Confor welcomes new flood group

Confor has welcomed the announcement of a new group to examine what more can be done to prevent further devastating floods in the North-west of England.

Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said the long-term strategic approach proposed by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss was the right way forward - and that tree-planting could play an important part in the discussions of the new Cumbrian Floods Partnership group.

Mr Goodall said: "We very much welcome this initiative, which sits well with the intervention by Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan last week, calling for a very significant increase in the scale of tree-planting ambition in England to help tackle flooding.

 "The report produced by Confor and Forest Research earlier this year outlined a range of ways in which tree planting can help reduce flood risks. We recognise that this is just one of a broad package of measures needed to tackle these devastating events - but it is an important part of that package, not just for those affected by the recent floods, but also for future generations.

"The forestry and wood sector very much looks forward to contributing to these significant debates. Confor and The Woodland Trust are writing jointly to Elizabeth Truss to highlight our water management report and other research work on the contribution of tree planting to reducing flood risk.'"

A statement by the UK Government yesterday said the Cumbrian Floods Partnership group will consider what improvements to flood defences in the region may be needed, look at upstream options for slowing key rivers to reduce the intensity of water flows at peak times and build stronger links between local residents, community groups and flood defence planning. 

The group, which will publish a Cumbria Action Plan next summer, will be chaired by Floods Minister Rory Stewart, who is also the Minister responsible for Forestry.

Mr Goodall concluded: "We have worked closely with Rory Stewart on forestry matters and I am certain that he will look extremely carefully at all the short-term and long-term actions needed to address future flood risks - including greatly enhanced tree planting."

For more information, contact Stuart Goodall on