Farmers in Shropshire have planted nearly 4,000 native trees after Severn Trent gave out tree-packs to test appetite for planting on marginal land.
Farmers took an average of 118 trees each, to plant on non-agricultural or marginal land, to bring a multitude of benefits.
These include wildlife habitat creation and connection, reduced pesticide runoff and water quantity improvements through flood regulation, reduced runoff and soil erosion.
Severn Trent said it may roll out the scheme to more farmers across the region as part of its commitment to plant 1.3 million trees by 2030.
Dr Alex Cooke, Severn Trent senior catchment scientist, said there has already been a high level of take-up from farmers.
“The government’s incoming Environmental Land Management Scheme is set to reward farmers for providing environmental benefits, such as those tree planting can bring, and we want to help those in our catchments meet the criteria,” she said.
However, feedback surveys from the water firm's events showed that the majority of farmers do not fully understand the term ‘public goods’, which is a key foundation of ELMS.
Only 40 percent of those associated the term with improved biodiversity, rather than other benefits such as soil and water quality.
“Our future tree-pack events, starting this autumn, will provide a knowledge sharing opportunity to help give farmers the tools and information they need to fully embrace future changes,” Dr Cooke said.