A collection of trees are being planted in Victoria Park to honour the nations who participated in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As part of National Tree Week, the Park is to have 22 new trees, and thousands of seedlings are being planted in other parks across Tower Hamlets. A further 150 trees will also be planted across the borough, with species ranging from chestnut to elm.
Victoria Park was transformed into a live streaming site this July and August as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Games were shown on a huge screen to provide thousands of people free access.
The trees being planted originate from different areas of the world, to represent each country that participated in the Games. Some of the trees being introduced to the park are the Atlas cedar from the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, magnolia and liriodendron from Asia, cider gum from Australasia, and the monkey puzzle tree from South America.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “The new trees will enrich the park’s current collection and symbolise the unity of the Olympic Games. The whole borough will benefit from thousands of trees being planted, making Tower Hamlets a better place to live.”
National Tree Week was started by the Tree Council in 1975 to help maintain the tree population, after the Dutch Elm disease destroyed millions of trees. Ever since, the organisation has held the National Tree Week to encourage tree planting.
This year’s tree planting is especially important due to the current ash dieback disease which is spreading in trees throughout the UK. The fungal infection has already killed 95 per cent of the Danish ash population.
Pauline Black, director general of The Tree Council, said that because of the consequences of the ash dieback disease, National Tree Week will be even more important this year. Black explained: “The campaign now carries particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback. Anyone with land of their own, whether it be a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference by planting a tree.”
National Tree Week will finish on December 2, although trees will still be planted throughout this year’s tree-planting season, which ends in March 2013.
Tower Hamlets Councillor Shahed Ali, cabinet member for environment said: “Trees provide many benefits to the environment, people and wildlife. They provide a habitat for wildlife, act as an air purifier, help to soak up surface water to prevent flooding and make the borough more attractive.”
2012 marks the Tree Council’s 38th annual National Tree Week. Every year, over half a million people participate in tree planting events arranged by Tree Council members, organisations, volunteers and local community groups from across the country.