Putting down roots

Thousands of trees set to be planted by residents in Edmonton, writes Ingrid Cranfield

Tree planting (credit Trees for Cities)

People of all ages can volunteer to help plant new trees at Montagu Rec in Edmonton (credit Trees for Cities)

Trees have innumerable benefits for us and for the environment.

They absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They reduce the amount of rain run-off, limiting erosion and pollution in our waterways and helping to alleviate the effects of flooding. They are also an important source of food, protection and shelter for wildlife.

At Montagu Recreation Ground in Edmonton – affectionately known by locals as Montagu Rec – the Environment Agency has recently completed a flood alleviation scheme. To people with memories of the floods of 2000, when 192 homes were underwater in the Montagu Road area, this has come as a blessing – lowering the flood risk to 1,393 properties. Once this scheme was finished in 2016, the Environment Agency also did some landscaping work, much improving the look of the area.

Now we want to do more. Bountagu is a local community organisation in Lower Edmonton that is funded with £1.1million over ten years from the Big Lottery Fund in order to deliver positive change to the area. Bountagu – named after Bounces Road and Montagu Road – is one of 150 ‘Big Local’ areas in the country that have received this level of funding.

Our latest project is a major tree-planting scheme for Montagu Rec. On Sunday 2nd December we are hosting an event to plant 3,000 trees there. It will kick-off at 10am, with planting and mulching going on until around 3pm. Most of the planting will happen along the border of Montagu Road as a ‘woodland fringe’ to help block air pollution. There are also plans to plant small copses for fruit and nut trees on the mound.

The event is being organised by Trees for Cities and is backed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who wants to turn London into the UK’s first ‘National Park City’. The mayor’s initiative chimes perfectly with one of the five principal goals of Bountagu, which is to improve the local environment, so it’s an opportunity too good to miss.

St Peter’s Church on Bounces Road is also involved in the tree-planting event. Inside the church is a plaque listing the names of the 143 men in the parish who were killed in the First World War. As part of the centenary commemorations of the end of the war, 143 trees will be planted on a specially designated area of Montagu Rec. Residents who live in the houses once occupied by these heroes are invited to come and plant a tree in their memory.

After the planting event, there will be a celebration at St Peter’s Church. Everyone is welcome to join us!