The benefit of trees for carbon absorption

tree sprouting

Tree sapling growing near the stairs on the path towards the football pitch. It is a tree that nobody removes and can grow to 20m in height.

Whilst a study, carried out in the USA concluded that mature tree forests can absorb and store a lot of carbon emissions, as soon as a tree or shrub gets cut down, all that stored carbon gets released into the atmosphere, which in fact has no benefit at all from an environmental point of view.

One has to calculate the cost against the benefits.

In one of my recent posts I praised the Council for cutting down the shrubs around Rosebery House for the purpose of it being more secure but, the cutting down of shrubs around Rosebery House alone took one garden worker a whole week.

That is a lot of money being spend on 2 housing blocks on a council estate. Taking into account the materials and wages spent, I fully understand that leaseholders complain about their costs.

There is little environmental benefit on growing and cutting bushes and shrubs regularly as all the captured carbon gets released back into the atmosphere.

I have complained to the council about the over planting on the estate and the regular cutting down does little to alleviate the problems.

There would be a much better benefit for mental health and environmental considerations if the current shrubs (which are often cut short trees) get removed and replaced by soft shrubs with softer leafes, which could be fruit shrubs or flowering shrubs, that can also provide a home for small insects and bugs.

There would be much less maintenance required, which is very much cheaper for our residents.

hedghog

Hedghogs live on Parkview and proper planting will support their environment.

The hard leafed shrubs in the Rosebery House area do not attract butterflies or insects or small mammals like hedgehogs., they have no benefit whatsoever with the exception of looking green. In fact their roots could weaken the building structure of the house.

It would be much cheaper to maintain the area and be of more benefits to the residents if we could have the hard leafed shrubs removed and replaced with soft and low level plants.

Some of the trees around Rosebery House have quickly sprouting off-shoots as can be seen in the pic above. They just grow everywhere quickly into tall plants.

As already listed there are recommended distances from trees to buildings and it can actually devalue house insurance if trees are too near and I think the council does not consider this when allowing the over-planting of our estate.

And as there is the myth about oxyden production. I quote a popular site, which says:

“Humans consume 550 L oxygen per day (ref 1). How much plant growth do we need to produce that amount of oxygen? Plants produce 22 L for every 150 g of growth (ref 2). They would need to increase in weight by 3.75 Kg (8 pounds), each day, to produce the oxygen used by one person.” Ref

“It takes six molecules of CO2 to produce one molecule of glucose by photosynthesis, and six molecules of oxygen are released as a by-product. A glucose molecule contains six carbon atoms, so that’s a net gain of one molecule of oxygen for every atom of carbon added to the tree. A mature sycamore tree might be around 12m tall and weigh two tonnes, including the roots and leaves. If it grows by five per cent each year, it will produce around 100kg of wood, of which 38kg will be carbon. Allowing for the relative molecular weights of oxygen and carbon, this equates to 100kg of oxygen per tree per year.

A human breathes about 9.5 tonnes of air in a year, but oxygen only makes up about 23 per cent of that air, by mass, and we only extract a little over a third of the oxygen from each breath. That works out to a total of about 740kg of oxygen per year. Which is, very roughly, seven or eight trees’ worth.” Ref.

 

 

Support during COVID-19

If you wish to support those affected by Corona Virus please register via the central register  on this webpage. If you have ideas on how to improve things please email: covid19@towerhamlets.gov.uk

General council webpage links and advice on http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus

Help for Victims of abuse against women and girls can rely on getting help. If you are in an emergency call 999, if you cannot speak on the phone press 55, which refers your call to a specialist helper who will assist you.

Local support:

  • Tower Hamlets Victim Support IDVA 020 7364 7957/2448 (Monday to Friday 9-5)
  • Victim Support 0808 1689 111 (24 hours)
  • Tower Hamlets Crisis Intervention Service 020 3222 4027 (Monday to Friday 9-5; and weekends 10am-6pm)
  • Legal advice regarding domestic abuse and family law, such as non-molestation orders, child arrangements or divorce – Bowling & Co. Solicitors family@bowlinglaw.co.uk 020 8221 8000 in emergency 07464 925 083
  • Tower Hamlets VAWG Team 0800 279 5434 (Monday to Friday 9-5) or email domestic.violence@towerhamlets.gov.uk
  • Tower Hamlets Housing Options Service Team (HOST) will no longer have a drop-in service. For those at risk of homelessness contact HOST on 020 7364 7474 Monday to Friday 9-5 or after 5pm the emergency number 020 7364 4079
  • Adult Safeguarding team 020 7364 5005
  • Children Safeguarding team 020 7364 3444

