Placeholder Picture

Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree

Mulberry tree

Latest News

Mulberry tree saved by campaigners

A legal challenge against Tower Hamlets Council has saved this  tree, which is at least 200 years old and could be in excess of 400 years. The High Court found the council's planning committee had misinterpreted national policy when making its ruling.

High-profile backers supporting the challenge included Dame Judi Dench. The developers will now have to re-think their plans for a block of flats.

This shows that if you stand up to those in power, you can make a difference. It also shows Mayor Biggs that the local population care about the envioronment and the ecological impact of such losses, even if he doesn't. Thank you for your support.

In addition, the right to appeal was rejected by the court. Read the court's decision.

We have finally arrived at the stage when the Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree will be able to live its life as nature intended with a great deal of assistance from the present developers who have gone to great lengths to treat the tree with the delicate treatment it deserves.

A bespoke cradle has been built so that the tree does not fall over as well as placing new earth and mulch around the tree plus ensuring that regular watering took place during the Summer dry spells of 2023.

Placeholder Picture
Placeholder Picture

The developers Crest Nicholson wanted to ignore their sustainability responsibilities having decided to fell 100 mature trees and remove The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree, which is a veteran tree, thus creating a tragedy for the grade II listed building.

The exact age of the tree is unknown but is thought to be at least 200 years old and may be over 400 years old making it the oldest tree in the east end of London and is soon to be no more. Tower Hamlets Council plan to allow a private development on the site of the Old Bethnal Green Chest Hospital and have decided that this 400+ year‐old tree has to go since nothing must impede the development.

The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree is classified as a veteran tree in a conservation area. Currently the law states that a veteran tree cannot be disturbed except in wholly exceptional circumstances.

Tower Hamlets wanted to move the veteran tree elsewhere but there was no guarantee that such an old tree would survive and even the council was not able to offer one.

Losing a tree is a loss but losing the oldest tree in London is a loss of great magnitude and losing a copse or wood in urban London is a catastrophe.

Comment by The East London Garden Society
In 1971 Dr Seuss published his children’s book The Lorax which is commonly recognised as a fable concerning the danger that corporate greed poses to nature.

Tower Hamlets has declared a climate emergency, yet no forensic ecological survey has been carried out in this conservation area. These plans will diminish the carbon retention and oxygen levels and the loss of 100 trees, well over 100 years of age, will create its own ecological impact. Is there a report on how the balance with nature will be maintained? If not why has one not been produced?

Why did Tower Hamlets Council disregard national laws regarding the status of veteran trees by saying dig it up? It is all well and good having a climate emergency, but if it is in word only, who will speak for the trees?

See what the people say.

Reader Comments

16/8/2019 ‐ This is so sad. I’m reading The Lorax to my two year old every night at the moment and I can’t believe these changes to the fabric of our rich heritage are so monstrously pursued. Where’s the taking stop?

16/8/2019 ‐ Knowing how much the role trees play in benefitting air quality and mental health, I find it inexcusable that Hammerson want to cut these trees down.

16/8/2019 ‐ Knowing how much the role trees play in benefitting air quality and mental health, I find it inexcusable that Hammerson want to cut these trees down.

Back to Top