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Planting trees 'could reduce risk of extra damage'
9:00am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in News
PLANTING more trees could reduce flooding in Abingdon, it has been claimed.
More than 100 people heard the suggestion after packing into the Preston Road Community Centre on Thursday for the annual meeting of the Ock Valley Flood Group.
The group was formed in 2010 in response to the devastating floods of 2007 when about 1,500 people in Abingdon were evacuated from their homes – more than half near the River Ock – after record rain.
Chairman Richard Webber introduced the meeting with a retrospective of how community spirit was alive despite a repeat scare in November.
Photographs and testimonies of volunteer work carried out over the last five years were placed in the room to show the good work of volunteers. The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Nicola Blackwood, and leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth, were present, and both admitted cash was thin on the ground to combat flooding.
Matthew Woodstock of the Forestry Commission said: “There is an old saying that a wood that pays is a wood that stays. Planting big trees will help soak up huge volumes of water and further reduce the risk of damage.
“If we can identify areas around Abingdon where woods can be planted and convince landowners to give up land, it can be done.
“It would give a massive reduction in water flow. If you go back 30 or so years there were so many more trees around here, but unfortunately many succumbed to Dutch elm disease.”