The London Borough of Merton has joined the national street tree sponsorship scheme, Trees for Streets, on a mission to green every street across the borough, as part of the council’s strategy to increase tree canopy and biodiversity, and to help mitigate some of the effects of climate change.
The partnership will empower anyone living, working or with an interest in Merton to plant hundreds of additional trees on residential streets, bringing much-needed nature to people’s doorsteps and help to build a sustainable future for our borough.
Watch Merton’s launch of the Trees for Streets scheme with Sherwood School in Pollards Hill:
How does it work?
Individuals, families, neighbours, community groups or businesses can request to sponsor a tree in their community using the Trees for Streets easy online platform, which is also available through the council’s website.
The sponsorship contributes towards the costs of getting a new tree planted, watered and looked after. All trees are five to seven-years-old when planted, standing three to four metres tall, thus making an instant impact. Residents can also club together to fund community trees through a bespoke crowdfunding platform.
You choose the location
Anyone can sponsor a tree in Merton and can request for it to be planted in a location that is meaningful and personal to them. This might be outside their house or apartment building. It might be outside a school or on a busy retail street. They simply provide some basic details about the desired location on the Trees for Streets platform, along with donation details.
The council will then visit the location to check for suitability, considering nearby street furniture, such as benches and lamp posts, as well as driveways, access routes and electricity lines running overhead. If the location is suitable for planting, then the sponsor will be informed, their donation payment taken, and the tree will be planted during the forthcoming winter. It is that simple.
Trees from the Mayor of London
For every tree sponsored locally before the end of July 2023, the Mayor of London, will also sponsor a tree to be planted in a priority location in the borough. In a school street, in a less affluent low tree cover neighbourhood, or to create shading around kids playgrounds.
Why are street trees important?
With the adverse effects of climate change, pollution, a degraded environment and increasingly dense urban living, we need trees now more than ever.
Trees play an important role in helping us cope with the impacts of climate change, such as overheating and flooding, as well as improving air quality and making our streets more liveable.
Street trees do so much for us:
- Improve air quality by acting like natural filters
- Capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
- Absorb air pollution
- Improve our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally
- Provide a home for wildlife
- Protect us from flooding
- Create shading and cooling – so important in towns and cities
- Make the neighbourhoods where we live that bit nicer
Cllr Natasha Irons, Cabinet Member for Local Environment, Green spaces and Climate Change:
“Merton Council has launched an ambitious new strategy to increase tree canopy across the borough by 10% by 2050. From March 2022 – March 2023 we’re planting 10,000 trees, making it one of our biggest plantings years to date.
“Joining Trees for Streets, will enable our community residents to get directly involved with tree planting and watering to support the local environment and their immediate neighbourhoods, while helping to make Merton a greener, cleaner, more resilient place to live.
Simeon Linstead, Founder and Project Director, Trees for Streets:
“The charity is delighted to be working in Merton. The impact trees can have on our lives is quite remarkable, and we want everyone to experience the benefits of having nature at their doorsteps. We’re excited that as of today, Merton residents, community groups and local businesses can all take action to improve their neighbourhood by sponsoring new trees.”
Andriana Samouel, Headteacher, Sherwood School:
“Trees for Streets is a lovely initiative that will improve the appearance of our streets and help to create greener spaces within urban areas, which will also be great for wildlife. Hopefully this will encourage children to protect nature and take care of the environment in which they live, both now and in the future.
“We are a UNICEF Gold Rights Respecting School and the Trees for Streets initiative links with the work we do around Global Goals, particularly GG 15 ‘Life on Land’.“
To find out more about sponsoring a street tree, or even a park tree, in Merton, visit http://www.TreesForStreets.org/Merton.