Volunteers planting trees at Enfield Chase

Enfield tops London tree planting tables since 2016/17

Enfield received more new trees funded by the Greater London Authority than any other borough over a seven-year period.

Nearly a quarter of trees planted by the GLA between 2016/17 and 2022/23 were in Enfield, a total of more than 110,000, according to data published in June.

Enfield had more than twice as many trees planted than in Ealing, the borough where the second most trees were planted.

Number of GLA-planted trees by borough since 2016/17

These figures are due to Enfield Council’s reforestation project to revive Enfield Chase – a former hunting ground deforested 200 years ago – saw more than 100,000 GLA-funded trees planted in the borough’s North West between 2020 and 2022.

The council hopes the project will help the borough reach its goal of reaching net zero by 2030, reduce flooding risks for downstream properties and improve the water quality of Salmon’s Brook, a river surrounded by farmland suffering soil and nutrient erosion.

More than 60 hectares of woodland was planted in this first phase of the project in collaboration with the Forestry Commission, Thames21, and Climate Action Enfield.

Enfield saw a great rise in tree planting between 2020 and 2022 when the Enfield Chase project began

Trees continue to be planted weekly by the Friends of Enfield Chase group, led by John Cole, who retired as Head of Sustainability at the Department of Justice in 2020. 

Cole said: “The project has been really well received in the western side of the borough – we’ve got people cycling, we’ve got people running, we’ve got people who just want to be there and all the volunteering, so I think we’ve got numbers to substantiate that it’s been very popular.”

The popular London Loop runs through Enfield Chase but Cole believes more people could be attracted to the area by improving transport links, creating a visitors’ centre and a sculpture park.

He said: “It’s a bit of an ask to attract people across from the other side of the borough so I think that’s our next challenge.

“We would love everyone in Enfield to come across this great divide of the A10.”

The data also shows greener outer boroughs had nearly three times more trees planted by the GLA than inner boroughs and reveals Lewisham as the inner borough where the most trees were planted.

The borough planted more than 24,000 new trees, almost double that of Greenwich in second at just under 13,000.

Cumulative number of trees planted by the GLA year-on-year

The GLA said figures across boroughs vary because grant applications from local authorities differ and trees in built up areas cost more than in woodland settings like Enfield Chase.

Carrie Hume, Development & Partnerships Director at Trees for Cities, said: “Coverage of trees across the capital is inconsistent, and in some areas it is just plain harder for trees to coexist with the pressures and stresses of the urban environment. They are living things just like us. 

“There is definitely potential for a closer balance, especially as London experiences greater heat island effects as the climate warms. 

“Getting trees in deprived areas and protecting existing mature trees, especially where more vulnerable communities exist will become a pressing priority, and we have to adopt new ways of getting trees into the mix of grey areas and new development.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan continues to support tree planting in London, pledging a £3.1 million package in July 2022 and £3 million for Green and Resilient Spaces in April 2023.

Image Credit: John Cole

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles