An upland site of moorland and woodland is being used as a pilot study site to test pioneering solutions to combat flooding.
More than 25 different flood prevention measures are being piloted, as well as new findings being gathered at the Woodland Trust-owned Smithills site, near Bolton.
In light of predicted changes in extreme weather patterns due to climate change, the research is bringing in experts from Liverpool University and is being carried out in partnership between the Woodland Trust, Mersey Forest and the Environment Agency as part of the Natural Course project.
The aim is to see the effectiveness of flood prevention measures on upland areas which are near big populations - and the research could influence flooding decisions UK wide.
The Smithills site is the ideal place to test such measures as it rises above the town of Bolton, where homes could become at risk during a large, rare flood event.
Tracey Garrett from the Woodland Trust said: “Smithills is a mixture of moorland, grassland and woodland. The site rises up to 456m above sea level and borders a big urban area. The research is all about discovering the effectiveness of flood prevention measures upland and how these can help alleviate the possibility of flooding in the lowlands.”
The scheme is the brainchild of Michael Norbury at Mersey Forest and David Brown at the Environment Agency and funding came as a result of a successful bid from DEFRA. The Mersey Forest formed a partnership with Liverpool University which has been involved in the research. The team began gathering data in January 2019 and will continue until at least March 2021.