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Worcestershire’ community goes green to tackle flooding

Residents of Wolverley, Worcestershire, were joined by volunteers from across the country over the weekend to plant trees and hedgerows and improve air quality and flood defences.

The village has been hit with severe flooding four times in the last ten years so with extra support from the National Flood Forum, 10:10 Climate Action, the Postcode Local Trust, and Aviva Community Fund, the Wolverley Flood Forum decided to try tree planting as one way to protect their village.

Over two days, over eighty volunteers, including local families, the Wolverley Scout group, university students and environmentalists, planted two hundred trees and two thousand hedge whips in and around the village.

A recent report by the government’s climate change advisors finds that increased tree and hedgerow planting in the UK is essential if we are to keep temperature rise within relatively safe levels.

Following this, 10:10 Climate Action launched a campaign calling for the government to triple it’s current planting rates, and is supporting 3 other community tree planting projects like this one across the country.

Chris Rees of Wolverley Flood Forum said:  ‘Having been a flood victim with my family of two teenage girls and my wife Lynne plus dog and cats and chickens I remember the grief and stress a flood event can create. My elderly mother and other vulnerable village residents were also affected.

‘In many ways, we became responsible for helping them, both during the floods of 2007, and the big clear up after, plus 12 months of works to get straight,’ he added.

‘Wolverley is a beautiful place, like many places near to water. Here we are in a steep valley and if nature contrives to throw a deluge at you, your heart can miss a beat. We are hoping the natural flood management scheme will help to improve things and reduce the flood risk to the village and its residents. The opportunity we have will hopefully benefit us for many generations to come.

Ellie Roberts, campaign manager at 10:10 Climate Action said: ‘We know flooding will get worse with climate change – which is why it’s so great that  Wolverley is both adapting to the increased risk of flooding and getting to the root cause of the problem. That’s what’s so exciting, it’s a two-pronged attack.

We hope this project shows both communities and government that there is huge potential for reducing the impact of flooding while also tackling climate change at the same time.

Debbie Hall, Flood Officer of the National Flood Forum said: ‘Due to the fantastic community spirit within the area, many landowners were really keen to do their bit to help alleviate some of the flood risk in the village whilst also combating climate change by allowing the community to plant trees on their land.

The success of this project is undoubtedly due to strong drive of the residents of Wolverley and the understanding and commitment of the wider community.’

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