News

Call for help identifying new woodland sites in Enfield

CPRE London wants to create a ring of woodland around the outskirts of the capital

Oak saplings planted as part of Enfield Chase Woodland Restoration Project
Oak saplings planted as part of Enfield Chase Woodland Restoration Project

An “M25 for nature” could be created around the outskirts of London with help from local people able to identify sites where new woodland can be created.

London’s countryside charity, CPRE London, is aiming to create a “tree ring for London”, delivering a continuous circle of woodland around the capital and making an “animal super highway”. 

The project will help ensure that London’s Green Belt plays a more powerful role in carbon capture and strengthening biodiversity, along with improving the wellbeing of Londoners. The continuous ring of trees will bridge Green Belt gaps in outer London and create corridors for wildlife.

In Enfield’s Green Belt, 134,000 trees have been planted since 2020 by Thames 21 and Enfield Council as part of the Enfield Chase Restoration Project, with one million new trees being promised in total by the Labour administration at Enfield Civic Centre.

However, Enfield Council is also proposing to build more than 6,000 homes on other parts of the borough’s Green Belt – something opposed by CPRE London.

Other parts of London’s Green Belt are also under threat, including in Hounslow, where the council has proposed removing protective designations from 45% of its Green Belt.

CPRE London hopes a ring of woodland will help the Green Belt do its job of “preventing urban sprawl”. The charity’s director, Anna Taylor, said: “There is an urgent need for more tree planting – but this needs to be well-planned with plentiful community input in order to maximise the potential benefits of new woodlands and guard against the loss of other priority habitats or prime agricultural land.  


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“We need to be creative in thinking about what London’s community forest should look like. We need to ask ourselves: are there local green spaces near me where trees could be planted that would enhance rather than reduce their amenity value?  

“We are interested in the planting of native woodland, but also encouraging the creation of orchards and areas of nut trees, wooded margins for nature friendly farming, and the establishment of new hedgerows in place of ugly fences.”

For the ground mapping of potential woodland creation sites the charity needs reliable information on existing young woodland in the Green Belt, but also more widely across London. This will reveal where planting can join together with established woodland habitat. Mature woodland is likely to be on the map already – but details of younger woodland (planted within the last 20 years) and newly planted saplings need to be collected.

Locals can help by registering possible locations for new woodland creation, or the location of existing young woodlands, by filling in the survey here. CPRE London is also keen to support ‘friends of’ groups and help establish new groups to protect green spaces where they don’t already exist.

Sites that are identified could potentially be put forward for government ‘community forest’ funding which would then support the landowner to plant the trees. CPRE London itself also has limited funding available to support tree-planting at a small number of locations.

To find out more about the project:
Email
 [email protected]
Visit cprelondon.org.uk/news/help-us-create-a-ring-of-trees-round-london


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