Yorkshire Water has today made an ambitious pledge to plant one million trees across its land in Yorkshire over the next ten years in a bid to reduce flood risk, offset carbon emissions and support the creation of a Northern Forest.
Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water’s Chief Executive, made the pledge this morning (Wednesday 31st January) at Gorpley reservoir near Todmorden, where the company is already working with volunteers from the local community to plant up to two hundred thousand trees as part of a pilot Natural Flood Management scheme.
The work at Gorpley is part of an initiative to help slow the flow of water during flood events like the devastating floods of Boxing Day 2015, which had a massive impact on the Calder Valley. The planting of two hundred thousand trees at Gorpley was originally due to take ten years, but as part of today’s announcement Yorkshire Water has also pledged to dramatically accelerate this scheme by aiming to plant all the trees over the next two years.
Yorkshire Water is one of the biggest landowners in Yorkshire and has been working with the White Rose Forest Partnership to map Yorkshire Water’s 28,000 hectares of land to assess where planting more trees will have the most impact on flood attenuation, carbon, recreation and wildlife.
Making the one million trees pledge, Richard Flint said: “As one of Yorkshire’s biggest landowners we need to make sure that we manage our land in a way that makes the most of the benefits that a healthy natural environment can provide.”
“Planting trees in the right place can reduce flood risk, mitigate carbon emissions and boost wildlife. Crucially we also want to see these new woodlands provide opportunities for local people to get out and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits that spending time in the natural environment can provide. Here at Gorpley we are working with Treesponsibility to involve local volunteers in the planting of the trees and I hope that the woodlands we create will provide a lasting legacy for communities across the region. We want to support the growth of the northern forest and hope our commitment today will encourage others to play their part.”
Earlier this month, the Government announced plans to support the Woodland Trust’s new ‘Northern Forest’ along the M62 corridor, from Liverpool to Hull. The announcement forms part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government’s ambitious vision to protect the environment for the next generation. Yorkshire Water has committed their support to the Northern Forest through the one million trees for Yorkshire initiative.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP welcomed Yorkshire Water’s announcement, commenting:
“I am hugely heartened to see that organisations such as Yorkshire Water are already coming forward to support the creation of a vast Northern Forest along the M62 corridor.
“Yorkshire Water’s ambitious plans to plant one million trees will not only manage flood risk and help wildlife thrive, but will create a healthier place to live for communities across the region and a greener future for the next generation.”