REVISED plans for Kendal's multi-million pound flood defence scheme which will see more than 200 of the trees threatened by construction work spared have been backed by MP Tim Farron.

Flood action groups who support the scheme have also welcomed the new proposals, but campaigners battling to save the trees remain unhappy and claim most of the at risk trees in the centre of the town still face the axe.

The original plans included provision for up to 779 trees to be felled to facilitate the flood risk management scheme, sparking protests from some residents who insisted the loss of so many mature trees would seriously damage the character and appearance of central Kendal.

But the Environment Agency, who are piloting the scheme, have now submitted comprehensive revised plans in which 234 trees have been removed from the list of those lined up for removal.

The EA have also upped the replanting ratio, meaning they have now pledged to plant six new trees for every one removed as opposed to four in the previous proposal, and they have also promised semi-mature replacement trees will be planted in key locations.

The Agency also stressed that the total 545 trees still threatened is a maximum figure and could be reduced further.

“We listened to the community’s concerns and we revised our plans to significantly reduce the number of trees that will need to be replaced as part of this scheme," said EA flood and coastal risk manager for Cumbria Stewart Mounsey.

Mr Farron welcomed the revised plans and said he was delighted the EA had taken on board the concerns of local people.

"I know that as a town we are united in wanting to protect the thousands of our neighbours, friends and relatives whose homes and businesses were destroyed by the floods over three years ago," he said.

“I will never forget the devastation of that Sunday morning as I spoke to heartbroken and terrified families who had lost everything.

“I promised them that morning that I would do everything to protect them from that disaster happening again.

“I will keep that promise – it’s time that we all come together to back these plans to protect our town.”

Lis Dales of the Castle Street Community Flood Action Group said the organisation were pleased that the number of trees be removed has been significantly reduced and now hoped the scheme proceed without further delay.

"We have already waited far too long," she said.

"It would seem that a balance between the need to protect people’s lives and livelihoods and the wish to create an acceptable natural landscape has been achieved."

However, campaigners battling to save the trees remain unhappy and are particularly concerned about trees in the centre of town, particularly at Gooseholme.

"We have studied the new plans and we have noted some trees will be saved but most of those are to the north and south of the town and there are very few in the town centre," said Kate Willshaw.

"We are pleased that 200 trees are to be saved but that still leaves 500 trees including all those in the Aynam Road area."

And Dr Willshaw also expressed concern that visualisations of the completed work had not been included in the revised plans.

"The Environment Agency have not provided any montages on how the flood defences will look," she said.

"Plans such as these usually include visualisations and I have to say I'm very surprised there are none with these plans."

The plans can be viewed on South Lakeland District Council website using reference SL/2018/0925 via the SLDC planning portal or in person at the SLDC offices, and comments must be submitted by Sunday, March 3.

If approved at the SLDC planning control meeting at the end of March, work on phase one will begin this summer.