Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ in the Lake District

National Trust farmland acquisition is a great chance to introduce natural flood management methods, Rewilding Britain director tells BBC

River Liza Ennerdale high res c National Trust Images Joe Cornish

Our director Helen Meech has been on BBC Radio Cumbria saying how the National Trust’s recent purchase of a tract of land in the Lake District represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” when it comes to natural flood management.

Reforesting just five per cent of the upland landscape could reduce flood peaks by up to 30 per cent,” she said.

The Trust bought over 300 acres of land at Thorneythwaite Farm in Borrowdale at the end of August. The move, however, has angered farmers concerned about the future of upland farming in the Lake District. They say that the price bid by the NT made it impossible for them to counter-offer.

From Rewilding Britain’s perspective, the NT’s willingness to consider natural management methods to slow the River Derwent’s flow, thus reducing flood risk downstream in places such as Cockermouth and Keswick, can only be good news. Both towns were hit hard by the Cumbrian floods of 2009.

The interview starts at the end of minute 35 on the BBC Radio Cumbria website. It will remain online throughout September.

Report: How rewilding reduces flood risk

On 8 September, we publish an in-depth report on how natural flood management repairs and revitalises our broken ecosystems, while limiting the effects of flooding on long-suffering communities. It will look at a wide range of examples – including case studies in Cumbria – and also consider findings from academic sources and NGOs. 

Our report will be released ahead of the 9 September deadline set by the Environmental Audit Committee for written submissions to its inquiry into the Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum. Inquiry issues include the future of funding for biodiversity and agri-environment schemes and the role that managed rewilding can play in conservation and restoration.