted include areas along the Rivers Dore, Dulas and Lugg in the Wye Valley as well as woodlands in River Teme in the River Severn catchment.

Planting trees or allowing them to naturally colonise along and around these areas can offer enormous benefits for water quality, flood management, biodiversity and climate resilience.  

The project aims to help create 3,150 hectares of new ‘riparian woodland’ (trees planted near rivers and watercourses) by March, 2025, in seven catchment areas located across the country.

This will improve around 1000 km of rivers through buffering harmful pollution and helping create more natural riverbanks.

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Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “This is a hugely exciting and untapped area for woodland creation.
"The benefits of planting trees by rivers are vast - from helping biodiversity recover by creating more natural riverbanks; to slowing the flow of surface water to reduce the risk of flooding; and improving water quality by buffering rivers from harmful agricultural pollution.”

Severn Rivers Trust CEO, Joe Pimblett said: "The water environment is in trouble like never before and the Severn catchment is no exception. To combat this, we need collaboration between land managers, environmentalists and government agencies, to facilitate land use change at a scale not seen before.

"Woodlands for Water will do just that, making a sizeable contribution to addressing the environmental challenges we now face.

“The Severn Rivers Trust recognises that expanding our network of riparian woodlands, throughout the catchment, can deliver against a number of key environmental priorities, including; the provision of valuable wildlife habitat, filtering harmful pollutants and contributing to reducing flood risk.”