National Support

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247; 7 days a week 24 hours
  • LGBT specialist advice on 0800 999 5428 (Monday to Friday 10am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4pm or email help@galop.org.uk
  • Specific Men’s Advice line 0808 801 0327 Monday – Friday
    • 9am – 8pm Monday & Wednesday
    • 9am – 5pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
    • email info@mensadviceline.org.uk
  • Women’s Aid online support service https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/
    • Monday – Friday 10am – 12 pm
  • Hestia provides a free-to-download mobile app, Bright Sky, which hides as a weather app but provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

Other VAWG support

  • Girls aged 14+ or woman and have been a victim of sexual assault you can contact
    • Rape Crisis 0808 802 9999; 12pm – 2.30pm and 7pm-9.30pm each day.
    • for victims age 16+ use the Live online Chat helpline Monday – Friday.
  • Beyond the Streets, support for women who are involved in prostitution 0800 133 7870 or email support@beyondthestreets.org.uk
  • Female Genital Mutilation FGM Engagement Service 020 7377 8725 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.
  • Forced Marriage Unit 020 7008 0151 or email fmuoutreach@fco.gov.uk
  • Stalking and Harrassment 0808 802 0300 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 4pm except for Wednesday when it is open 1pm – 4pm.
  • Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation 08000 121 7000

Perpetrators of abuse who want help

If you are worried how you are treating your partner or family member and want to stop your behaviour, you can contact Respect on 0808 802 4040 or email info@respectphoneline.org.uk

Support Cranbrook gardening

I warmly recommend the neighbouring Cranbrook estate gardening project because they have got sizeable plots and a lot of gardening space, which can support bees, bugs and environmentally friendly resources.

I think that bees need larger areas of garden plants to thrive. I support the Cranbrook project. The difference between Cranbrook and Parkview is that Parkview has no dedicated allotment like areas.

I do not support bees on Parkview because we have no sizeable garden area. On Parkview we have a few fruit trees and patches of wild flowers, that doesn’t give the bees a home area to roost in. Not a lot of people do use their balcony or window box planters on Parkview either.

So please support the commendable Cranbrook project and the dates of their events are:

  • Saturday, 21. March 2020, 11:00 – 14:30 at Cranbrook estate. Planting pollinator patch, bug hotel and bee workshop.
  • Saturday, 25. April 2020, 11:00 – 14:30 at Cranbrook estate, Big Dig and Bird Pamper palace.

 

About the proposed bee colony

So far there has not been any consultation about whether residents and those affected want to have bees on the roof of one of the blocks, which are to be maintained by Hackeny City Farm.

Snowdrop bulbs were planted on the estate to provide food / nectar for the bees during the colder winter month and early spring.

gardeners

The Parkview gardening Volunteers prepare a lawn area for mixed natural habitat planting. Doesn’t it remind us of Extinction Rebellion diggin up the lawn in Cambridge?

My concerns are around the behaviour of the bees in such a close environment to do with pedestrians using the foot pathes. A lot of snowdrop bulbs were planted along the footpath in front of Rosebery House. The path is very busy with small children, parents and residents who either walk past the block or live in it. Also the lawns around Rosebery House have been adapted with bee-friendly plants.

Also we do have a large school in the middle of the estate and the school must be agreeing to having bees nearby whilst children are playing in the playgrounds or having windows open in the summer.

My family kept bees for centuries in the country-side and honey is one of my favourite sweeteners and I am all in favour of bees as very important and instrumental for our food production. But there is a question whether a busy housing estate with a school is the right place to keep a beehive.

I do understand there are bees in the city. But I think there are no housing estates, they are on a law building in Russell Square and the Museum of London, which are different environments.

I think more research needs to be done and questions asked why our estate was chosen for the scheme.

There is now a lot of emphasis on planting fruit trees and fruit bushes and bee-friendly plants. I understand that in other countries fruit trees are planted all around a town. In Copenhagen fruit trees are grown in cities as a project to support the whole city.  There the project is paid for by the Council and the maintenance is the local governments responsibility. Yet this scheme here seems to be only happening on Parkview estate in London and it brings its own problems.

Fruit trees shed fruit and that can cause a problem with removing the rotting fruit, there needs to be planned maintenance. Rotting fruit causes a lot of methane, which is very dangerous for the environment unless the rotting fruit gets recycled, which is again a lot of maintenance in a city environment. Many farmers can’t even recycle their unsold rotting produce. We do have a large fruit tree in Bishops way, the fruits are bright red and nobody ever eats them, they rot away on the pavement and lawn each year.

We do not even have food recycling in the area. And who is going to recycle all the falling fruit?

I think in general the Council only plans to plant normal trees in Tower Hamlets. We should not become an enlargement of Hackney City Farm, because this is what’s happening right now.

I have written to Tower Hamlets Homes and to Councillor Sirajul Islam and have asked for the reasoning behind it and wonder what other residents think about it.

This will be a budget decision also as the money for the fruit trees and bushes and bulbs is paid for by the Residents Association budget and not by Tower Hamlets Homes or Tower Hamlets Council. So the long-term maintenance will fall on us.