October 8, 2008

National Trust Want Flood Land Protection

A MORE joined-up approach to managing water is urgently needed in the face of the growing risk of flooding and drought, the National Trust warned yesterday.

A report from the trust, which owns 650,000 acres in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, said land managers should be paid to manage land to protect against floods, deliver clean water supplies, help wildlife and store carbon - and not just to grow food.

The trust's director general Fiona Reynolds said the country was living with a legacy of mismanagement of its water and more frequent and intense flooding events were expected,.

Dame Fiona said there was also a need to conserve water in the face of shortages and that water meters in every home were "absolutely the logical way to go", with some social tariffs to protect the more vulnerable customers.

Almost half (43%) of the land in Wales and England drains into or to the borders of National Trust land, making the conservation and heritage organisation a large part of the water system, she said.

The report, From Source To Sea, said 120 National Trust sites, 10% of the total, are already at a high risk of flash floods and by 2050 more than a third could be affected by drought and water shortages.

Among the schemes the National Trust has put into place are the restoration of upland peat areas, such as the Ysbyty Estate in North Wales, to prevent the erosion of fragile soils.

Restoring the peat bog will stop the release of carbon from the soil and improve the quality of water which is used for drinking downstream without expensive treatment works.

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