A NEW scheme to stop a repeat of the devastating floods which swept across South Yorkshire in 2007 is offering landowners thousands of pounds to plant trees in key sites.
The Forestry Commission has more than doubled the grants available for tree planting.
Around £3,800 a hectare is now available to landowners, up from £1,800 a hectare previously.
Experts say that woodland acts as a barrier to floodwater, while trees also prevent soil erosion, reducing sediment going into rivers and increasing ground water absorption.
This slows rainwater running off into swollen streams and helps to lower peak flood levels.
The Forestry Commission and Environment Agency have identified new areas which could benefit from new woodland.
These include parts of Rotherham, Barnsley, Sheffield and Doncaster.
Project officer Andy McDermott said: “We want more landowners and people thinking about planting to get in touch.
“Even if they are quite a distance away from flood plains or rivers they might be eligible for the grants, as planting upstream or on high ground increases the lag time of flood waters when the rain comes down.
“My job is to help landowners decide what they want to do and help them put in an application.”
Jeremy Dick, Forestry Commission delivery manager for the scheme, said: “The project will deliver a host of benefits. We know that trees can provide an effective eco-friendly method of reducing the severity of flooding and our new mapping data has highlighted key areas.
“Forest chiefs say that new woods will not only provide valuable wildlife havens but also offer landowners income from timber harvesting in future years – a major attraction as demand for timber is increasing, especially for wood fuel.”
For details call 01904 382300 or log on to www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber.