24 London boroughs are set to enjoy the leafy shoots of 4,500 new street trees this winter, thanks to funding from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. This will bring the total number of trees funded by the Mayor since he was elected to over 9,500, well on track to meet his target of planting 10,000 street trees by March 2012.
Now in its third year, the Mayor's street tree programme has already given money to plant more than 5,000 street trees across London in areas identified as being most in need of them. This year boroughs have accepted grants to plant another 4,500 street trees, leaving 500 more to be planted in order to meet the Mayor's 2012 pledge.
In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighbourhood, street trees offer a range of benefits such as attracting wildlife, providing shade, helping to improve local air quality and reducing flood risk.
This coincides with the launch of Defra's new national programme – the Big Tree Plant – to support tree planting across the UK, in the same way the Mayor is doing in London.
The Mayor, Boris Johnson said:
'Thanks to these trees, streets across London are leafier, more pleasant places to live in. It is superb news that we are firmly on track, and actually ahead of schedule, to meet my target of 10,000 new street trees by 2012.'
London is a very green city compared to other world cities, two-thirds of the capital's land area is green space and water and the Mayor's street tree and parks programmes are helping to make London greener still. This benefits both Londoners' quality of life as well as helping tackle issues such as climate change. Over 1.75 million Londoners live in areas that are more than half a mile from a nature or wildlife spot – this was a factor in choosing which areas are being given priority for street trees.