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NEWS RELEASE No: 1627229 MAY 2014

Inspirational tree projects recognised at London Tree & Woodland Awards

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People and projects working hard to keep London green have been recognised at an awards ceremony held at London City Hall on Wednesday 28 May.

The RE:LEAF Tree and Woodland Awards, organised by the Forestry Commission and Mayor of London and supported by the RE:LEAF partnership, reward all those who devote their time and efforts to improving London’s trees and woodlands.

Matthew Pencharz (the Mayor’s Senior Environment Advisor) and Ian Gambles (Forestry Commission England Director) presented awards for a wide range of innovative and inspiring projects including:

• Business led street tree planting in Lambeth to enhance the retail environment and street scene, engaging the community via social media
• Woodland management in Haringey that generates wood products, increases biodiversity and raises awareness about the benefits of active management
• Community led tree planting in Hackney, including a tree nursery and training of volunteers on tree and woodland skills
• Woodland management  and access improvement involving school children and local scout groups
• Blue Tree art based project as part of the City of London festival, to raise awareness of the trees around the city
• Work by Al Smith, Arboricultural Manager at Camden Borough, for his professional contribution to enhancing the treescape in London

Some of the winning projects have had assistance from the Mayor’s Street Tree Initiative or Community Grant Scheme, and the Forestry Commission’s English Woodland Grant Scheme or Big Tree Plant. At the awards, Matthew Pencharz announced the opening of the third round of the Street tree Initiative and Community Grant Scheme.

Forestry Commission England’s Director, Ian Gambles, said:

“For centuries London’s trees have added shade and elegance to the city. Today their complex role in mitigating the effects of a changing climate makes them even more important. The people and projects that have won awards tonight are an inspiration and give confidence that the capital’s trees are in good hands”

Matthew Pencharz, The Mayor’s Senior Environment Advisor, said:

“London’s beautiful trees, parks and green spaces help make our capital one of the most attractive places to live in the world. The great individuals and projects recognised by these awards help to protect, conserve and boost our environment. It’s brilliant to see so many schemes encouraging local people to get involved in tree planting and maintenance and I am pleased to announce that applications are now open for the third round of the Mayor’s Street Tree Initiative and RE:LEAF Community Grant Scheme.”

London’s trees help make the city one of the most attractive capitals in the world to live, work and do business in. In addition, the trees and woodlands provide a range of benefits such as cleaning the air, reducing flooding and pollution and providing shade.

During summer 2014, nearly 300 volunteers will be involved in the London iTree project, which is the largest iTree survey of a city region in the world.
The survey will highlight the benefits of London’s trees and present this in monetary terms. The aim is for people and local authorities to further recognise the many contributions trees make to urban environments and consider them in a similar way to services such as highways and street lighting.

Notes for Editors

RE:LEAF Partnership
The RE:LEAF partnership, led by the Mayor, has brought together key organisations to help boost tree cover through a range of initiatives. These include the development of community orchards and tree-nurseries, mass tree planting events and voluntary tree warden schemes.

The RE:LEAF initiative is encouraging individuals, businesses and organisations to plant more trees in the capital and value the social and environmental benefits of trees. The partnership has brought together key organisations to boost tree cover through a range of initiatives including the development of community orchards and tree-nurseries, mass tree planting events and voluntary tree warden schemes.

Background to the 2014 Awards
The RE:LEAF Tree and Woodland Awards are held annually and aim to recognise committed individuals, enterprising groups and organisations, and excellent projects that have promoted and enhanced the conservation and management of trees and woodlands in London. The awards are being held jointly by the Mayor of London and the Forestry Commission and are sponsored by Acres Wild Woodlands, Advanced Tree Services, Bartletts Tree Experts, Gristwood & Toms and the Woodland Trust.

The aims of the awards are to:

• To celebrate the work of individuals, communities and professionals to protect, improve and expand the capital’s tree and woodland cover

• To inspire others to manage their trees and woodlands

• To raise the profile of London’s trees / woodlands and the need for management

• To promote other complimentary initiatives that contribute to the RE:LEAF vision

The 2014 award categories and winners are:

• The RE:LEAF Acorn Award  - An award for an individual member of the public who has made a particular contribution to promoting or conserving trees.
Winner: Annie Chipchase – for 25 years of dedication to increasing and improving Hackneys treescape. Annie is the linchpin of the community tree nursery, teaching volunteers and changing people’s views of trees.

• The Community Tree Award - An award for tree projects that have been inspired, driven, and delivered by local community groups.
Winner: Hackney Tree People & Tree Musketeers – for a long term project that has engaged numerous partnerships and communities in the planting and management of Hackney’s trees. The professional implementation of the project and innovative approaches such as the Tree Calendar were particularly noted.

• The Community Woodland Award - An award for woodland projects that have been inspired, driven, and delivered by local community groups. 
Winner: Haringey woodlands including Coldfall & Queen’s Woods – for exemplary woodland management in an urban area. It highlights the ability to carry out productive and biodiversity improving operations in a sustainable manner, with the support and involvement of the local community.

• The RE:LEAF Creative Award - For the most innovative and creative piece of work that evokes the value and beauty of trees in London.
Winner: The Blue Tree Project (Trees for Cities and City of London) – for a thought provoking art project that raised awareness of the trees in central London that are normally taken for granted on a day to day basis. It provided the opportunity to explain the issues and opportunities of urban trees and generate new volunteer interest.

• The Street Tree Award - An award for projects that improve the street scene and are valued by local residents and/or businesses.
Winner: The Lane & Vale Tree Coalition – for a project that was driven by local businesses and residents, with innovative community engagement via social media, to plant 300 trees in Streatham Bridge

• The Tree Council Trees and Learning Award - An award for a project that has engaged and involved children of any age up to 16.  The winner receives a £300 prize from The Tree Council towards further work on their project.
Winner: Transforming Well Wood – for the engagement of children through interactive woodland workshops, logo design for the woodland trail, improved access and tree planting works in Bromley

• The London Tree Officers Association Individual Commitment Award - An award for an individual employed professionally within London who has shown consistent dedication and commitment over a prolonged period.
Winner: Al Smith, Camden Borough – for your long term professional dedication to arboriculture and urban forestry in London, making Camden a beacon of urban forest management. The Committee and awards panel were particularly impressed by your leading role in developing tree management systems, including the use of innovative GIS and field based technology. Nominations highlighted the training and mentoring role that you have provided numerous tree officers coming through the Camden ranks, and your support for the LTOA over many years including office space has been highly valued.

For a full list of RE:LEAF Award winners, visit:

London Tree Week 2014
After starting in 2013, the 2nd London Tree Week runs from 24th to 31st May. For details of the events taking place, go to

A film about the RE:LEAF Community Grant Scheme can be viewed at: