Barnet Council has been awarded the 2019 London Borough Tree Award after pledging to plant 900 trees per year for the next five years.
The Barnet Council team receive the London Borough Tree Award.
The borough picked up the prestigious accolade from the Greater London Authority and Forestry Commission, coming top out of the 32 councils the competition was open to.
The Barnet tree programme – thought to be London’s largest – will improve air quality, support biodiversity, reduce the risk of flooding and provide protection from the sun during heatwaves. The effect will be to improve the long-term health of residents across the borough.
The new trees help reduce the air pollution caused by vehicles in areas near major roads like the A1, A41 and A406, such as Golders Green and Childs Hill. Hundreds are being planted in the borough’s parks, near schools and at the side of its roads each year.
Councillor Dean Cohen, Chair of the Barnet Council Environment Committee, said: “Our borough has long been known as one of London’s greenest suburbs, and we’re very proud of that. We’re committed to protecting the environment and improving the long-term health of our residents, and our tree-planting programme is a key part of that. We love our green spaces and tree-lined avenues, and this will make them even better.”
Jim Smith, National Urban Forestry Adviser for the Forestry Commission, said: “Barnet is leading the way and demonstrating how councils across the country should be improving and replacing their urban forest. Investment in the future of the urban forest is essential to ensure residents, visitors and businesses alike benefit and thrive from the presence of trees.”
Some of Barnet’s new trees will be planted on ‘urban heat islands’. These areas have little shade and are particularly vulnerable during hot weather, causing higher temperatures at night by releasing heat built up during the day. Trees will be planted to reduce the risk of health conditions linked to sun exposure and increased temperatures in these places.
Barnet Council currently manages around 30,000 street trees and 848 hectares of green space including 164 hectares of woodland. The borough is home to the capital’s oldest tree, the Totteridge Yew, which is more than 2,000 years old and has been awarded Great Tree of London status.