Children from John Perry Primary School joined environmental charity Trees for Cities in marking the launch of a new tree-planting project. A total of 9 trees will take root across Barking & Dagenham, helping to make its streets healthier and greener. Each location and species of tree has been carefully chosen to bring maximum benefit to residents. The new trees will add character and colour to the local environment, and raise air quality for old and young alike.

On Thursday, 6 local primary school children were joined by Deputy Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, Cllr Saima Ashraf to help plant a community tree on Rainham Road South. The kids were supplied with gloves and a trowel, and were also given a talk on science, pollution mitigation and looking after the planet. The project is part of a UK-wide initiative, developed by Trees for Cities in partnership with New World Payphones. New World Payphones is replacing ageing phone boxes with touch-screen booths that combine Wi-Fi, interactive maps and payphone services.

For every phone box upgraded, a new tree will be planted, with a nationwide total of up to 1,000. Trees for Cities will maintain the trees for 3 years before training staff at New World Payphones, who will then take over their care. This planting season – running till the end of March – the project will include a total of 14 London boroughs, with a minimum of 150 trees scheduled for planting across the capital.

David Elliott, CEO at Trees for Cities, said: “Trees are one of the most vital elements of liveable and healthy cities. They help create spaces that promote physical activity, reduce mental illness, and enhance community cohesion and a reconnection with nature. Our cities’ environments and tree stocks face multiple risks and threats, and their futures are integrally tied to the actions of the business sector. The leadership and vision that New World Payphones has demonstrated in supporting and promoting this programme is truly inspirational.”

Justin Cochrane, CEO of Clear Channel UK the company that own New World Payphones said: “New World Payphones are helping enhance high streets across London and the rest of the UK with hundreds of beautifully-designed, British-built phone kiosks – all offering vital telephone services, free public Wifi and interactive local area maps. As part of this ambitious project, I’m delighted that we are working with Trees for Cities to plant up to 1000 urban trees – helping leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”