The water company made the pledge today (31 January) at the Gorpley reservoir near Todmorden. The company is already working at that location with local volunteers to plant up to 200,000 trees for a pilot of the Natural Flood Management scheme.

Yorkshire Water is one of the biggest landowners in Yorkshire and worked with the White Rose Forest Partnership to map it’s 28,000 hectares of land. Trees will be planted to help slow the flow of water during potential flood events and mapping also considers locations where more trees will have the biggest impact on carbon offsetting, wildlife and recreation.

“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,” Yorkshire Water’s chief executive Richard Flint said.

“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. We want to support the growth of the northern forest and hope our commitment today will encourage others to play their part.”

The planting scheme at Gorpley was meant to take 10 years to complete, but Yorkshire Water has since pledged to accelerate the scheme so that it is completed in the next two years.

Northern Forest

Earlier this month, the Government announced plans to support the Woodland Trust’s and community forests Northern Forest project. Forming part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Northern Forest will comprise more than 50 million trees over 25 years across the M62 corridor between Liverpool and Hull.

Yorkshire Water’s pledge to plant one million trees across its owned and leased land signifies the company’s support for the Government-led scheme.

Commenting on the announcement, Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: “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.”

Matt Mace

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