Islington’s urban forest project gets cash injection

The Car-Free Open Space will become a mini-woodland named Islington Forest for Change. Photograph: Islington Clean Air Parents

A mass tree-planting scheme to create an “urban forest” in Islington is getting a £4,400 boost from a council fund for community projects.

Up to 200 trees that formed an interactive installation at London’s Somerset House this summer are being introduced around Islington.

The trees were displayed by artist Es Devlin after she discovered a 250-year-old rule banning trees from the elegant courtyard.

They were donated to Islington Forest for Change and residents were asked to suggest places to plant them.

More than 100 people came up with 300 locations, including housing estates, under-used open spaces, and vacant roadside tree pits.

Residents, community groups and schools will join in community planting events this autumn.

Islington Clean Air Parents raised £17,213 towards transporting and planting the 200 trees. They also secured other funding, including £5,000 sponsorship from businesses.

Islington Council’s tree team will care for them.

One of the project’s founders Lucy Facer said: “These trees signify a healthier future for children in Islington. It is important we take action to improve air quality now, whilst our children are young and so vulnerable to the long-lasting effects of air pollution.”

She added: “The trees will be planted in spaces including parks, schools and housing estates and will increase greenery and reduce air pollution in our borough, which has the least natural space in the UK.”

The £4,400 comes from the council’s local initiatives fund, which councillors can use for priorities in their wards.

Each ward has an allocation of £14,000 to spend on local schemes this  financial year, with the exception of Bunhill and Clerkenwell, which each had an allocation of £14,500.

So far this year councillors have recommended 32 applications from 30 groups and approved schemes totalling £60,782.

They have £182,089 left in the budget for the year.