- 1 update
Ever since Storm Desmond wreaked havoc across the region in 2015 there have been increasing calls for tree planting to be used as a way to reduce flood risks.
Campaigners have called for thousands of trees to be planted to help prevent a repeat of the flooding that devastated so many communities, but now scientists are questioning the effectiveness of natural flood defence schemes.
A Royal Society report published today says initiatives such as planting trees and creating wetlands are not "a silver bullet" for stopping flooding.
It warns that a lack of monitoring of existing schemes means their potential is unclear, and the hope they could stop the worst floods is not backed by evidence
Lead author Dr Simon Dadson, of the University of Oxford, told ITV Border:
He warned that some extreme flooding, such as that caused when Storm Desmond hit parts of the UK in December 2015, could be "simply overwhelming" in the future.
Cumbrian-based Professor Louise Heathwaite, of Lancaster University, also worked on the report and said that while there might be no evidence to show the measures work at scale, they have other potential benefits.
Peter Leeson, of the Woodlands Trust, said the charity has been involved in several schemes to plant thousands of trees including the planting of 126 hectares on Tebay Fell.
He admitted that tree planting was not a solution to flooding, but said it had to be “part of the mix”.
“The way the fells have been managed in recent years means they do not deal with water particularly well. There is a lack of complexity in the vegetation and the friction that vegetation creates and the ground has been compacted by animals.
“Tree planting will make a difference and have many other benefits such as providing shade for rivers which is important to control temperatures and protect fish,” he said.