Lambeth sets out vision for 5,000 new trees

30 November 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

During National Tree Week (25 Nov- 3 Dec) Lambeth Council has launched its Urban Forest Strategy that sets out how 5,000 new trees will be planted over the next three years.

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Lambeth sets out vision for 5,000 new trees

The Urban Forest Strategy sets out a vision for how the borough’s trees and canopy cover can be increased, while maintaining Lambeth’s existing trees. It will help create a resilient urban forest that will see areas with the lowest tree cover prioritised each planting season.

The latest round of tree planting will begin this week with new trees added to Briant Estate, followed by more estates in Waterloo next week.

Deputy Council Leader Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “Tree canopy cover in Lambeth is below the London average and that is something we need to urgently address, not just to meet our own climate targets but because of the health and wellbeing benefits they offer to everyone in the borough.

“Over the next three years we will accelerate our planting plans, carefully plan where new trees can go and nurture our thousands of existing trees so that they can provide the greatest benefits for longer.

“We want to plant trees in the right places, where their benefits are greatest and will have the most positive impact on peoples’ lives.”

The borough owns more than 40,000 trees from 320 different tree species with the majority found in parks and housing estates. We will also be focussing our efforts to plant in and around schools, care homes and other healthcare settings.

In 2019 the council commissioned an aerial survey of the borough’s current tree canopy cover, which was used to inform and shape the Urban Forest Strategy.

It found that the level of tree canopy varies significantly across Lambeth and is not shared evenly – West Dulwich has 24 per cent cover while Waterloo and South Bank and Vauxhall are among those with just 11 percent cover.

The Urban Forest Strategy will address this by setting out six key principles to grow tree canopy cover by protecting existing trees, increasing collaboration and partnerships, increase resilience in the tree stock, increase species diversity and ensure better standards for planting and care.

The council will also carefully consider future planting locations and explore creative ways to increase tree cover in the north of the borough.

Cllr Chowdhury added: “Increasing our tree cover is essential, it helps us deal with natural rainwater runoff during heavy rainfall and provide shade during the hottest days of the year.

Planting new trees is one of the most positive steps we can take to address air pollution, as well as the challenges posed by a changing climate like extreme weather. That is why I am delighted to launch our Urban Forest Strategy and kickstart this crucial work.”

You can read the Urban Forest Strategy online.