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Free trees to help improve our waterways

PUBLISHED: 09:05 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:45 27 June 2020

Trees along the Well Creek at Outwell, near Downham Market  Picture. Chris Bishop

Trees along the Well Creek at Outwell, near Downham Market Picture. Chris Bishop

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Almost 1,000 trees have been planted along rivers in west Norfolk and the Fens.

Now the Environment Agency is offering free saplings and hedgerow plants to fishery owners, to boost habitat improvements.

Trees sometimes have to be removed to make banks accessible for flood maintenance.

Engineers need to be able to inspect banks to ensure they are sound, to check for flood risk.

The EA’s flood management team has provided extra funding to replace any greenery that has been removed and pay for additional shrubs and trees.

So far this year EA officers have helped plant almost 1,000 trees across the Great Ouse and Fenland catchment and would like help from angling clubs to install even more.

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EA fisheries officer Alex Malcolm said: “We know the importance of the interaction of trees and water bodies as they provide cover and shelter from predation, spawning substance and food sources.

“Additionally when branches fall they can provide fantastic opportunities for cover and provide additional spawning habitat by scouring gravels in high flows.”

The agency is looking for fishery owners who would be interested in planting trees on their sections of rivers or around lakes and would be prepared to take on the maintenance of the trees in the future.

“We do have limited funds so we may not be able to help everyone this time around but hope to build a database of suitable fisheries that we can help in the future,” said Mr Malcolm.

“We will supply the trees or hedge plants free of charge, which will be UK grown native species, along with the appropriate planting materials such as wooden stakes and rabbit guards.

“We would expect the angling club or fishery to arrange the trees to be planted in areas agreed with our team and any associated permits and permissions where needed.”

To apply for trees, e-mail angcentral.frb@environment-agency.gov.uk with the name and location of the fishery and why it would be suitable for tree planting.


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