Mayor announces plans for 100 pocket parks and 10,000 more street trees

06 November 2012

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced plans to deliver on his manifesto commitment and create 100 innovative pocket parks, and to plant thousands more new trees in London by March 2015.

After funding the makeover of 11 major parks across London during his first term, the Mayor is now offering to support a series of smaller public spaces throughout the city. 'Pocket parks' are intended to improve public areas by greening existing, underused or forgotten areas of space, close to where people live and work. Pocket parks could be as small as a tennis court or as large as half a football pitch. As part of a £2m funding pot, grants of up to £50,000 will be available for local authority-backed schemes. Early in 2013 community groups working independently will be able to apply for grants of up to £20,000 for neighbourhood schemes.

The Mayor is also investing a further £1.7m in his street tree planting initiative, which delivered 10,000 new street trees during his first term. A total of 20,000 street trees will have been planted by March 2015. Funding is also being made available to continue the successful RE:LEAF community grant scheme which provides funding to bolster voluntary action by local community groups to green their local neighbourhoods and contribute to the Mayor's Team London initiative.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This investment in public spaces is a crucial ingredient in my aim to lengthen London's lead as the best big city in the world. By making streets leafier and transforming neglected pockets of land, we can make our already verdant city an even better place to live, work and invest in.”

Grants made under each of the schemes will require match funding to helping existing parks and public realm resources to go further and leverage sponsorship and support from the private and third sectors.

Trees and parks provide a range of benefits to the city. In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighbourhood by providing tranquil havens, they offer a range of benefits such providing play space, helping to improve local air quality and reducing flood risk, and attracting wildlife. Urban greening helps to maintain London's status as one of the world's most liveable big cities and improve the capital's international offer.

ENDS Notes to editors:

- In November 2009 the Mayor launched London's Great Outdoors, an initiative that promotes and supports improvements to streets, squares, parks, and canal and riverside spaces across London. Investment in public space enhances the look and feel of the city, making it a more healthy and pleasant place for residents and visitors and an environment in which businesses can thrive. It contributes to maintaining and improving London’s image as the world’s most green and liveable big city and highlights London’s offer as a city that can sustain economic growth.

- The Mayor is continuing to invest in London's outdoor spaces, and recognises and celebrates the collaborative effort that is being made by many organisations, including the critical role played by local authorities, to make London a better place. £6million will be invested in parks and trees projects. In addition to the funds described above an additional £2m fund will be launched later this year to support a number of strategic green space projects.

- The 100 pocket parks will be delivered through a combination of borough led grant schemes, community grant schemes and also through GLA initiatives such as Outer London Fund, Mayor's Regeneration Fund, and LIPS money granted to boroughs by Transport for London.

- Individual grants of up to £50,000 to create or enhance pocket parks can now be applied for by a range of organisations with the support of local authorities. These include community, creative, cultural or business groups. From the New Year individual grants of up to £20,000 will be available for projects led by community groups. A minimum of 100% match funding is required and there should be evidence of a collaborative partnership between stakeholder organisations. For more information and to apply for a grant under the pocket park scheme visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/parks-gr... The Mayor’s Street Tree Initiative, delivered in partnership with the Forestry Commission, is open to all London boroughs and private landowners who own or manage public realm (including businesses, registered social landlords, etc). It is also open to civil society organisations and community groups working with or on behalf of boroughs and private landowners. For more information or to apply for a grant under the street tree initiative visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/releaf-l... - The RE:LEAF community grant scheme supports tree and woodland projects that have clear, tangible community benefits and local engagement. Grants of between £2,000 and £10,000, from a £300,000 pot, are available to any organisation or group representing the wider community. For more information or to apply for a grant under the scheme visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/releaf-l... - For more information on RE:LEAF partners visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/releaf-l...