London Mayor Mr. Sadiq Khan has launched a £3.1 million tree planting package. The vision is to protect London from the impacts of climate change and secure its future. Khan’s announcement comes after a series of fires raged in the capital last week due to record temperatures. This prompted the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to report serious incidents.
Extreme temperatures are triggering regular forest fire which is causing to worsen the AQI of the region:
The extreme temperatures and fires that have hit have highlighted London’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, which is why today I am pledging an additional £3.1m into a large-scale reforestation package that will help limit climate impacts. He said, “Targeting areas most needed, these additional street trees and green space improvements will improve the resilience of our city neighbourhoods.” Meanwhile, the Environment Agency warned that prolonged dry weather in the coming weeks could plunge London and the South East into drought as early as August.
Since 2016, the Mayor has funded the planting of over 30,000 trees across London, including two major afforestation projects, and has implemented policies to control urban growth. London is creating 85 hectares of new accessible green space in the Greenbelt. Khan has supported green space projects across 32 boroughs and the City of London, and he has invested over £20 million in green infrastructure programs that has improved and created over 500 hectares of green space. These include over 250 community green space projects, over 80 community plantation projects, and six major capital projects.
The “urban heat island” effect:
It has been suggested to enhance heat in cities because the sun’s rays are absorbed by hard surfaces and re-radiate heat, rather than being more efficiently handled by trees, plants and grass. Increasing the number of trees in London will help manage this, and cool the city, provide shade for Londoners, and make London more resilient to floods.
It is estimated that London’s , existing trees bring in at least £133 million in benefits to Londoners each year. It improves air quality by removing 2,241 tonnes of pollutants annually, including harmful PM10 particles and roadside NO2 emissions, making roads more beautiful and suitable for walking and cycling.
The trees also create critical habitat for London’s wildlife, reduce the risk of flooding, and help combat climate change by absorbing and storing carbon. Mayor’s funding package targets areas with few trees and where Londoners are most vulnerable to climate change.
Khan says: “As Mayor, I will continue my bold action to preserve and increase tree coverage across the capital as we build a better, greener and more sustainable London for everyone.” Mayor Philip Glanville, London Councils’ Climate Change, Transport and Environment Lead, said: “London is already experiencing the serious affects of climate change. The severe heatwave and fires last week and the devastating flash flooding last year are just two examples that prove the time for action is now.
“London boroughs are collaborating with partners, like the Mayor of London, on initiatives such as this that work for every resident across London’s diverse communities and is crucial to have a long-lasting impact. “More trees in London will contribute to our capital’s climate resilience, especially in areas that are more vulnerable to climate risk, and we will take steps to ensure that London can continue to thrive as a resilient and green city.”
“London’s trees and green spaces play a critical role in the fightback against climate change,” said David Elliot, chief executive of Trees for Cities. “This new tree programme from the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority to further enhance our ‘urban forest’ will ensure that our city remains a leader in setting the bar high for others to follow.”