London mayor urges rethink on borough tree felling plan [updated]

London mayor Sadiq Khan has written to the leader of Wandsworth Council urging a rethink on its planned felling of Chestnut Avenue on Tooting Common.

Image: Gary Knight (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Gary Knight (CC BY 2.0)

"It is clear from the correspondence I have received from local users of the Common that they place a significant value on these beautiful mature trees," Khan wrote in the letter, dated yesterday (13 September).

Also citing recent independent reports questioning the decision to fell the trees, he said: "I would urge you to halt the felling on the trees on Chestnut Avenue, and urgently review the research which has been produced."

The mayor also cited his commitment to increasing London's tree canopy cover by 10% by 2050, and said the Tooting trees provide biodiversity, shade and pollution reduction.

He urged any review of the decision to consider "whether a phased approach to the felling of some trees would ensure that the existing healthy and mature horse chestnut trees are retained", in order to "secure a future for this important landscape feature".

Deputy council leader Cllr Jonathan Cook responded: "As a resident of Tooting the Mayor would have been well aware of this issue more than a year ago. Hundreds of his neighbours managed to take part in the consultation and their overwhelming verdict was to replace these declining trees before they fall down by planting a greater number of semi-mature trees to line the avenue for the next 200 years."

He added: "While the Mayor is chasing headlines, we will carry on planning for the long term and doing everything we can to keeping Tooting Common safe to visit and looking majestic in the years and decades to come."

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