A charity dedicated to protecting rivers in Lancashire is to receive a share of £25 million from the Government to help slow river flows across its catchment.

The Ribble Rivers Trust, which covers the Rivers Ribble, Darwen, Hodder, and Calder, is receiving funding for projects to help tackle flooding.

The trust’s projects focus on ponds, sunken channels known as swales, and leaky barriers across streams to slow and store floodwater in the upper reaches of the River Darwen catchment, while greenery and new woodland will catch water as it runs downhill to reduce runoff and store more water in the soil.

The Environment Agency (EA) says said 40 projects across England are receiving grants ranging from £40,000 to £2.1m for natural flood management, including schemes run by nature charities, community groups, and local authorities.

The successful schemes have been chosen from a wide range of applications for using nature and habitat creation to help tackle flooding.

EA chair, Alan Lovell, said: “It’s exciting to see such appetite for natural flood management, recognising its value in providing not only benefits against flood risk but also wider support for nature recovery.

“I’m proud of the role the Environment Agency is playing in leading this pioneering programme.

“We look forward to working with partners to help natural techniques become a mainstream option for flood protection and help create more climate-resilient places.”

Floods minister Robbie Moore said: “It’s vital we use nature as an ally in our work to become ready for climate change, helping to restore the natural environment and protecting homes and businesses.

“That’s why we’re funding the biggest-ever investment in natural flood management – and it’s great to see the huge demand.”

Mr Moore said the schemes would complement the “traditional bricks-and-mortar” flood defences, as part of the Government’s £5.2bn flood programme.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Rivers Trust, said: “We warmly welcome this significant fund which will not only protect people and businesses from flooding, but will also make more space for nature, purify pollutants, recharge groundwater aquifers, lock up organic carbon, and create amenity value for communities.”

It was recently announced that the Ribble Rivers Trust was behind an ambitious push to plant more than 500,000 trees across Lancashire.

The trust’s supporters often create woodlands as part of their environmental improvements across the waterway and its tributaries, but until now the trust had imported its specimens.

Now, trust leaders are establishing community tree nurseries, with the latest being at Grange Community Gardens in Ribbleton, near Preston.

Donations of pots, tools, and old growing equipment have also been handed over by Newlands Nursery in Chatburn to develop the cause.