Why we want more trees

Increasing the number of trees is at the heart of the Mayor's vision to help make London greener, cleaner, more welcoming and more resilient.

Trees in the public realm

Trees are as important to the elegance and attractiveness of London's cityscape, as the capital's architecture. We aim to:

  • Work with commercial landowners to refill vacant tree pits across London. Our ambition is to increase the tree cover in these spaces by refilling vacant or underused tree pits and work with owners and managers to find ways of maintaining healthy trees and realise their benefits.
  • Promote the benefits of trees in the public realm to encourage private investment in tree planting and tree management.

Trees and climate change

Planting more trees, alongside increasing other green cover, is one of the ways in which London can adapt to climate change. We aim to:

  • Encourage London’s businesses and corporate sector to invest tree-planting in the areas that will be most affected by urban heat.
  • Provide the evidence and tools needed to identify where to plant trees to have the most beneficial effect.
  • To make tree-planting a tangible way of allowing everyone to contribute to climate change adaptation.
  • Increase the number of trees in school grounds and children’s play areas to provide spaces that give both shade and opportunities for environmental education and natural play.

What's the evidence?:

  • Forest Research have conducted studies that demonstrate that trees can help keep cities cool.

Trees for people and communities

In order to thrive, trees must be valued by the local community. If the benefits of trees are clear, people will want to plant, care for, protect and conserve their local trees. We aim to:

  • Increase the number of Tree Wardens through The Tree Council, so that all local communities have tree champions providing a focus for the RE:LEAF campaign.
  • Enable Londoners to participate in annual mass tree-planting and seed gathering events. We aim to have at least one mass tree planting event each year and will promote an annual London seed-gathering season.
  • Support the establishment of 100 community tree nurseries across London.

Trees for wildlife

Trees are important for wildlife as they provide shelter and food for many animals and plants. We aim to:

  • Create 20ha of new woodland to meet London Biodiversity Action Plan targets.
  • Encourage Londoners to increase the extent of the urban forest by planting trees in gardens and other green spaces that support wildlife or reflect former land-use or landscape.
  • Encourage active volunteering to support woodland management and equip people with practical skills and new social networks.
  • Create community urban orchards that provide people with an opportunity to grow food on their doorstep, learn new skills and promote social cohesion by participating in a locally shared resource.
  • Use the Conservation Foundation - London Elm Project to reconnect Londoners with trees in their local neighbourhoods, and use this as a platform to develop similar initiatives in the future.