The independent London newspaper

We won’t have a greener borough by killing trees

04 April, 2020

Trees outside Dixon Clark Court

• THE recent letters and feature about the proposed felling of trees on Highbury Corner outside Dixon Clark Court raises some important issues about the importance of nature for our cities.

These trees were planted when the block of flats was built in 1967, over 50 years ago. Any new trees planted to replace them will take the same time to reach that state of maturity, despite the pretty pictures in the architects’ plans.

The trees in question are maple, sycamore and horse chestnut, all of which produce not only leaves but flowers, which also provide pollen and nectar for bees.

Bees pollinate flowers, as do other insects that feed from the trees, which also provide food for birds. Birds either live in such trees or sit in their branches and regale each other (and us) with song. This is not to mention the thousands of tiny insects and bugs that live in trees.

All these creatures are part of an ecosystem which is vital to the health of nature, whether in cities or the countryside. They should not be destroyed lightly.

With its commitment to “creating a cleaner, greener Islington” (Spring edition of IslingtonLife), Islington Council is well aware of all this and of the importance of trees for air quality.

It is also in the process of establishing School Streets with restricted vehicle access. So why is it proposing to cut down these amazing trees right next door to a primary school?

The council is also fully aware of the importance of greenery for mental, as well as physical health. It is doing a commendable job of landscaping and planting in public parks such as Highbury Fields.

Unfortunately, these trees are not in a public park but they definitely are part of a public landscape. Many of us walk past them every day.

We should not underestimate what this does for our psychological wellbeing and what their loss would entail.

As the founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, said at the height of industrialisation in the late 19th century: “We want some beautiful things for our daily enjoyment, and near us. Not on rare holidays, not for those who have money, but day by day as their surroundings.”

I think this is so relevant to this case, today.

Offord Road, N1


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