According to the agency, tree trunks can be used to help stabilise rivers, while conifers act as a filter to catch silt from the water. This reduces erosion and creates a habitat for fish by removing sediment, as well as providing a greener alternative to heavier engineering materials such as steel piling.

As part of the initiative, Christmas trees donated by the Forestry Commission and United Utilities have been used on the River Bollin and Derwen by the EA which also installed large spruce logs at the base of the eroding river banks before attaching the Christmas trees.

EA fisheries officer Mike Farrell, said: “We hope this innovative use of Christmas trees will have great potential for reducing flood risk. One in six properties in England and Wales is at risk of flooding so we are urging everyone to find out if they are at risk by visiting the Environment Agency website.”

Trees have been successfully used on the banks of the River Bollin in Cheshire, which are particularly sandy and easily eroded, along with a trial in the Rivers Derwent, Glenderamackin and Marron in Cumbria.

Carys Matthews

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie