Today’s report on flooding from the Government's Environment and Rural Affairs committee is a major step forward in looking at how Natural Flood Management measures can be used.
Following several winters of devastating floods there has been recognition that hard engineering solutions cannot solve the problem alone and there is a growing body of evidence that new land management measures have a significant part to play. But the problem has been how to implement these options when there are so many conflicting rules, regulations and governance systems.
We are pleased to see that the Committee recognises that deforestation contributes to flooding and that tree planting is a key natural flood management solution. There are several small scale projects currently operating across England to implement natural flood management measures, the committee recognises the value of this work but would like to see it expanded.
We welcome the recommendation that catchment measures need to be adopted on a much wider scale and the proposed practical steps to implement them.
The existing Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP ) is cited within the report as one of the barriers to achieving integrated flood management measures, and the potential penalties for planting trees and the short timescales are obvious examples.
Leaving the EU requires us to develop our own land management policy; it is essential that we take the time to ensure that new proposals fully integrate the role of trees and woods within a strategically-planned sustainable land management process. The committee report is an important step towards building a multi-functional land policy for England.
Read more about our recent work on flooding