London Mayor ‘recycles newspaper into trees’

Boris Johnson, the new mayor of London, has decided to scrap a newspaper highlighting the achievements of City Hall and use the money saved to plant thousands of trees around the capital.

The Londoner newspaper cost £2.9m per year to publish but Mr Johnson has decided to scrap it and use some of the money, around £1m per year, to plant 10,000 trees on London’s streets by 2012.

Working with Trees for Cities the Mayor’s office will aim to plant the new trees predominantly in less affluent neighbourhoods in an attempt to boost civic pride.

Mr Johnson told reporters that trees had a real impact on reducing the city heat island effect and brought with them wonderful psychological benefits.

He countered accusations that trees had a limited impact on pollution and the bigger green issues by arguing that people were more likely to take action on the wider environment if they valued their local environment – and trees could help with that.

“I believe that as many people as possible should enjoy the many advantages that street trees bring,” he said.

“Trees improve the street environment in which Londoners live and work so I will do all I can to save the trees we have and campaign for more trees to protect London’s open spaces.”

Graham Simmonds, chief executive of Trees for Cities told edie that while it might be a while before we see olive groves in parks and avenues lined with plane trees, the need for climate change adaptation was being taken into account when selecting suitable species.

“Over time there’s going to be a gradual shift in tree populations across the country,” he told edie.

“We’re thinking carefully about climate change as it’s likely to mean longer, hotter summers and more pressure on water supplies.”

He said that the organisation was trying to avoid trees with shallow root systems, such as beech, as they would struggle without water.

Asked if this could have a knock on effect on subsidence, particularly with trees planted on pavements close to homes, Mr Simmonds said the jury was still out on whether trees were truly responsible for the problem and were often scapegoated.

“Trees do tend to get the blame,” he said.

“We’d like to see some more research into this area.”

Sam Bond

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