Tree planting programme supported by the Mayor of London to open to London parishes

Churches across London will have the opportunity to make their neighbourhood a greener place as part of a new project supported by the Mayor of London.

The Conservation Foundation’s Trees for Sacred Spaces project, launched by Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy and the Bishop of London alongside the Bishops of Southwark and Chelmsford, is aimed at enabling churches in the London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester dioceses to plant more trees. The project is part of the Mayor’s ambition to make London one of the greenest cities in the world. Diocese of London parishes will be given more information about how they can get involved in due course.

Launching the project, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, commented, “In our global city, in this interconnected world, practising love of our neighbours means looking after the natural environment that we share. Parishes across London’s dioceses have made strides in encouraging biodiversity in our churchyards through Churchyards for London. It gives me great pleasure that one of the final projects I launch as Bishop of London will offer our churches the opportunity to plant more trees in their areas, contributing to local air quality as well providing places of peace and beauty for generations to come.”

Welcoming the involvement of churches, Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said, “The Mayor wants London to be one of the world’s greenest cities and is introducing a wide range of measures to fulfil this ambition: a first step has been the commitment to provide £750,000 to plant more than 40,000 new London trees this winter, including helping The Conservation Foundation plant more than 600 trees in or near churchyards across London.”

David Shreeve, director of The Conservation Foundation, added, “A fifth of the capital is already covered by trees but some parts of London are short of greenery. Churches can play an important role in helping to make these areas look and feel better by planting trees that benefit London’s landscape and atmosphere.”

Whilst not all churches have suitable spaces, those with no space to plant a tree will be encouraged to donate one to a school or community garden within their parish, helping to increase London’s tree canopy cover and help wildlife to thrive in London. The tree plantings will also offer an opportunity for churches to organise events and ceremonies that involve members of other faiths in their parishes to celebrate and help to enhance the environments that people of all faiths and no faith share.