The Mayor of London has today launched a Â£1 million fund for community groups to deliver more â€˜air quality improving trees, plants and green play areasâ€™ in the capital.
Launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew this morning, the Greener City Fund is part of a wider Â£9 million funding pledge to help schools, councils and community groups implement projects that are likely to improve their local environments.
Grants of between Â£5,000 and Â£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 â€œair quality boosting trees.
According to the Mayorâ€™s office, pollution-busting street trees could help to cut climate change but also improve air quality â€“ particularly by Londonâ€™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: â€œIn London we are battling a toxic air health crisis which is contributing to over 9,000 premature deaths every year and damaging our childrenâ€™s lungs. Thatâ€™s why the scientific research being done at Kew is so important in helping us look after our environment. Kewâ€™s amazing work is further evidence for why itâ€™s so important to invest in and protect our parks and woodlands, as well as help support this world-class research.
â€œKew 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 worldâ€™s first National Park City.
â€œWe 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. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m announcing Â£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 Mayorâ€™s draft Environment Strategy, in which the Mayor pledged to make Londonâ€™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.