• £6m for 11 parks delivers 130 hectares of improvements
• More than 100,000 trees planted through RE:LEAF including over 10,000 street trees
• Call for more Team London volunteers to plant and protect thousands more trees
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has confirmed the delivery of tens of thousands more trees and 11 spruced-up parks as promised to Londoners in his manifesto. He also called for community-minded Londoners to sign up to his Team London tree-planting squad to plant even more trees.
Boris was in Hillingdon planting his 10,000th street tree - an Acer Campestre commonly known as a Field Maple - marking the completion of a pledge to deliver trees to areas across the capital that need them most. Efficiency savings were ploughed into the scheme, including money that had been spent on The Londoner freesheet, enabling 29 boroughs to benefit.
Over his term the Mayor has helped fund the planting of over 70,000 trees in the capital - including 10,000 street trees. This increases to 100,000 taking into account tree planting undertaken through RE:LEAF, a partnership of organisations brought together by the Mayor since early 2010, including 30,000 trees to create new woodlands and nearly 4,000 trees on the TfL road network.
Team London, the Mayor's volunteer programme, is also recruiting 4,000 tree loving Londoners to take part in a range of tree planting and protection activities, with a goal to plant 9,000 trees this year. To mark their achievements, the Mayor today awarded seven volunteers with Team London Star awards to recognise their efforts in going the extra mile to increase tree numbers.
The Mayor, said: 'I promised to invest millions from efficiencies to deliver more trees and better parks and that is exactly what has been achieved. Over the last four years, Londoners have benefited from tens of thousands of fantastic new trees and 11 favourite parks have been spruced up. This work is part of my vision to bring the best of village life into our busy city. I pay tribute to those community spirited volunteers who have played their part in this and urge like minded others to join up to Team London to do the same.'
The Mayor's goal is for London to increase tree cover from 20 per cent to 25 per cent by 2025. This will ensure there is always at least one tree for every Londoner, allowing for expected population growth. To achieve this ambition it is estimated that an additional one million trees will need to be planted by this time. The Mayor wants businesses, boroughs, local communities and individuals to redouble efforts to plant more trees with the aim to deliver 400,000 over the next four years. He is already working with a range of partners through RE:LEAF and Team London to help deliver this and tree planting will also be supported by the Mayor's own environment projects as well as his Great Outdoors programme to improve public realm, the Outer London Fund and through Transport for London.
When elected the Mayor pledged £6million to improve parks across the capital. In an innovative approach, Londoners were asked by the Mayor to vote for which ten local parks should win a £400,000 share of the cash. These park improvements have now been delivered or underway. In addition, Burgess Park in Southwark received £2million to undertake a major refurbishment. In total this is delivering improvements to 130 hectares of green space, equivalent to 200 football pitches. The funding has paid for new playgrounds, seating, lighting, litter bins, signage, sporting facilities and better landscaping. Thanks to this financial boost, many of the parks have now been able to embark on more ambitious makeovers having secured additional money totalling £24million.
Trees and parks provide a range of benefits to the city. In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighbourhood providing tranquil havens, they offer a range of benefits such as attracting wildlife, providing shade, helping to improve local air quality and reducing flood risk. For example, according to the Woodland Trust, a tree-lined street can experience only 10-15 per cent of the dust of a street without trees, as well as being 6-10C cooler. Tree cover also plays an important role in adapting cities to prepare for predicted climate change.
The Woodland Trust, a RE:LEAF partner, is currently calling on Londoners to help their Jubilee garden campaign, seeking to plant six million trees in the UK over the next year. For more information visit: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/jubilee-woods/about/Pages/our-aims.aspx
Notes to editors:
- RE:LEAF is a partnership headed by the Mayor of London to create opportunities for Londoners, businesses and local communities to help protect London’s trees and increase London’s trees cover. The key partners are The Forestry Commission; The Woodland Trust; Trees for Cities; The Tree Council; London Tree Officers Association; London Wildlife Trust and the BTCV.
- Team London is the Mayor’s ambitious programme to mobilise an army of volunteers across the capital to improve life in London through programmes that will reduce crime, increase opportunities for youth and improve quality of life by cleaning and greening London and building stronger neighbourhoods. Since 2008, the Mayor's programmes have galvanised tens of thousands of Londoners into action and Team London is now seeking to encourage an additional 10,000 volunteers by May 2012. Please visit www.london.gov.uk/teamlondon for more information, to find and post volunteering opportunities, and to nominate your volunteering heroes for a certificate of recognition from the Mayor.
