The scale of the challenge
At 28%, Merton has one of the highest proportions of tree cover of any London borough. Vegetation in Merton, particularly our ~220,000 trees, only captures a small fraction (0.1%) of Merton's emissions each year. However, trees can play an important role in increasing our resilience to the impacts of climate change (such as overheating and flooding), improving air quality, and providing wildlife habitats which help maintain and increase biodiversity.
Merton will aim to increase tree cover by 10% by 2050, potentially equivalent to planting around 800 trees every year to 2050. The main opportunities to plant trees are likely to be on private land such as gardens, which hold around two thirds of the trees in Merton.
What you can do
Step 1 - Green your own home or business
- Maximise the amount of vegetation where possible: from adding a window box, to removing paving, installing a green roof or adding sustainable drainage on your land.
- Plant trees on your land - planting a suitable tree can save several tonnes of carbon if allowed to grow to maturity.
- Take up free tree offers available through organisations such as the Woodland Trust.
Step 2 - Support public or community tree planting
- Support community planting by joining a volunteer group, such as the Merton Tree Wardens, a "Friends of" groups such as the Friends of Morden Park - Morden Park & Playing Fields Association or a community gardening group such as Mitcham Community Orchard and Gardens or Phipps Bridge Community Garden.
- If you want to improve a space for wildlife, contact Habitats and Heritage's green hubs project or become a National Park City Ranger.
- Get your business to sponsor local tree planting events.
- Water newly planted street trees.
- Get involved with Merton Garden Streets - a volunteer-led initiative by local residents and businesses in the borough of Merton to make our streets greener. Through encouraging street and front garden planting, together residents are improving community well-being and delivering important environmental benefits, such as increasing wildlife, improving air quality, and helping to prevent flooding.
Step 3 - Get involved in our Climate Action Group
The Greening Merton sub-group will be looking at how we can increase tree cover in Merton.
Step 4 Spread the word
In order to become a net-zero carbon borough, everyone working or living in Merton is going to need to play their part. You can help spread the word to get your friends, family and co-workers involved in greening Merton.
What we will do
- Ensure through our new Local Plan that, where possible, new developments protect existing vegetation, and add new green cover to mitigate the impacts of climate change such as overheating, flooding and loss of biodiversity.
- Work with organisations to develop a tree strategy.
- Plant new trees on public land and council-managed green spaces, and take opportunities to introduce sustainable drainage systems and green verges to 2050.