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Biggest ‘mini urban forest’ in Europe planted in Dagenham

NatWest Group has teamed up with partners including The Conservation Volunteers to create the largest ‘tiny forest’ in Europe, at a park in Dagenham.

The partnership, which also includes Coutts, Barking & Dagenham Council, Thames Chase Community Forest, SUGI and Wild Urban Spaces, have worked with the bank to create six new mini urban forests in Parsloes Park.

The Forest of Thanks and Remembrance will combine remembrance with a permanent place of appreciation for all the efforts of frontline workers in the borough throughout the crisis. 

While providing Dagenham’s community with six small forests, connected by wildflower trails and spanning one hectare of Parsloes Park, the project also has a number of environmental benefits. 

The forests have been planted using the Miyawkai planting method – a process that helps build dense, native forests and the approach is designed to encourage tree growth that is up to 10 times faster. 

Within four years of planting, the trees in the forests have the potential to absorb between 24,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the trees’ lifetime. The forests will also increase the area’s biodiversity and improve air quality.

Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable Banking at NatWest Group, said: “At NatWest Group, our aim is to be a leading UK bank addressing the climate change challenge. We have committed to our operations being climate positive by 2025 and with our partners at The Conservation Volunteers charity, we want to plant 100,000 more trees in the next 12 months which will benefit the environment and give communities natural environments they can enjoy.”

Darren York, CEO of The Conservation Volunteers, said: “The Conservation Volunteers is a UK charity that connects people and green spaces, through activities such as tree planting, to tackle the climate and ecological emergency and provide lasting outcomes for people, communities and nature.

“We’re proud to be a part of this fantastic partnership which will employ both traditional and innovative new tree planting methods and Parsloes Park, a valuable local green space.” 

Ten thousand of the trees in Parsloes Park have been planted on behalf of Coutts and forms part of the wealth manager and private bank’s wider plan to plant a tree for every customer that signs up to ‘go paperless’. 

It is the first in a series of mini urban forest projects in the UK being planned by NatWest Group and The Conservation Volunteers. The banking group is aiming to plant 100,000 more trees across a number of UK sites in 2021.

Kings College London will be supporting the project with data research and analysis to compare the environmental benefits of the Miyawkai plantation method with the more traditional tree planting method used in the UK. Sensors will be installed across the forests to collect data.

NatWest Group has set out a number of ambitious commitments and targets to help it become a leading UK bank helping to tackle the climate challenge. This includes being the banking sponsor of the COP26 climate summit, which take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

To find out more about The Conservation Volunteers visit: https://www.tcv.org.uk/