Sadiq Khan speaking
Image Source: DIUS Corporate
Rebecca Wayman

The Mayor of London is pledging £9m to make the capital a greener place

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew today (August 30) in Richmond to encourage community groups to apply for his £1m Greener City Fund.

The scheme aims to deliver more trees which provide better air quality, plants and green play areas in every London neighbourhood.

The Mayor plans to protect London’s Green Belt and help make the capital the world’s first National Park City. His £1m Greener City community fund is part of a wider £9m to help schools, local groups and boroughs improve their local environments.

He commented: “In London, we are battling a toxic air health crisis which is contributing to over 9,000 premature deaths every year and damaging our children’s lungs.

“That’s why the scientific research at Kew is so important in helping us look after our environment. Kew’s amazing work is further evidence for why it’s so important in helping us look after our environment.

The Mayor’s visit to Kew Gardens today had him meet horticultural students and scientists to hear more about Kew’s world-class research that helps both the environment and the capital’s health.

These scientists have been involved in research into the traits of different tree species to identify which are better at surviving rapidly changing climates in future environments, all down to their roots, leaf shape and size.

Groups are now able to apply for grants worth between £5,000 and £50k, which can be used for a range of projects from lining walking routes to schools full of higher air quality trees.

This is part of the Mayor’s plan to make half of London go green by 2050. Earlier this month, he launched his draft London Environment Strategy despite scrapping the idea for The Garden Bridge, which would have been a pedestrian bridge and park over the River Thames.

Richard Deverell, director of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, said: “Plants are the foundation of all life but they people to be their champions. Everyone gains [from] them.

“For many years, Kew’s Grow Wild project has encouraged people around the UK to turn grey into green, pink and yellow by planting wildflowers, bringing benefits to their communities in the process.

The Mayor’s London Environment Strategy sets out his plans to launch London as a National City Park at an international summit by Spring 2019.

He continued: “We need more greenery across all of our communities and I want everyone - young and old - to be able to get involved in helping make local areas greener.

“That’s why I’m announcing £1m in green grants for local groups to help create the community gardens, play areas and allotments needed to improve our air and enrich our daily lives.”

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