Researchers from the University of Liverpool will join the Woodland Trust and the Environment Agency to test new methods of flood prevention.
The UK has been hit with heavy rain over the past few weeks which has resulted in the flooding of over 1,000 homes and has brought devastation to many communities.
Predicted changes in extreme weather patterns due to climate change means that severe flooding is becoming more and more frequent.
In 2015, the Woodland Trust purchased a site in Smithhills with the aim of restoring the moorland by planting more trees.
The site is located upland of Bolton, making it an ideal place to test flood prevention methods that could prevent flooding in lowland areas such as Bolton, an area which is already at risk of flooding as extreme weather patterns continue to increase.
The researchers will test over 25 different flood prevention methods including leaky dams that will be placed in strategic locations, other measures include increased wetlands and scrapes, which are shallow excavations that hold water into the land.
According to the researchers, the methods that they have tested so far have had positive outcomes, with improved water management and benefits to local wildlife, such as increased sitings of the skimmer dragonfly.
Tracey Garrett, from the Woodland Trust, said: ‘Smithhills is a mixture of moorland land, grassland and woodland. The site rises up to 456m above sea level and borders a big urban area.
‘The research is all about discovering the effectiveness of flood prevention measures upland and how these can alleviate the possibility of flooding in the lowlands.’
In related news, earlier this year the Environment Agency launched a campaign encouraging individuals to be prepared for flooding, highlighting the risk that flood damage can have on mental health.
Research by the agency revealed that experiencing damage caused by extreme weather, such as storms or flooding can increase the chance of facing depression by 50%.
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