Trees bid uprooted

COUNCIL bosses pulled out of a record-breaking bid to plant up to 20,000 saplings in a tree desert . They abandoned plans for the one-hour, Guinness world record challenge at Parsloes Park, Dagenham. The park was identified by London Mayor Boris Johnson

COUNCIL bosses pulled out of a record-breaking bid to plant up to 20,000 saplings in a tree "desert''.

They abandoned plans for the one-hour, Guinness world record challenge at Parsloes Park, Dagenham.

The park was identified by London Mayor Boris Johnson as one of 40 such hotpsots in the capital, writes JOHN PHILLIPS.

Barking and Dagenham cited "short timescales" for scrapping the attempt, though it had more than a month to prepare for the BBC-organised 'Tree O'Clock' event on December 5.

The BBC was left "disappointed" while red-faced council chiefs apologised.

In May, Mr Johnson expanded the planting programme to 40 "tree-starved" areas, including Dagenham.

Most Read

This followed a London Assembly report, entitled "Chainsaw Massacre", which revealed that the borough had the third lowest number of street trees in outer London in 2007 - 4,500 - and had lost 133 in five years.

A council spokesman said: "After careful consideration we have not been able to accommodate the scheme, particularly within the short timescales available, into the borough's strategic parks and open spaces plan.''

The spokesman added: "On behalf of the council I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused to the BBC and its partners and we hope to be able to work closely with these partners at some point in the future."

The record attempt was part of the BBC's "Breathing Places'' initiative.

A spokeswoman for the Corporation said: "While it is disappointing that Barking and Dagenham will not be able to take part, we appreciate that local authorities have to take decisions based on the needs of their communities."

l Current tree-planting world record, set in Aberdeenshire in 2006, is 18,124.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter