Thousands of trees to be planted in Havering as part of Hainault Forest extension

Shorthorn cattle grazing over Hainault Forest. Picture: Ken Mears

Shorthorn cattle grazing over Hainault Forest. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Thirty-five thousand trees are to be planted in Havering after plans were announced to extend Hainault Forest.

The Woodland Trust has been awarded just under £495,000 for the project, which aims to create a wildlife corridor between the woodland and Hainault Forest Country Park in Redbridge.

The trees will be planted over a two-year period and will cover a 26 hectare area of land.

The funding for the project has been approved by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a bid to improve access to the green belt.

Jenny Scholfield, the Woodland Trust’s south east director, said: “We welcome the commitment to make London a greener city and are delighted to be part of this through our plans to extend Hainault Forest.

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“The creation of new woodland will provide an important buffer for the ancient woodland of Hainault Forest, establish new habitat in which wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy.

“We are grateful for the mayor’s support in enabling this to happen.”

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The project will enable year-round public access to previously private land and the tree planting will begin in November.

Community planting days are to take place with volunteers expected to take part to encourage a “sense of ownership”, a spokesman for the mayor revealed.

Mr Khan said: “More than ever, London’s green spaces are not only vital to people’s mental and physical wellbeing, but also to reducing inequality across the city. 

“I want the announcement to show how we can lead the way kickstarting a green recovery in London, continuing to prioritise the new green spaces that will help deliver huge social and environmental benefits that Londoners deserve.”

The Hainault Forest extension project was also backed by Londonwide assembly member Alison Moore.

She added: “This vital initiative, boosted by City Hall funding, will help to open up a significant swathe of green space to thousands of local people.

“Coming out of the first Covid-19 outbreak, projects like these are essential to bolstering a green-led recovery and ensuring that communities across our capital have more equal access to outdoor space.

“This new wildlife corridor will also play an important role in boosting biodiversity in the borough and protecting Hainault’s ancient woodland for generations to come.”

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