COUNCIL chiefs in Oldham are appealing to landowners to help the local authority prevent flooding by planting trees.

The "slow the flow" drive is part of a campaign to build natural defences against flooding.

The extra trees will help ensure less flooding of homes and property while also supporting and improving the environment and landscape, the authority says.

Tree roots act as type of sponge, soaking up water and helping prevent surface water run-off. Studies suggest that soils in wooded areas absorb 40 per cent more water than grassland.

The roots also bind the soil together and prevent erosion – earth and silt that could be washed into nearby drains causing blockages and increasing the flooding issues.

Last year, Oldham Council planted 4,000 trees and two hectares of new woodland with partner organisation City of Trees on the Snipe Clough site between Fitton Hill and Alt estates, part of Medlock Valley.

Soon the authority will have completed the planting of 2,000 trees as part of its Warwick Road scheme – on a plateau above Lord’s Brook a tributary of the Medlock.

Other schemes in the pipeline include an extra one hectare of woodland (2,000-2,500 trees) on Oldham Edge, and another hectare of woodland (2,000-2,500) trees in the Irk Valley.

Along with the charity City of Trees, the council is proposing to create three acres of new woodland – in the region of 6,000 trees – at Crompton Moor. Staff from Manchester Metropolitan University will monitor the scheme.

Aside from woodland creation nearly 900 trees have been put in streets and open spaces in the last two years as they are very effective at capturing and reducing harmful emissions from vehicles and industry.

Now the council wants landowners to join in and plant trees on their land.

Funding is available to pay for the trees and help will be provided via the council and our partner agencies.

Cllr Barbara Brownridge, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and co-operatives, said: “It’s proven that trees can have many benefits for the borough, including to help filter pollution and reduce flooding – while also improving the landscape.

“So it is extremely important that we understand their true value to the environment.

“Over the last few years we’ve planted thousands of trees across Oldham as part of our flood risk management strategy.

“If you own land and think you can help then please get in touch with us. If everyone does their bit then we’ll all benefit.”