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London needs an “M25 of trees”

Inside a lush woodlandOur vision is a London Tree Ring – a kind of M25 for nature encircling the capital.

Community woodlands such as nature friendly orchards, ornamental trees and hedgerows will absorb pollution, cool the environment, and provide a safe corridor for wildlife.

The London Tree Ring will help residents and visitors enjoy tranquil countryside on their doorstep.

What’s happened so far?

We have worked in partnership with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to create a map that shows how existing woodland in Green Belt and adjoining sites could be linked up via the sites with the strongest indicators of suitability for woodland creation and also areas of intensified street trees and street parks.

We are working with the Tree Ring Steering Group which includes Trees for Cities, The Conservation Volunteers, Woodland Trust,  Thames Chase Community Forest, GiGL and the GLA to link existing woodland with potential new sites, based on underlying habitat type, discounting other sensitive habitats and areas of grade 1 or 2 agricultural land. Priorities include using tree planting where it can help reduce the risks of flooding and enhance water quality in our trees and rivers, and where new community woodland could contribute in improving public access to quality green spaces.

We now have details of over 100 community identified sites around London suitable for woodland.  Our partners in the Tree Ring Steering Group are helping with proactively approaching landowners with a view to progressing planting on these sites.

The project directly addresses key requirements of the London Urban Forest Plan – to create more woodland, especially species-rich woodland, in London.

Our research suggests it is feasible for London to achieve 700 additional hectares of tree cover, which is at least 1 million more trees, by 2030.

How can you help?

Let us know of sites near you that could benefit from new trees. Please email woodlandcreation@cprelondon.org.uk.

If you want to get hands-on with planting or helping care for treescapes, email laura@cprelondon.org.uk about joining a local friends of greenspace group.  Or if there isn’t one in your area, but you know of a site that would benefit from trees and would like to help practically with making your vision a reality – contact Laura who can support you.

We would love to hear from you! We are also keen to hear about:

  • Opportunities for planting on the buffer lands around existing wooded areas or linking up wooded areas.
  • Opportunities for tree planting in the land bordering London’s many rivers and streams.
  • Opportunities for substantial planting near major roads to improve air quality
  • Areas of disused greenspace that has been fenced off, and so become an eyesore.
  • Areas of featureless species-poor grassland where the addition of wooded areas, ornamental trees or orchard could provide diversity and interest.
  • Room in allotment areas for new orchard or nut trees.
  • Room around the periphery of playing fields to create wooded areas to provide shade on hot days and a place for players to retreat after the game.
  • Areas in cemeteries with potential to become woodland burial areas.
  • Opportunities to decontaminate old landfill sites.
  • Opportunities to make agricultural land more nature friendly through addition of wooded wind breaks, hedgerows or tree based fruit and nut crops.
  • Opportunities for planting hedgerows.

Woodland creation opportunity mapping work

We are grateful to the Mayor of London for supporting our work in partnership with GiGL mapping green belt woodland creation opportunities and undertaking research that has informed this campaign.  This is part of a broader project for which the GLA has funding through the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being delivered by the Heritage Fund.

 

Inside a lush woodland