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Letters: We need a tide of extra funding for flood defences

SIR - Suddenly, global warming is solved by planting trees. This has always been true and now our politicians say plant billions of trees to save the world.

One hundred years ago, the Forestry Commission was formed to plant five-million acres of trees for the defence of the nation. This organisation is now changed from one with that simple objective in England and only Scotland plants trees in a way that gets close to matching this new intention.

I hope the rash promises our politicians give just now about this subject are not similarly as far from the truth as all their other rash promises.

Closer to home, surely the fans of the Friends of the Forest (NFA) must see the idiocy of demanding that perfectly good conifers in our New Forest should be removed while thousands of acres have to be found to plant species just like them elsewhere.

However, the speed carbon is fixed in trees is simply determined by how fast the trees grow. Oak and beech trees are slow growers. For fixing carbon, we should be planting poplars, pines and even Douglas fir. This is especially true if we are to plant on poorer soils leaving better soils for productive farming.

More worrying is the current lack of interest in flood defences.

While every effort should be made to become carbon negative in everything we do, it should be obvious that however good we become it is highly unlikely that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will stop rising or even start to fall.

The people of USA, China, and India look like ensuring it will not be reduced any time soon. This means rising sea levels will go on rising and its effect happens on all our coasts simultaneously.

The funds for flood defences is inadequate now. Decisions will be needed on where inundations will have to be accepted and where sea walls can be afforded. This means large, large, budgets will be needed.

I am guessing we shall need to spend more on flood defences than we currently envisage spending on reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

A. Thompson, Emery Down

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