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Silvertown tree-planting may herald green future

08:00 06 February 2016

Trees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthday

Trees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthday

Archant

A park in the borough just got a lot greener after volunteers planted more than a dozen trees.

Trees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthdayTrees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthday

St John’s Green, in Silvertown, was chosen as the site for 18 of the 50 trees being planted by charity Trees for Cities to mark Newham’s 50th anniversary.

Jessica Massucco, community engagement co-ordinator at the charity, said: “The weather was really nice and it went well.

“People were walking through the park and coming over to see what we were up to – the response was very positive.”

Trees for Cities, which has planted 570,000 trees since its creation in 1993, focusses on increasing air quality and health in cities.

Trees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthdayTrees for Cities planted 50 trees in St John's Green to celebrate Newham's 50th birthday

David Elliott, chief executive of the charity, said: “The threats posed by climate change and the spread of tree pests and diseases mean that London’s urban forest faces an uncertain future.

“We are therefore delighted to be working with the London Borough of Newham to increase tree canopy in the area to increase local biodiversity and provide trees with a greater degree of adaptability and resilience to environmental change.”

Residents can also be proud that their park is now home to a living fossil – the Metasequoia, or dawn redwood.

This Tyrannosaurus rex of the tree kingdom – a close relative of the famously gigantic redwoods on the American West Coast – was thought to have been extinct since at least five and a half million years ago – but was found alive and well in the 1940s.

“The planting team was very excited about it,” Jessica said.

“It was just a fossil for such a long time.”

There is hope, too, that the longevity of the redwoods can contribute to a long-lived green future for the borough.

Councillor Ian Corbett, mayoral adviser for environment and leisure, said: “The trees we plant will be enjoyed by generations to come and help enhance this area around Silvertown.”

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