The Mayor of London has today launched a £1 million fund for community groups to deliver more ‘air quality improving trees, plants and green play areas’ in the capital.
Launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew this morning, the Greener City Fund is part of a wider £9 million funding pledge to help schools, councils and community groups implement projects that are likely to improve their local environments.
Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 are available for groups to apply for, which can be used for a range of projects including lining walking routes to schools with “air quality boosting trees.
According to the Mayor’s office, pollution-busting street trees could help to cut climate change but also improve air quality – particularly by London’s busy roads.
Kew scientists have been involved in research into the traits of different tree species to identify which are best at surviving a climate-altered future environment because of their deep roots, leaf shape and size.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In London we are battling a toxic air health crisis which is contributing to over 9,000 premature deaths every year and damaging our children’s lungs. That’s why the scientific research being done at Kew is so important in helping us look after our environment. Kew’s amazing work is further evidence for why it’s so important to invest in and protect our parks and woodlands, as well as help support this world-class research.
“Kew Gardens and its 14,000 trees, tropical plants and palms is one of the many outstanding green spaces in London and highlights why we should become the world’s first National Park City.
“We need more greenery across all of our communities and I want everyone – young and old – to be able to get involved in helping make local areas greener. That’s why I’m announcing £1 million in green grants for local groups to help create the community gardens, play areas and allotments needed to improve our air and enrich our daily lives.â€?
Launch of the fund comes shortly after the publication of the Mayor’s draft Environment Strategy, in which the Mayor pledged to make London’s air quality among the cleanest of any world city by the middle of the century (see airqualitynews.com story).
He also outlined his ambition for London to become a National Park City, by prioritising investment in green infrastructure.