Concern for the future of the 121,000 London planes growing in and around the centre of the capital, which have defined its landscape for more than a century and are now under real threat, is bringing together tree experts, local authorities, tree officers, environmentalists, scientists, landscape designers and architects to a conference organised by The Conservation Foundation at London’s City Hall tomorrow, Wednesday 10 July.
The London Plane population (Platanus x hispanica), which makes up some of London’s most cherished landmarks including the Embankment, Berkeley Square, Pall Mall and Park Lane, is ageing and is also at risk from redevelopment, deteriorating air quality, public spending cuts, drought and climate change. Disease too is a very real danger with canker stain of plane (Ceratocystis platani), which destroyed the 42,000 planes which lined the majestic Canal du Midi, now reported to have spread as far north as Paris.
How to prepare for and manage the short and long term challenges facing the plane, which thrives in difficult urban conditions and provides vital benefits to the cityscape and urban environment, will be explored by speakers including environmentalist and campaigner Professor Chris Baines, Paul Wood, author of London’s Street Trees, Dr Ana Perez-Sierra, Head of Tree Health Diagnostic & Advisory Service at Forest Research, Greg Packman, Senior Tree Inspector of Islington Council, Matt Brown, Editor-at-Large of The Londonist and Barbara Milne, City of Westminster and London Tree Officers Association. The aim of the conference is to lay the foundation for a programme of international networking and concern, which will prove vital for Brussels, Paris, Berlin, New York and Washington, where, like London, streets and parks are defined by plane trees.
The London Plane Tree Conference, organised by The Conservation Foundation, takes place from 2pm to 5pm at City Hall, London on Wednesday 10 July.