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An innovative use for Christmas trees - managing flood risk and erosion

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An image of Mike Farrell from the Environment Agency speaking on BBC Breakfast wearing a red vest against a backdrop of water
Photo credit: BBC

BBC Breakfast ran a story this morning about an innovative Environment Agency scheme in Cumbria which is making use of discarded Christmas trees to help prevent flooding and erosion.

Mike Farrell, who works as an Environment Officer in Cumbria, explained how the Environment Agency is strategically placing used Christmas trees along river banks in the area to manage the flow of the river. The report highlights how up to 7 million Christmas trees a year tend to end up in landfill sites. However, through projects like this, the Environment Agency is finding new ways to reduce the number of Christmas trees that end up in landfill.

Alongside traditional engineering, the Environment Agency often uses Natural Flood Management techniques as a cost-effective and sustainable way to manage flooding whilst also creating new habitat for wildlife. Over recent years the Environment Agency have employed approximately 30 ‘green’ flood engineering projects in Cumbria which have been effective in helping to alleviate flooding in both 2009 and 2015.

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