London’s leafiest boroughs have been revealed in a new study which shows how much of the capital is covered in trees.
Five boroughs have more than 25 per cent tree coverage, with Barnet, Richmond and Camden being the greenest.
However, the east London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham came bottom with less than 13 per cent tree coverage.
On average around 20 per cent of the capital is made up of urban forest, according to City Hall data.
Overall London, with its 8 million trees, ranks the third leafiest place in the country.
The city sits just behind Surrey and Exeter, according to data collected by OVO Energy and aerial survey company Bluesky.
But it’s still not enough. Campaigners estimate we need at least 40 per cent tree coverage to keep our environment safe and clean the air effectively so every single London borough is far below this.
According to Trees for Cities, the charity which runs tree-planting initiatives in many cities including London, each year London’s trees remove 2.4 million tonnes of air pollution from the air including dust, carbon dioxide and other toxins.
A statement from the RE:LEAF campaign which is championing planting more trees in London says: “For decades, London has been designed around the needs of new development and our transport and utility infrastructure. This has reduced the space for trees both above and below ground. Existing trees are often damaged and newly planted often fail to thrive or are damaged.
“Climate change is likely to result in higher summer temperatures and periods of heavier rainfall in London in the future. The city’s tree canopy can play an important role in keeping the city cool and reducing storm water flooding. It is also important that the right trees are planted for a changing climate.”
But much work is already underway.
The Mayor has a target in the London Environment Strategy to increase tree cover by 10 per cent of current levels by 2050
Last year City Hall earmarked £700,000 to create a new woodland in Enfield, while Barking and Dagenham is planting more than 38,000 trees and shrubs as a Forest of Thanks’ for NHS staff in Parsloes Park.
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Tower Hamlets council has also committed to planting more, with 350 trees planned for Bethnal Green and Wapping in 2020/21 and a further 350 in Stepney Green and the Isle of Dogs in 2021/22.
The Climate Change Committee has recommended that 1.5 billion trees would need to be planted by 2050 if the UK is to meet its net zero carbon target.
London boroughs ranked from best to worst for tree cover:
Richmond upon Thames (27.04%)
Kingston upon Thames (21.97%)
Waltham Forest (21.33%)
Kensington and Chelsea (18.74%)
Hammersmith and Fulham (13%)
Tower Hamlets (12.53%)
Barking and Dagenham (8.71%)
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