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Trent Rivers Trust launches new guide supporting landowners on schemes reducing flood risk

31.1.24 The recent announcement of Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, at the Oxford Farming conference offers promising opportunities for farmers considering natural flood management (NFM) on their land. Many of the incentives indicate larger payments that promote water quality and freshwater habitat improvements. The move could prove a vital step towards the upscaling of nature-based solutions to tackle the growing flood risk issues in the UK.

The update comes as research by Defra shows that funding as well as a lack of understanding of natural flood management as a concept, means that a third of landowners are reluctant to commit to introducing natural flood management interventions on their land.

As a result, and to help farmers understand better what is involved, Trent Rivers Trust is launching a new guide explaining natural flood management and the benefits it can bring. Further technical advice on design and available funding is available via its dedicated team of natural flood management specialists.

The natural flood management toolkit explains how small changes across a catchment area can temporarily hold or delay the flow of water. The guide includes detailed explanations for more than 20 types of NFM interventions, it drills down into the practicalities, creation, impact and maintenance involved in installing various measures on farmland. Many of the interventions described promote good practise for sustainable water management, including options to mitigate for extreme flooding and dry weather linked to climate change.

By providing this information in an easy-to-use guide, Trent Rivers Trust hopes to break down barriers and encourage landowners to think about the advantages natural flood management offer to their farm business.

Ruth Needham, Head of Landscapes and Partnerships at Trent Rivers Trust said

We have thought long and hard about what kind of advice would be useful for someone thinking about how to manage the impact of extreme rainfall on their farm business.

We felt it important to include advice on the different options available and what could suit different kinds of farmers across the Midlands. The guide includes options on land management well as capital works. As a result, we have produced a document that focuses on typical upland, lowland, mixed farms and arable landscapes with quite a lot of visual detail. It also explains how natural flood management can benefit communities further downstream.

We wanted to use the guide to emphasise that well designed and located natural flood management can have very little impact on the day-to-day running of a farm business. This is a big misconception we want to address.

The guide comes as recent flooding has had a significant impact on communities in the Trent catchment. Storm Henk flooded more than 2,000 homes nationwide, disrupted businesses, destroyed crops and killed livestock.

As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, harnessing the power of nature-based solutions needs to play a key role in a climate-resilient future. Trent Rivers Trust is currently working on natural flood management projects in the Soar catchment, as part of a partnership with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Aviva.

Dave Tickner, Chief Adviser – Rivers at WWF-UK said:

WWF and our partner Aviva share the view we can’t tackle the climate crisis and keep global warming within 1.5 degrees if we don’t act now to ensure a resilient and thriving natural world. That’s why we’re working together to support NFM projects like in the Soar catchment, that will deliver benefits for people, nature and climate. This involves working collectively on the ground with local delivery partners such as Trent Rivers Trust, landowners and communities, as well as developing thought leadership and advocacy to influence wider policy and regulatory change.

Trent Rivers Trust are experts in natural flood management and understand the needs of farmers. The Trust has been delivering schemes since the concept was first piloted by Defra in 2016 and has delivered more than 20 natural flood management schemes across the Midlands. To help promote natural flood management locally, the charity’s conservation and land management advisors are currently offering consultations on feasibility and funding support to landowners across the Trent region.

To take advantage of this, contact vanessa@trentriverstrust.org

ENDS

Trent Rivers Trust

We are Trent Rivers Trust, a local environmental charity dedicated to protecting rivers and waterways in the Trent region. We work with partners and communities across the Midlands on projects that restore, revive and protect the wonderful rivers, brooks and streams in the Trent catchment.

We have more than 20 years’ experience in river restoration and a skilled team of experts including landscape engineers, conservationists and ecologists who work together to find innovative, natural solutions to the problems facing rivers.

We have delivered more than 250 projects in the Trent catchment, reconnecting and restoring waterways and working with farmers, businesses and landowners on river-friendly practices, as well as educating thousands of people on the benefits of healthy rivers for communities and wildlife.

As part of the national Rivers Trust movement, we believe that our rivers are a precious resource and by working together, we can protect and restore them for everyone’s benefit.

Aviva 

As the UK’s leading insurer, Aviva is already a climate leader in the finance sector. In 2021, Aviva became the first major insurer worldwide to target net zero carbon by 2040. Together we have the reach and influence to help reimagine and start to reorient the way financial services function in a sustainable economy.

About WWF 

WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Our supporters – more than five million of them – are helping us to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change. We’re fighting to ensure a world with thriving habitats and species, and to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources. 

About WWF and Aviva partnership

In 2021, WWF and Aviva joined forces to call for a transformational shift in the UK financial sector to help slow climate change – a shift without which the UK will not be able to meet its net zero target. Together, WWF and Aviva are also working with communities in the UK and Canada to build more climate resilient ecosystems to help reduce the risk of climate-related natural disasters and create wider benefits for people. With this three-year partnership, Aviva is WWF’s lead partner in the insurance and pension sector. To find out more visit Aviva and WWF – Aviva plc

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