Trees are vital to life for several reasons. Trees provide food and shelter for wildlife, store carbon dioxide, reduce the temperature, protect us from solar radiation, reduce noise and prevent soil erosion and flooding.

They also give humans positive health benefits and boost mental health, which can benefit both you and your employees. The relatively new, but nevertheless extremely popular, practice of “forest bathing”, is a way of reconnecting with nature that has psychological and physiological benefits.

Trees improve water quality

Climate scientists have discovered that trees are an essential element when it comes to clean drinking water. In an Ethiopian study on the impact of forest and non-forest lands on water quality, researchers concluded that forest cover “contributes significantly to reduction of treatment chemical costs as compared to non‐forest cover… protecting forest enhances water quality and reduces the chemical costs incurred to treat potable water”.

Trees help prevent flooding

Deforestation also has adverse effects on flooding. Trees not only remove water from the soil, they also divert it downwards through the channels the roots create, otherwise it would simply flow over the surface of the ground. The presence of trees means less water flows into the drainage system, easing the pressure and reducing flood risk.

A study by the University of Plymouth has concluded that within 15 years of being planted, trees can have a marked impact on reducing the likelihood of flooding. The Forestry Commission and Environment Agency have begun a pioneering Woodlands for Water scheme in Yorkshire and the North East. Landowners and farmers are being offered advice and funding to enable them to plant woodlands where they will most effectively help prevent flooding. In a different project to help the flood-hit area of Calder Valley, an area that has been hit by devastating floods over the past six years, 60 hectares of land is being planted with trees to help protect the worst hit towns of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

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Trees help tackle climate change

At the end of 2019, the UK government launched a £50m Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme. The fund will pay farmers and landowners to plant woodlands which will play an important role in the UK government’s ambitions to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

The importance of trees has long been recognised by eco-groups and individuals. Alarmed at the rate at which the world’s forests are being razed to the ground, organisations and individuals around the world have worked hard to redress the balance. One unusual but very inspiring example is Jadav Peyeng from a rural area of Northern India who, since 1979 has single-handedly planted trees in what used to be a desert but now, thanks to his efforts, is a 550 hectare woodland.

Over the past few years, charities, groups and NGOs around the world have created tree-planting schemes in an effort to slow down climate change. Planting trees has even become part of big business strategies - the search engine ecosia.org uses the profit generated from online searches to plant trees. With organisations such as the Tree Council, the Woodland Trust and the International Tree Foundation, as well as smaller groups such as Tree Sisters and Time4Trees, all raising environmental awareness, perhaps we should designate 2021 as the Year of the Tree.

The fact is that your business premises are at risk of flooding from two sources – the environment and leaks. When looking at flood prevention for your business, you therefore need to think about external factors as well as maintenance and infrastructure issues. Even a minor flood will have a big impact on your business. You could lose stock and hardware, and there may be structural damage that needs repairing which could close your business while the work is carried out. This will cost you money directly, but also indirectly in terms of loss of custom as well as loss of confidence in your brand. Our experts can help you find and fix leaks, and repair or install new supply pipes and valves. Here’s some practical advice on flood prevention that your business can act on today.