Mayor of London announces thousands of new street trees across London

29 January 2020
  • Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announces thousands of new street trees will be planted across 20 boroughs 
  • A part of the Mayor’s commitment to increase the capital’s existing tree canopy cover by 10 per cent by 2050
  • Sadiq has also awarded £1.1 million to 54 community projects to improve and create green spaces
  • Sadiq has already planted more trees in his first term than the previous Mayor did in 8 years - more than 250,000 trees already planted since May 2016
    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced that thousands of new street trees will be planted across 20 boroughs. London has secured over £2 million from the Forestry Commission as part of the Government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund, having received one fifth of the national fund to plant almost 7,000 street trees across the capital. The funding was secured in collaboration with London boroughs, who will plant and maintain the new trees.
    Sadiq has matched funding from the Forestry Commission with over £1 million from the Mayor’s Greener City Fund, alongside £280,000 from the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone, and £1 million from participating boroughs.
    As a result of the funding, 2,898 trees will be planted in London by end of March 2020, and a further 4,040 trees will be planted next winter.
    The Mayor has also awarded £1.1 million to 54 community projects, in the third round of the Community Green Space Grants, part of his Greener City Fund to improve and create green spaces. Sadiq has now supported more than 250 local projects to improve and create green space and waterways since 2018. These new projects will be delivered over the course of 2020 across 23 boroughs, enhancing and improving access to parks, greening school playgrounds, cleaning up canals and rivers, installing new community gardens and creating new wildlife habitats.
    London’s trees are estimated to provide at least £133m of benefits to Londoners every year. They help improve air quality by removing 2,241 tonnes of pollution annually, including harmful PM10 particulates and NO2 roadside emissions as well as making our streets more beautiful and encouraging walking and cycling1. Trees also create a vital habitat for London’s wildlife, reduce flood risk and help to tackle climate change through absorbing and storing carbon. Overall, over 275 hectares of green space and waterways will be improved through the Mayor's Greener City funding.
    Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I’m doing everything in my power to make London zero-carbon and one of the greenest, most sustainable cities in the world. London’s trees are the lungs of our city and they can make a real difference improving quality of life in local neighbourhoods.
    “Simple steps like planting trees help us address the climate and ecological crisis. These additional street trees and improvements to green spaces are targeted in areas where they’re most needed. As the world’s first National Park City we will continue our bold action to preserve and increase tree coverage across London.” 
    Barbara Milne, Chair of the London Tree Officers Association, said: “This joint funding arrangement helps to make the most of resources for tree planting in London, and will support local authorities with limited budgets to meet aspirations for more tree planting in our capital”
    Marie-Claire Denyer, of Street Trees for Living, said: “The Urban Tree Challenge funding has been of crucial importance to Street Trees for Living, a registered charity in the London Borough of Lewisham. Primarily it has enabled the new ‘The School Trees Project’ planting 200 street trees outside schools in the next twenty four months, as well as enabling street tree planting in target wards where tree canopy cover is low. This funding allows Street Trees for Living and Lewisham Council to achieve their joint aim of increasing the planting rate of street trees to a record 300 a year.”
    Charlotte Gilsenan, CEO, Bankside Open Spaces Trust said: “The Mayor of London’s Greener City Fund has enabled us to launch the Green Hub across north Lambeth and Southwark – a support network for groups or individuals with a determination to improve their local area through gardening. The Hub includes personal support alongside a programme of training and workshops to help people learn new horticultural skills and meet other gardeners in the area. The aim of the Hub is to empower people to improve their local spaces as well as contributing to the health and wellbeing of local communities”

Notes to editors

The street trees will be planted across 185 wards in London, all of which have canopy cover below 20 per cent. Target wards were identified using our new London Tree Canopy Cover map, which uses high-resolution aerial imagery to pinpoint where London’s trees are, and how tree cover varies across the capital. Tree canopy cover ranges from 58 per cent to 2 per cent across the city’s 633 wards. Poorer areas often have lower canopy cover, and are also disproportionately affected by other environmental issues such as air pollution. Targeting these new street trees in areas of greatest need will help to address this imbalance.


Since 2016, the Mayor has funded the planting of over 280,000 trees, more than the previous Mayor funded over his entire two terms. This includes 175,000 trees planted prior to this planting season, and over 105,000 to be planted this winter.


Street trees


1Figures from the London iTree Eco report 2015:  


Example planting locations include:

    • Planting 712 trees in Royal Docks in Newham as part of a new place-making strategy for the area
    • Planting trees in the 3 most deprived wards in London: Northumberland Park (Haringey), Church Street (Westminster) and Lansbury (Tower Hamlets)
    • Planting trees in the 5 wards with the worst urban heat island effect in London: Green Street East, Green Street West (Newham); Spitalfields & Banglatown, Bromley South, Whitechapel (Tower Hamlets)
      All the trees planted will be large trees that will make an immediate impact. Species have been chosen by the relevant local authorities, and will include: London plane, cherry, birch, lime, maple, rowan, whitebeam, crab apple. Tree species have been selected following the principle of ‘the right tree for the right place’, taking in to account factors such as size, allergy risk and environmental benefits.
      The Urban Tree Challenge Fund was announced by the Government in 2018. £10 million is available to plant at least 20,000 large trees and 110,000 small trees in urban areas in England. We have secured one-fifth of the overall budget for London
      The trees will be planted by local authorities across 20 boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham (working with community group Street Trees for Living), Newham (including additional planting in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone), Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster (see table below for numbers). Planting will be carried out by local authorities. All boroughs were invited to participate in the bid.
      Trees per boroughs supported by the Urban Tree Challenge Fund

Barking and Dagenham




























Newham (Royal Docks)








Tower Hamlets








































Community Green Space projects funding


  • Projects will take place across 23 boroughs, and will:
    • Enhance over 100 hectares of green and blue space
    • Involve over 3,500 adult volunteers and over 15,000 children
  • Projects included enhancing and improving access to parks, greening school playgrounds, cleaning up canals and rivers, installing new community gardens and creating new wildlife habitat. Ten “neighbourhood greening” grants have been awarded to projects that will work with communities to design greening interventions across the public realm in areas of high need.
  • Highlights include:
    • OrganicLea have been awarded £9,886 for “Buzz in the Forest”, which will install pollinator feeding stations in public places across Waltham Forest, including mini-green roofs and flower filled planters and benches to provide food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
    • Green Hands have been awarded £9,375 for May Wynne Community Garden, which will transform 12,000 square foot of derelict land in Custom House, Newham into a community garden focused on food growing, ecotherapy and skills development
    • Bankside Open Spaces Trust have been awarded £40,000 for “Building a Green Hub”, which will develop and test a new model to support communities in SE1 to take ownership of their green spaces.
    • London Borough of Hillingdon have been awarded £40,000 for Newt Waterways, which will transform over 5 hectares of underused amenity grassland at Hillingdon House farm into a patchwork of ponds and wildflower meadows.

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