A river run dry should make us think

Friday, 22nd July

Keel_Trees and heat_photo Alex Keel

Why are trees being cut back?

• THE Mayor of London’s policy is to be “…increasing tree canopy cover by 10 per cent by 2050” – see https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/parks-green-spaces-and-biodiversity/trees-and-woodlands/tree-canopy-cover-map

This stance is reflected in Islington Council’s own tree policy – see https://www.islington.gov.uk/planning/trees-and-landscape/tree-policy

The Royal Horticultural Society makes recommendation as to pollarding of trees – see https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/types/trees/pollarding – stating that: “The best time for pollarding many trees and shrubs is in late winter or early spring”.

It is with a sense of despair that I see many trees being cut and pollarded heavily in Islington, particularly in light of human-induced global warming and the extreme temperatures.

Why are trees being cut back when the foliage, badly needed for photosynthesis, is being entirely removed (see picture above)? It seems irresponsible property ownership.

One might even think that owners could “stretch” Islington’s generous “auto-renewal” of planning approvals where trees are concerned.

In contrast to what is happening in London, it seems that the French have the right ideas for developments in Paris, as this Guardian report shows: See here.

It is planned to plant hundreds of trees around Notre Dame as well as installing a large water feature, utilising collected under-ground rainwater: such projects demonstrate an acute awareness that water features and trees have the capacity of reducing the temperature of the surrounding area. This is particularly important in an already overheated, overly dense, developed, city such as London.

Despite even the Royal Institute of British Architects acknowledging net-zero, sustainability and climate challenge, see https://www.architecture.com/about/policy/climate-action/2030-climate-challenge/resources sadly, the majority of London’s developments are largely devoid of any thought beyond creating more housing; as the Holloway Prison development shows.

The taller the denser the development the better, accompanied by a complete lack of environmental concern?

Thirty well-designed, low-rise, buildings, with a big park and pond in the middle, would be far more forward-looking than a short-sighted “mini- Manhattan” in an area that has no high-rise blocks. Notably this was approved well after the Royal Institute of British Architects issued their guidance.

London, by virtue of its lack of proper tree canopy cover and lack of water features in every development, is turning into a desert of dust, steel, concrete and asphalt.

Should the extreme heat that has beset much of Europe, with wildfires burning in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece not teach us better?

Should the fact that a 400-mile long river in Italy (the Po) has run dry not make us think?

The Thames is only 215 miles long.


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