Artists unite to save trees

Exhibition explores beauty of trees scheduled for the chop, writes Linda Green

Walthamstow Town Square

A row of lime trees in Walthamstow Town Square is under threat

As City Hall announces its intention to clean up London’s air, Waltham Forest Council is proposing to fell 80 historic trees at Walthamstow Town Square and Gardens.

An area of high pollution in the town centre, the trees would make way for a large redevelopment scheme. In response, 17 local artists have created work both to celebrate the beauty and highlight the benefits of these healthy and mostly mature trees.

An exhibition, Reading Between the Limes, is on display at Walthamstow Village Windows Gallery until Sunday 2nd December. Previously exhibited at the Winns Gallery in Walthamstow for three days in October, it attracted over 700 visitors.

The exhibition highlights the contradiction between the council’s cleaner air ambitions and their willingness to approve such a reduction in green space and the felling of mature trees. Planned for the square is an expanded shopping mall and luxury residential development – and felling of 41 out of the 65 trees in ‘Lime Tree Walk’ to improve the view of the new shops.

One visitor to the Winns Gallery exhibition said: “I hope the councillors and developers come to see this exhibition and re-think their decision. If not, let’s bombard them with art. The council obviously does not know what makes the ‘stow attractive to live in – low-rise housing and green spaces.”

Personally, I believe these magnificent trees have historical, environmental, and aesthetic value. Some of the lime trees have been here for at least a century; to remove them simply to channel footfall to a new retail space would be an act of vandalism.

For every mature tree felled, 100 new ones would need to be planted for any environmental equivalence. Evidence shows that mature trees are good for capturing carbon and combating pollution as well as for mental health and wellbeing.

So what can you do to help? The artists are encouraging people to give feedback to the council and ask them to reconsider the redevelopment, minimising the irreparable loss of these trees.

Sign the Reading Between The Limes petition:
Visit change.org

Follow the Save Our Square campaign group:
Facebook /SaveOurSquareE17
Twitter @SaveSquareE17

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