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Green new era taking root at tree nursery

Ealing Council has delivered on its commitment to plant more than 30,000 trees and saplings in the borough over the last few years and there are now an estimated quarter of a million trees across the local area.

This is because enhancing green spaces and protecting nature are vital aspects of both the council’s climate action commitments and its plan to improve biodiversity.

And local people have a vital part to play,too. The council is supporting community and volunteer projects that are helping to secure a more environmentally friendly future with tree planting and ‘greening’ at the forefront of this action.

Growing support from the community 

Working with local volunteers, the council’s tree planting programme has already seen the creation of a nut orchard in Elthorne Park, a partnership with the national organisation Trees for Cities to plant more than 370 trees on the Racecourse Estate in Northolt, and the planting of an amazing 15,000 trees and saplings along the Greenford to Gurnell Greenway.

Now, rangers from the council’s parks team are supporting an ongoing community project at Horsenden Hill to create a tree nursery where saplings can grow and develop into trees for future planting wherever they are needed in the borough.

Park ranger Jon Staples is working with volunteers from the Friends of Horsenden Hill on the project.

He explained: “There are roughly 5,000 hedging and tree saplings in the nursery at the moment; with up to 4,000 further saplings due to come in the near future. These have mainly been supplied free of charge by charities Carbon Footprint and the Woodland Trust.

“The trees will be used to fill gaps in woodland and canopy coverage and in hedging in parks across the borough. There is currently more opportunity and space for hedging than is available for large scale tree planting, with hedges providing excellent and long-lasting boundaries that can become stronger and more durable than fencing, while providing wildlife habitats and also bearing fruit and berries.

“We could potentially grow trees into standards for streets and parks here too. Next season we plan to expand the tree nursery and, with oak being such an important and iconic species for the borough, we could possibly grow our own from locally harvested seed in the future.”

‘Urgent action needed’

Councillor Deirdre Costigan, the council’s cabinet member for climate action, said: “Planting 32,000 trees over the last few years is a huge achievement, particularly for the brilliant volunteers who work alongside our park rangers.

“But we still have big ambitions to do more and it’s really encouraging to see the great work being done at Horsenden Hill, tree nursery which is going to help us build on this success in the future.

“We need to urgently address the climate crisis or people right here in our borough are going to feel its effects in the future – that could be food shortages, extreme weather patterns, drought or flooding.

“That is why we are taking decisive action, including not just tree planting on the largest scale yet, but the creation of more wildflower meadows and green spaces across the borough.  This will help soak up harmful carbon dioxide and support our flower, insect and bird populations to flourish.”

International summit, local action

COP26, an international conference on climate action is taking place in November. World leaders are seeking consensus on how to transform the way we power our homes and businesses, grow our food, develop infrastructure, and move ourselves and goods around to avert the dangerous course we are currently on.

You can find out more about COP26 and its aims with our explainer article.

It is also a great time to think about how you can personally make a difference in combating climate crisis, because simple steps made by local people can make a difference. Local climate action hub, ActForEaling, features 10 top tips to help us all contribute to a positive future.

Councillor Costigan continued: “I know residents across Ealing are keen to be part of the solution and look to see how they can make changes to their daily lives to ensure a greener future. The council is working to hit net zero emissions by 2030 and we know that we all need to get involved to achieve this. 

“We have agreed a new set of priorities for the council that puts tackling the climate emergency at the very top of our list. From retrofititng council homes and expanding our cycle network to re-wilding our borough, we are making a difference here in Ealing.”

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