FOR the second year in a row, Barking and Dagenham has joined cities worldwide including San Francisco, Washington DC and Barcelona, to be recognised as a ‘tree city of the world’.

The international programme celebrates cities across all continents that meet core standards for the care and planning of urban trees and forests. Although not a city, Barking and Dagenham received the backing of the scheme’s organisers, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), along with the Arbor Day Foundation, to earn the global award.

6,500 trees line the streets of Barking and Dagenham and, in the last year, the council has planted a new woodland called the ‘Forest of Thanks’ to say thank you to all key workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Councillor Syed Ghani, cabinet member for the public realm, said: “It’s a great honour to get this really prestigious award two years in a row and in recognition of all the fantastic work we’ve been doing to green the borough, even during these challenging times. In the last year, we have managed to plant an additional 410 trees in our streets, parks and amenity spaces, and we were lucky enough to receive 1,654 hours of planting work from our enthusiastic volunteers.”

Councillor Saima Ashraf, deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, added: “To be recognised as a Tree City, a community has to meet core standards to show its commitment to caring for its trees and forests, and this is so important to us. We’re particularly proud of our Forest of Thanks, which we planted last year as a permanent woodland tribute to all our frontline workers, consisting of 28,000 trees.”

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