Skip to main content

Sustainable riverbank protection

You can protect your river banks from erosion sustainably and cost-effectively using trees or parts of trees to absorb and deflect the force of the river. This page provides information about the different techniques available. 

Working in partnership with the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, individual farmers and other land managers, we have set up a network of demonstration sites across the country. You can see videos of some of the sites using the links below. 

Riverbank protection videos

Using brash: River Don at Ardhuncart

Using brash, root wads and willow planting: Milton Burn at Turnberry

Using large trees and willow planting:

  • Liddel Water at Newcastleton
  • Leader Water at Lauder

Using willow spiling, root wads and willow planting: Ruthven Water near Perth

More information on these techniques is available in the guidance document Reducing river bank erosion: A best practice guide for farmers and other land managers.

You do not need to apply for a licence for this work as long as you can comply with the following General Binding Rules (GBRs), available in detail in the CAR Practical Guide

(a) GBR 25 for the placement of the trees or parts of trees;
(b) GBR 9 if operating a vehicle or other machinery in the river to carry out the bank work.

If you are interested in attending future site visits please email SEPA at using our online contact form.