New planting programme aims to reduce flood risk

Work experience student Beth Prashar, 17, helped with the flooding clean-up operation in Walsden
Work experience student Beth Prashar, 17, helped with the flooding clean-up operation in Walsden

The Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency have teamed up to launch a new campaign of woodland planting to prevent future flooding.

The “Woodland for Water” programme is the first of its kind in England and aims to help land owners access grants and plan new woodland schemes that will help reduce downstream flooding and improve the quality of rivers.

Given the recent flash flooding in Todmorden, the campaign is looking to sign up local land owners.

A map produced by the Forestry Commission indicates all of Todmorden being at risk of flooding and is therefore a prime site for the new programme.

Jim Heslop, environment programme manager at the Environment Agency, said: “This partnership project represents a fantastic opportunity to work with the Forestry Commission to target new woodland planting in areas which will benefit water quality and mitigate flood risk.”

To sign up for the programme, contact Richard Pow, at the Forestry Commission, on 01904 448778.

A work experience student has been praised for her efforts in helping residents affected by the flooding.

Beth Prashar, 17, who was on a placement with housing provider Places for People in Leeds, found herself knee deep in water after the maintenance team was called to Spruce Walk, Walsden, to clear rubble and help the residents.

Beth, who hopes to become a social worker, said: “I expected to be mostly in the office on the work placement but I was happy to help out.

“When I got there I was surprised at how bad it was but everyone had already worked really hard to clear out the rocks. Even though I was the only girl, they were all really lovely and showed me what to do.

“I was aching a lot the next day but it was worth it.

“It just goes to show, if there’s an emergency people will drop everything and muck in.”

Supervisor Gary Harrison said: “It was great that Beth was keen to help.

“She really got stuck in wheel-barrowing and up to her knees in mud. She showed a few of the lads up.”