- Through Team London, the Reuben Foundation has provided £250,000 to support the Londoners Love Trees project. More than 4,000 volunteers are planting over 9,000 new trees this year. Projects include: Volunteer tree planting events; 60 community-based tree champions who will be trained to deliver workshops to increase knowledge and understanding of urban trees; Creating five new tree warden networks to look after the capital’s trees; Establishing five community tree nurseries; Providing 30 long term unemployed with accredited training in tree related workl Providing 50 internships with partner organisations. The project is led by Trees for Cities and the Tree Council and supported by the London Tree Officers Association and Barcham Trees.
- The Team London Stars presented awards by the Mayor, are:
Jane Plant - A longstanding and very committed tree warden in Merton and a volunteer co-ordinator of the Merton Tree Warden Network which is attracting new recruits through Team London, which is hosting a training event this weekend for tree wardens in south London.
Tim Kavanagh - A new recruit to the Team London tree warden network, who id already enthusiastically taking part in training events is planting fruit trees in his community (Hackney) in his new capacity.
Catherine Armstrong - A new tree warden in the Team London Wandsworth network.
Amy Nelson - Amy is Trees for Cities’ first Tree Champion, a title given to volunteers who go that extra mile for the charity. She has participated in the Urban Tree Surveying - completing twice as many surveys as other volunteers, attended training with Trees for Cities and Barchams Trees to improve her tree knowledge, helped out with community consultation and has planted whips at a planting event at Goodmayes Park, Redbridge, where she did an AQA (what is this?) in tree planting.
Saurabh Saraswat - Saurabh has been part of the Team London tree planting programme since last November and has contributed 17 hours to tree planting at Goodmayes Park and Clapham Common. He is an enthusiastic volunteer who has brought fun and food to planting days.
Paul McKay - Paul has been volunteering with Trees for Cities through their Team London tree planting programme since last November and during this time has remained an enthusiastic and motivated volunteer. He has helped with woodland clearance at our ELHAP (what is this?) project site in Redbridge and has also attended two planting days at Goodmayes Park, Redbridge; at both of these events Paul has contributed to the lively atmosphere of the day. At Goodmayes he started his AQA in Planting a Bare Root Sapling. Paul is now involved with our Regional Development Team planting at a project site in Nottingham.
Daniel Shattock - Dan has participated in the Trees for Cities' Urban Tree Surveying opportunity completing twice as many surveys as other volunteers, attended training with Trees for Cities and Barchams Trees to improve his tree knowledge. Dan also liased with local authority tree officers in the boroughs tree work in to find out their maintenance policy, which has provided valuable data to consider when he analyses the data from all volunteers.
- The Help a London Park scheme was developed as part of the Mayor’s initiative to clean up and improve London’s rundown green spaces. This scheme is improving eleven parks across London, ten of which were voted for by the public. A vote was held in winter 2008/09 and Londoners were invited to choose from forty seven deserving parks, divided into five London sub-regions. Two parks from each sub-region were chosen to each receive £400,000 from the Mayor. Alongside the ten winning parks, the Mayor awarded a grant of £2million to Burgess Park in Southwark. The parks receiving funding are: Avery Hill Park – Greenwich; Brent River Park – Ealing; Crane Valley Park – Richmond and Hounslow; Dollis Valley Greenwalk – Barnet; Fairlop Waters Country Park – Redbridge; Little Wormwood Scrubs – Kensington and Chelsea; Lordship Rec – Haringey; Mayesbrook Park – Barking and Dagenham; Parish Wood Park – Bexley; Wandle Park – Croydon.
- London's Great Outdoors sets out the Mayor of London’s vision for improving public spaces in London. This will ensure that our streets, squares, parks and green and water spaces are fit for a great world city, are enjoyed by everyone who visits them and most importantly, help improve the quality of life in the capital. More than £355 million is being invested in 80 public realm improvement projects between 2009 and the 2012 Games; funding for which comes from Transport for London, The London Development Agency and London’s boroughs as well as other sources. The measures include redesigned streets, which can be shared by both the pedestrians and vehicles and reclaimed derelict green spaces and underused waterways. London's Great Outdoors - A Manifesto for Public Space’ is supported by two practical guides, ‘Better Streets’ and ‘Better Green and Water Spaces’, which have been written and produced by the Greater London Authority, London Development Agency, Design for London and Transport for London. For further information please go to www.london.gov.uk/greatoutdoors
For media enquiries please call Hilary Merrett, Nicola Dillon or Elizabeth Lee at the Mayor’s Press Office on 020 7983 4755/4066/4928. Numbers not for publication.
For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000. For non-media enquiries please call the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.