Farmers and landowners will help spearhead a new project which will see extensive new woodlands planted along England's riverbanks.
Over 3,000 hectares of trees will be planted with the backing from leading environmental organisations, the government announced on Saturday (25 September).
The ‘Woodlands for Water’ project will create woodland in six river catchment areas from Devon to Cumbria by March 2025.
Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for funding through the England Woodland Creation Offer grant.
The grant provides financial incentives for land managers to plant and manage trees, including along rivers and watercourses.
Planting trees on and around riverbanks, or allowing them to grow naturally, can help to improve water quality by blocking the runoff of pollutants into rivers.
Trees can also manage flood risks by slowing the flow of water and boost biodiversity by creating new habitat corridors.
The project will be operating nationally on the National Trust estate and in six catchment areas across the country.
The National Trust director of land and nature, Harry Bowell said: “We fully recognise the value of trees to our river corridors in helping to slow flood waters, soak up carbon and keep rivers cool in the face of rising temperatures.
"This work will enhance the projects we already have underway where our primary focus has been the conservation and health of the river channel itself.
"This partnership and funding will allow us to look at the wider river corridor to further enhance this work.”
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said the announcement was a 'real boost' for the rural sector.
CLA President Mark Bridgeman said: “It’s definitely worth private landowners making the most of the grants through the England Woodland Creation Offer as they cover the costs of planting, provide flexibility on what you can plant and where and there are financial incentives for delivering public benefits.
"It’s schemes like this which are key to achieving biodiversity recovery.”