London sticks to Boris

The ballot count was delayed increasing the tension last night, but after a hard-fought, indeed sometimes bitter and personal, battle, Boris Johnson has been successfully re-elected for a second term as Mayor of London.  

(still) Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Image credit: cberboris.wordpress.com

(still) Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Thanks to the hundreds of Trust members and supporters who contacted the seven Mayoral candidates over the last four weeks.  

The Mayor is able to influence retention and planting of trees during development, with a specific policy in the London Plan (Policy 7.21).  The policy also refers to the influential London Tree and Woodland Framework, published by the previous Mayor and endorsed by the current Mayor.  Also, I look forward to seeing the GLA’s final “Supplementary Planning Guidance“ on Preparing Borough Tree and Woodland Strategies document, following our comments on the consultation draft. The Mayor can also choose to fund initiatives such as the street trees project, which provided £4million for 10,000 new street trees across London over the last 4 years. 

These are some of the reasons we thought it was worth our supporters finding out what the Mayoral candidates (and through them their colleagues standing as London Assembly Members) would do in the next four years for trees and woodland in London. While not an obvious one to be given priority, we see it as an important issue that cuts across several priorities, such as health, the economy, wellbeing, flooding and climate change, and more.

The responses they got back are summarised here – the candidates who did reply went beyond what was in their published manifestos so clearly had to think about their response!

Boris’ 9-Point Plan had a clear commitment to plant 20,000 more street trees, and in his manifesto Boris promised to provide a £6m budget for this. During his campaign, he also pledged to increase tree cover from 20% to 25% by 2025, with another 400,000 trees planted over the next four years. Now it’s all about the reality of those pledges! As there is no clear funding for the latter, we suspect this will be delivered through the RE:LEAF partnership, which includes the Woodland Trust. 

In Boris’ last term, the Greater London Authority funded 57 of our community tree packs resulting in the planting of 11,000 trees, and we are working closely with the GLA to plant many more trees in London this winter. 

So, we will hold Boris to his pledges and continue to work as part of the RE:LEAF partnership to get more trees planted in London.  We will also push to ensure London’s existing woodland and trees of special interest are protected and properly managed.  

I also hope Boris will work rapidly to reinstate the previous Mayor’s Wildweb website which listed and gave access details of all of London’s protected wildlife sites, including woodlands, or at least pass the data to VisitWoods, so that all Londoners can easily find out the location of their nearest woods. 

What do you think this result will mean for your treescapes and wooded spaces?

Richard Barnes, Conservation Adviser (and Londoner)

About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Campaigning, England and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to London sticks to Boris

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  3. Martin Carter says:

    Pleased to hear that Boris is planning to plant 20,000 trees in London but I think his plans for another London Airport in the Thames Estuary will be pretty disastrous for the environment there.
    It may not be a popular view but I’m coming round to the view that a third runway at Heathrow will be the least worst option of all the options to increase air capacity for London.

    • Kaye Brennan says:

      Thanks for your comment Martin and welcome to the blog🙂 Our fight for the ancient woods at Stansted lasted almost a decade before second runway plans were taken off the table (for now, at least) and while there’s no ancient woodland around Heathrow we still fear for the few spectacular ancient and veteran trees in the surrounding villages (more about those trees and our work at the Airplot orchard here: https://wtcampaigns.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/airplot-the-orchard-years/). There are obvious environmental costs to estuary development too as you say, I mentioned climate change in my repy to Teresa’s comment above, and the RSPB for example is especially concerned. Like Boris & Ken, this is an issue that really divides Londoners, and would be hard to predict the result if put to a vote!!

  4. I am concerned about his proposals for an airport on the Thames…

    • Kaye Brennan says:

      Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment and welcome🙂 We’ve spent many years defending ancient woodland under threat from a new runway at Stansted. While proposals for the Thames Estuary wont affect ancient woodland in terms of land take, the Trust is concerned about the impacts of increasing aviation on climate change, a serious and long-term threat to woodland. And it’s clear that as yet there isn’t a convincing holistic sustainable development argument to constructing a new estuary airport, given the potential capacity of existing airports in Kent and Essex, and the (albeit as unpopular) option of a third runway at Heathrow.

      Great website by the way, I have passed the link onto some London friends.

  5. Nicola Stevens says:

    ‘The responses they got back are summarised here – the candidates who did reply went beyond what was in their published manifestos so clearly had to think about their response!’

    I’m not sure about anyone else, but when I open the link when clicking on ‘here’ doesn’t work? It opens up a new page with the following URL but it is blank: http://www.wtstaging.com/en/campaigning/our-campaigns/Documents/response%20from%20mayoral%20candidates%20to%20woodland%20trust%20supporters.pdf

Sorry, comments are closed as we have moved to a new site: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/

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