New woodland for defence training and flood defences

Soldiers are set to get improved training facilities and local residents should see the risk of flooding reduced – thanks to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) delivering 120 hectares of new woodland at a Yorkshire training area.

Working with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust to provide the woodland at the Catterick Training Area will allow our Armed Forces to develop skills in using wooded areas as cover in battle. It also meets best practice guidelines set out by the Forestry Commission and Defra, and is part of Woodlands for Water (WfW) - an initiative to enhance England’s water environment.

WfW was established by the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency to improve the quality of rivers and help against the causes of downstream flooding in England. Planting on steep hillsides at Catterick reduces ground water flowing into the River Swale. In the last few years, large areas within the North-East have been subject to flooding. It is hoped that the new woodland will help reduce the effects of flooding in the area.

DIO Head Forester for the North-East, Jeremy Kalkowski said:

“DIO supports our Armed Forces by providing what they need to live, work and train. Our cross-organisational working approach means that not only are we providing an improved facility for military training, but there are huge benefits to the people and communities around Catterick, as well as for the biodiversity and environment of the area.”

Tenant farmers on Ministry of Defence (MOD) land at Catterick were able to apply for the Forestry Commission’s grant scheme, which covered their costs for planting 80 hectares of trees.

Jeremy Dick, the local Woodland Officer for the Forestry Commission commented:

“The Commission established the Woodlands for Water initiative with the Environment Agency in 2010. It’s great to see this project come to fruition where the scale and location of planting means reducing the flood risk. 120 hectares is a really good contribution towards our national woodland creation target.”

The remaining 40 hectares are also being funded by WfW and the Woodland Trust. This means that no costs were incurred on the Defence budget for the training ground.

Woodland Trust Partnership Manager Helen Chesshire added:

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with DIO and create new native woodland across the MOD estate for both the benefit of the environment and the Armed Forces. In addition to the planting at Catterick to date our partnership has created over 380 hectares of new native woodland at six other MOD sites, with a further 100 hectares to be planted in the autumn at three more sites."  

The 120 hectare planting at Catterick is part of a wider woodland creation drive on the MOD’s training estate. Wherever possible, DIO seeks to use public funds to develop projects that meet the needs of multiple organisations, departments and local communities.


Further information:

Press enquiries to Tony Moran, Senior Communications Officer 0121 311 3879 or email

DIO website:

Twitter: @mod_dio

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Notes to Editors

1. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing what the men and women who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.

2. DIO is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.

3. Our work includes supporting operational units by providing and improving single living and service family accommodation; training areas and historic military sites. DIO actively manages these to ensure the needs of Defence are met, value for money is achieved, and its heritage is protected, and to achieve its environmental goals.

4. Woodlands for Water is a Forestry Commission and Environment Agency initiative that aims to help landowners access grants and, with the assistance of forestry experts, plan new woodland schemes that will help mitigate downstream flooding and improve the quality of rivers across Yorkshire and the North-East of England.

5. The Forestry Commission is Britain’s largest land manager. They are custodian of 900,000 hectares of land including some of our best loved and most spectacular landscapes. Two-thirds of the estate lies within National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

6. The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. It has over 400,000 supporters. The Trust has three key aims:

           plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife

          protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable

                  iii.restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 woods in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its woods is free. The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in England; (No 294344). A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 1982873. Registered Office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. The Woodland Trust logo is a registered trademark.

7. Picture caption - Please credit ‘Crown copyright/MOD 2014’: 120 hectares of new woodland planted at the at the MOD’s Catterick Training Area.