Trees used for Nottinghamshire 'natural' flood defences

Woman planting trees
Image caption The Environment Agency said the scheme was "part of the puzzle" to manage flood risk

Flood defences which use the natural environment are being trialled to help protect homes and businesses in two Nottinghamshire villages.

Seventeen-hundred trees are being planted near Lambley and Lowdham, which have faced repeated problems.

The trees will help the ground absorb rainwater and slow run off into a nearby watercourse, the Cocker Beck.

The Environment Agency said the scheme was "part of the puzzle" to manage flood risk.

Image copyright Susan Dawson
Image caption Lowdham was swamped by flash flooding in 2013

Work has begun across 15 sites in the catchment area upstream of Lowdham.

As well as trees, work will see "leaky" wooden barriers built to help reduce the amount of water that enters the Cocker Beck.

Alex McDonald, from the Environment Agency, said: "We will be collecting data around natural flood management and looking to see how it works alongside our traditional flood defences, and that will help decide what schemes of the future look like.

"The traditional defence scheme in Lowdham will cost about £6m and we are probably looking at another two to three years to finish, which is why natural flood management is so good because people are crying out for action and we can do this quickly."

Image caption The scheme is part of a £15m national programme

Lesley Sharpe, from the Trent Rivers Trust, which is part of the scheme, said: "Tree roots absorb a lot of water and allow water to infiltrate the ground. It also provides a physical barrier, so rainwater will be slowed down, and it has those other benefits for the wildlife and landscape.

"Landowners have been generally supportive. It can take a while to build up that trust and understanding of what we are doing but the response has been good."

This scheme is part of a £15m national programme to investigate evidence for natural defences as a tool to reduce flood risk.

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