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Edible woodland with 6,500 trees and shrubs to be planted on Hackney Marshes

PUBLISHED: 16:58 20 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 December 2019

David Elliott, CEO of Trees for Cities with Cllr Jon Burke and Christine King from the Tree Musketeers. Picture: Hackney Council

David Elliott, CEO of Trees for Cities with Cllr Jon Burke and Christine King from the Tree Musketeers. Picture: Hackney Council

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A new edible woodland containing 6,500 trees and shrubs will be planted in Hackney Marshes after the council teamed up with charity Trees for Cities.

The edible woodland will be planted in the east marsh. Picture: Hackney CouncilThe edible woodland will be planted in the east marsh. Picture: Hackney Council

The area will see a mix of fruit and nut trees, broadleaf specimens and shrubs planted on East Marsh to capture carbon dioxide, promote biodiversity and encourage the community to get foraging.

The trees and shrubs are being funded by Honest Drinks through Trees for Cities, which works with volunteers and schools to enhance green spaces.

Locals will be invited to help plant the woodland with voluntary group Tree Musketeers. The project is part of a wider effort to plant more than 20,000 trees on the marshes and other green spaces.

In February the council declared a climate emergency, and pledged to do everything in its power to deliver net zero emissions across all of its functions by 2040.

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That's 10 years earlier than the government target and in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) "higher confidence threshold" for limiting global warming to 1.5C.

Town hall environment chief Cllr Jon Burke said: "The council has been doing everything it can do to reach our ambitious commitment.

"Our plans to deliver around 30,000 trees in our parks and green spaces, and 5,000 new street trees, represent one of the most ambitious programmes in the country and the single largest investment in trees in the history of our borough.

"Not only will this help us tackle global warming by locking-in thousands of tonnes of carbon, but it will also contribute to cooling, and support insect and animal life.

"If every local authority in the UK was matching Hackney's level of ambition for tree planting and green infrastructure, we would plant close to 15 million trees by 2022, and as Hackney is one of the smallest council areas in England, there's scope to go even further.

"Tree planting is by no means the complete answer to the climate emergency, and that's why Hackney is decarbonising everything from the waste system to emissions from motor vehicles, but nature-based solutions to global warming can make a huge difference. We have the trees, we have the land, now we just need the leadership."

David Elliott, CEO of Trees for Cities, said: "The leadership that the local authority is demonstrating around trees and green infrastructure is setting a new benchmark that hopefully other authorities will aim to match."


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