Ilford South MP Mike Gapes plants trees in Ilford as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

MP for Ilford South planred five trees. Picture: Offiice of Mike Gapes

MP for Ilford South planred five trees. Picture: Offiice of Mike Gapes - Credit: Archant

MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, joined more than 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy - a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees - two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel were planted in South Park, South Park Drive, Ilford, on Friday November 2.

They were donated to Mr Gapes thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which in April screened a documentary - The Queen’s Green Planet.

At the heart of the film was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranged from climate change, to conkers and of course trees, and was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year.

In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers and also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.

Mr Gapes said: “I am delighted to support this very imaginative and important project, and am pleased that the South Park Users Group have organised this planting in one of the best small parks in Redbridge.

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“I know that the residents of Ilford South will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight added: “We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

“We all need trees -they are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity.

“They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe.”

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said:“As the Woodland Trust’s largest corporate partner, we’re committed to raising awareness of the importance of the UK’s woods and trees, and contributing to their conservation.”

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