2. The Plane Tree Truth

By Martin Crabbe | June 12 2019

2. The Plane Tree Truth

Blog Category: Campaign updateBlog Tags: Education and Education

  • Profile

    In the run up to London Climate Action Week (1-8 July 2019) I’m going to post a series of blogs entitled ‘Dear London Teacher’. The blogs will promote 33 great practical opportunities available to London schools. This second blog was inspired by the work of Trees for Cities.

    About a month ago I heard that the London Plane Tree is crucial to London’s resilience to the climate emergency. And not only that. It has cool, camouflage bark, cyclists hate it, it’s not that great for biodiversity, it’s an immigrant and if it wasn’t for all the leaky water pipes across London it would have suffered much more already from drought.

    (Actually, I can’t swear all this is true but I like its mythology.)

    So, the tree that keeps London cool, significantly reducing the urban heat island effect, is not necessarily perfect. Yet despite its flaws it’s still doing a great job for London and without it we’d be in trouble.

    I learned all about the London Plane Tree from Trees for Cities (and huge apologies to them and you for any inaccuracies). To be honest, I was pretty shocked that I barely knew anything about this remarkable tree. I thought I could probably, just about, recognise one but I figured it must be a central London tree. In fact I have now discovered that it’s all over London. Even worse, and to my shame, I realised that we had 4 of them in my school  (which is in the south London borough of Bromley). Not only that, one of them is probably the most popular tree in the school as it has a tyre swing on it!!

    And just as I’m getting to know this awesome tree I find out that the whole of London’s Plane Tree population is under threat by a disease spreading up from France!!

    Who knows what the future will bring the London Plane Tree but I feel that I should be more involved. I agree with Trees for Cities that the London Plane is a great emblem for London’s response to the climate emergency.

    I have a lot of research to do but at least I know what tree I’m swinging on for the time being!

    Trees for Cities are one of the fantastic projects across London that inspired us to develop our third lesson plan ‘Practical Ways to Reduce London’s Climate Risks’. We have included a link to some work by Trees for Cities in our lesson plan (along with many others) but check them out. They not only provide a great service but regularly run innovative schools programmes as well. Click here to go to our four free lesson plans for London Climate Action Week.


  • Photos
  • Project

Martin Crabbe