VOLUNTEERS are planting thousands of trees on the former Riddlesden golf course to combat flooding.

Organisations behind the project say the planting on what is now the Low Wood Scout Centre will reduce the frequency and intensity of flood incidents in the valley below.

Environmental charity Trees for Cities teamed up with Bradford Environmental Action Trust (BEAT) for the project, with funding from energy firm npower who also provided employees to start planting the second phase of trees.

The first phase last year saw 28,000 trees planted on the site, and this year the remaining 7,464 trees being planted with help from volunteers and community groups.

The site is owned by Bradford Council, with site management devolved to Keighley Scouting Association.

The planting will create several new blocks of woodland as part of a larger plan for the whole site, including open spaces for camping, trails and activities such as archery, and improved public access.

David Elliott, Trees for Cities’ chief executive said. “I hope this project will act as a flagship for woodland creation in the region and help alleviate flooding, which may only become a bigger issue throughout the country due to the climate crisis.”

Trees for Cities said planting the hillside would help with rainwater retention and stormwater management, which in turn would alleviate flooding in the wider area.

It said the Aire Valley was a priority flood management target area identified by DEFRA/Environment Agency as highly important for tree establishment to reduce the frequency and intensity of flood incidents.

The Riddlesden project contributes to national and regional targets including Flood Alleviation Phase 2 Project.

Npower’s Laura McNamee Hsinchu was proud to return with her team of volunteers, adding: “We’re celebrating National Tree Week by helping restore such a stunning location for public use and to help reduce the risk of flooding - which we’ve already seen impact many areas of Yorkshire this year.

“We’re helping to plant a variety of trees in many different cities across the UK so residents of urban areas have the opportunity to reap their benefits

“Together with Trees for Cities, we have now extended our committed to plant a tree for every customer who signs up or renews their fixed tariff until the end of this year, having already planted over 140,000 trees throughout the UK, with 100,000 of these in Yorkshire alone.”

Alan Thornton, from BEAT, said the climate emergency meant an urgent need to increase the amount of trees and woodland in the Keighley area. He added: “We are looking for more help after Christmas from local people.”