Trees and woodlands

Trees and woodlands

Trees and woodlands make London a healthier, more attractive place to live, and help combat climate change and air pollution.

London's urban forest contains an estimated 8 million trees and covers around 20% of the city's land area. See how we measured tree canopy cover.

The Mayor has committed to a major tree-planting programme, working in partnership with businesses, the community and the public sector. Find out how you can take part in London's biggest ever tree planting weekend on 1 and 2 December 2018.

Why we want more trees

London's urban forest is increasingly recognised for its economic value as well as its environmental and social benefits. 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.

The Mayor has a target in the London Environment Strategy to increase tree cover by 10%.

What we are doing for London’s trees and woodlands

Community Tree Planting Grants

The Mayor is funding projects through the new Greener City Fund to plant trees and woodlands in London. All of these projects can be found on our Greener City map.

  • In 2017-18, a total of £360,000 was awarded to 27 projects to plant over 15,000 trees. A further 10,000 trees were planted through our community tree planting packs, in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers
  • A total of £447,000 has been awarded to 29 projects to plant 40,000 trees between October 2018 and March 2019

In 2016-17, the Mayor awarded £750,000 to 29 projects, planting 41,00 trees

Free trees for schools and community groups

In partnership with the Conservation Volunteers (TCV), we are making 25,000 free trees available to schools and community groups this winter. Find out more and apply.

Woodlands

The Mayor has set aside £1.5m from the Greener City Fund to create new woodlands in London. Creating new woodlands is an opportunity to create places that benefit local people, the environment and the economy. Woodlands can store carbon, help improve air quality, support natural flood management, create habitat for wildlife, provide spaces for recreation and inspiration, and create new business opportunities.

We’re seeking expressions of interest from public-sector landowners in working on a project to create new woodlands. Any new woodland supported by Mayoral funding would need to be publicly accessible, over 10 hectares and offer multiple environmental benefits. It’s anticipated that it would be a partnership project and landowners would also be expected to apply for Forestry Commission grant funding. We are seeking expressions of interest from landowners about potential project sites by 12 October 2018. To find out more about the expression of interest process, please see this presentation and contact [email protected] with ‘woodland EOI’ in the subject line.

Policy development

The London Plan provides a policy framework which encourages the protection and maintenance of trees and the planting of new trees and woodlands. We have published Supplementary Planning Guidance on preparing borough tree and woodland strategies.

We promote trees as an essential part of new developments and regeneration schemes. We have worked with the Trees and Design Action Group to give developers and architects evidence of the benefits of large canopy trees in the urban environment and help them incorporate trees into urban landscapes.

See two guides:

The Forestry Commission has information on looking after woodlands in London, including data on the amount of woodland currently managed in London and why we should encourage more woodland management. 

Partnerships

We co-ordinate the London Tree Partnership. This is aimed at protecting the capital's trees and encouraging Londoners, businesses and organisations to plant more of them. Since 2011 the partnership has supported activities including tree planting, orchard creation and community woodland events.

To work with us on tree-related projects, email [email protected]

​Promotion

We promote the importance of trees and woodlands across London. This year we celebrated London's trees as part of the first London National Park City Week.

We also host the London Tree and Woodland Awards in partnership with the Forestry Commission to recognise leading projects and people who have contributed to maintaining and improving London’s trees and woodlands.

Previously funded Mayoral programmes

Find out more about tree planting programmes before May 2016.

Valuing and mapping London's urban forest

We're documenting London's trees in several ways:

  • an i-Tree Eco survey of London’s trees and woodlands has measured the benefits and value of the capital's trees. In autumn 2014 over 300 volunteers surveyed more than 700 locations across London using the US Forest Service’s i-Tree methodology. The final report was published in December 2015
  • the 2015 GLA study of tree canopy cover in London (see above) used aerial imagery to offer a baseline for measuring changes in tree cover over time  
  • our London street tree map

What can you do for trees and woodland?

Help to make London greener, healthier and wilder by joining London’s biggest ever tree planting weekend on 1 and 2 December 2018. Plant trees in your garden, in your community, or at a mass planting event and help to make London a National Park City.

  • Enter our ballot before 5 November to get two free trees for your garden from the Woodland Trust, and be part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy
  • Order a free pack of 50 trees for your community or school from The Conservation Volunteers
  • Find out more about volunteering at a tree planting event on 1 and 2 December

The Tree Council also offers small grants towards the cost of tree planting for schools and communities.

Team London has ideas of volunteering projects you could help with, including tree planting.