Londoners to plant 80,000 trees across the city this weekend

A record 80,000 new trees will be planted across London by 15,000 volunteers in the city’s biggest ever mass tree-planting weekend.

The “plant-a-thon”, which takes place on 1 and 2 December, will include 30 events across the capital as part of a scheme by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to help London become the world’s first National Park City.

The Mayor has worked with partners to fund 75,000 trees for Londoners, schools, and community groups to plant this weekend – everywhere from private gardens, to community spaces, parks and underused green spaces.

A further 5,000 extra trees will also be available to Londoners who want to plant them in their garden – they will be available to pick up at 10 locations this week (on a first-come first-served basis) including Morden Hall Park and Osterley Park. The trees include popular garden species such as field maple, bird cherry, and rowan that attract wildlife and are easy to plant.

Among the events taking place as part of the “plant-a-thon”, which marks the end of National Tree Week, include the planting of 15,000 trees in one day to create a new community urban woodland at Forest Road Recreation Ground in Redbridge.

Around 500 volunteers with Trees for Cities will contribute to the planting in Redbridge on 1 December. The new trees will attract bees, birds and butterflies, and Londoners will be able to forage the fruits and nuts that grow there.

Kate Sheldon, Deputy Chief Executive, Trees for Cities, said: “Trees for Cities is delighted to be the lead delivery partner for the Mayor of London’s first mass tree planting weekend. We welcome all Londoners to our fun, family-friendly planting days, giving everyone the opportunity to plant a tree. Together we will plant 25,000 trees in north, south, east and west London, creating beautiful urban woodland habitat for people to enjoy walking, foraging and spotting wildlife in years to come.”

London has more than 8 million trees, covering around 21 per cent of the capital’s land area. The Mayor has committed to increasing tree canopy cover by 10 per cent by 2050.

As well as the mass tree planting, the London Mayor has funded new mapping of London’s tree canopy cover. According to the mapping, the ward with the highest tree cover in London is Hampstead Town in Camden – at just over 58%.

In total, 14 boroughs have more than 21% tree cover. Although Islington has the highest population per square kilometre, tree cover across the borough averages 22%, showing that very urban areas can also be leafy.

The new map, which uses high-resolution aerial imagery of the whole of London to analyse tree cover using latest computing techniques, allows Londoners to put in their post codes and look at how leafy their neighbourhoods are.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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