Pollution-busting trees given new home

London Plane trees are some of London’s most popular – in fact, the trees make up around half of all trees in the capital. There are hundreds of them amongst the 6,000 trees that have been planted on the Park.  But did you know that they also play a vital role in cleaning up our air? London Plane tree bark can absorb some of the pollutants on our streets, meaning we don’t have to breathe them in.

Last week, six trees, which were planted in the park in 2013 and are around fifteen years old, have been removed from their previous location in the Park as part of construction work on UCL’s new campus, UCL East. Instead of felling the trees, the Park and its construction contractor worked to move them to a new home at the Barking Riverside development. More than 10,000 new homes are being built there as part of the one of the UK’s largest new housing projects.

The trees were removed from the Park by carefully lifting them along with their roots. After being lifted, the trees were moved to their new home, where they will help create more green space for the development. 

The trees can live for centuries and grow up to 35 metres tall, meaning they will be able to absorb pollution at their new home for many years to come.

Mark Camley, Executive Director of Park Operations and Venues at the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:

“We’ve worked closely with our partners to make sure that new development is as sustainable as possible. I’m thrilled that we’ve found such a valuable new home for these London Plane trees, showing our continued commitment to making the 2012 Games the most sustainable ever.”

David Watkinson, Barking Riverside Limited’s Planning, Design and Communications Director said:

“We’re pleased to be working in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation to rehome these mature London Plane trees at Barking Riverside. As one of the UK’s largest and most important new housing projects, with a truly unique riverside-location and remarkably diverse ecological landscape, we are committed to helping cultivate London’s green space – moving trees from the Olympic Park to Barking Riverside will help us do just that.”

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was recently recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best green spaces in the world. The Park was among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks to receive a prestigious Green Flag Award, which is a sign that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.