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Churches urged to join tree-planting initiative

24 February 2017


Native species: from left: the Bishops of London, Chelmsford, and Salisbury; London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues; and the Bishop of Southwark, at the launch of Trees for Sacred Spaces

Native species: from left: the Bishops of London, Chelmsford, and Salisbury; London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues...

CHURCHES in Greater London are being urged to sign up to a tree-planting scheme that seeks to make the capital one of the greenest cities in the world.

The Conservation Foundation’s in­­itiative Trees for Sacred Spaces, which was launched on Thursday of last week, has identified more than 600 churchyards or areas of church land where native species could be planted to support bees and
other pollinators. It will encompass parishes in the dioceses of London and Southwark, and parts of Chelms­­­ford and Rochester dioceses.

The foundation is offering haw­thorn, wild cherry, bird cherry, whitebeam, crab apple, and rowan saplings, and hopes that churches will organise events involving other faiths to celebrate and enhance the environment. Any church without a suitable space will be encouraged to donate a tree to a local school or community garden.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, said: “In our global city, in this interconnected world, practising love of our neighbours means looking after the natural environment that we share”. The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, de­­scribed the scheme as “an in­­nova­tive way of contributing to the life of London’s communities by improv­ing the city’s air quality and also brightening its public spaces”.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: “To plant a tree is to invest in someone else’s future.” In the Rochester diocese, where the archdeaconry of Bromley and Bexley will join the project, the Archdeacon, the Ven. Dr Paul Wright, said: “Anything that reminds us of God’s wonderful created order is a very good thing. Trees are a powerful sign of this beauty and stability.”

The director of the Conservation Foundation, David Shreeve, said: “A fifth of the capital is already covered by trees, but some parts are short of greenery. Churches can play an important role in helping to make these areas look and feel better by planting one of the trees.”

For details of how to get involved, visit www.conservationfoundation.co.uk/churchyardtrees.

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