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London scheme marks planting of 20,000th tree

Mayor’s office claims the Street Tree scheme is boosting air quality while increasing green spaces

A record 20,000 trees have been planted along London roads under the Mayor’s Street Tree scheme with the aim of boosting air quality and increasing green space in the capital.

The milestone was marked this week (March 4) in the south of the city in Streatham, where the Mayor’s senior advisor for the environment, Matthew Pencharz, planted the 20,000th tree – a Prunus Royal Burgandy – on a residential road.

The Mayor's environment advisor Matthew Pencharz plants the scheme's 20,000th tree in Streatham as part of a bid to boost air quality and green spaces

The Mayor’s environment advisor Matthew Pencharz plants the scheme’s 20,000th tree in Streatham as part of a bid to boost air quality and green spaces

According to the Mayor’s office, the scheme has seen trees such as oaks and birches planted along pavements and highways to clean the air, keep the city cooler in the summer and increase green space. In the last year, 600 trees have been planted in Streatham, 300 in Lambeth, 400 in Islington and more than 1,000 in Ealing.

Planting the tree in Steatham this week, Mr Pencharz said: “This is a fantastic scheme that has improved the aesthetic of busy streets across the capital. The 20,000th tree symbolises the amazing work carried out by local businesses, boroughs and individuals passionate about improving their area. By planting thousands of trees, we are making the air cleaner and ensuring a better quality of life for Londoners.â€?

The Mayor has spent £5.7 million on the Street Tree Initiative, which is run in partnership with the Forestry Commission and Groundwork London, while more than £3 million has been provided through match funding with the grant recipients.

Craig Harrison, London Manager for the Forestry Commission, said “The Mayor’s Street Trees will improve London’s landscape now and for generations to come – not only making streets more attractive but providing other benefits such as shade and air quality improvement.â€?

The third and final round of the initiative was announced in December 2014, which has seen 4,300 trees planted across 21 boroughs in the capital over the winter.

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