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Latest letter from Boris Johnson

May 9, 2009
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Dear Paul,

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of LondonI write this today in salute to perhaps the single greatest thing nature has bequeathed us. Variously taken to symbolise life, strength, fertility and magic, this object can be credited with halting the march of the urban jungle. It is truly the greatest opponent concrete ever faced. You see evidence of its victory in cities today. Developers now rarely present plans without some infusion of glass, steel and yes, you guessed it, trees.

One of my main aims as Mayor is to dramatically improve the quality of life in our city. Quite simply, there is no reason why a fast moving, competitive and crowded city can’t also boast enviable quality of life.

There are many things you can do to achieve it, and the simplest and most effective way is to make local neighbourhoods greener – literally.

When I was elected, I promised to plant 10,000 new street trees in my first term. 1,500 of those are being planted as I write. For the next wave of planting, I want local people to be more directly involved in choosing where they are planted.

So, we’ve come up with a list of 40 ‘priority areas’ where the next trees will be planted. These are some of the most tree-starved places in London.

You will now be able to find out if you live on a street within one of these areas. If you do, you can sign up to our website and ask for a tree to be planted where you live. When it’s time to start planting, priority will be given to the streets that have attracted the most public support.

If you live in these priority areas, I urge you to ask for a tree online, so we can help to plant trees where people most want them.

As well as a focus on quality of life, I also pledged to make City Hall more open and accountable. We’ve published all spending over £1,000 on our website, published the savings we’ve made and disclosed the interests of Deputy Mayors and advisers.

Tomorrow, Londoners can question me directly at the State of London debate, held at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster. Registration has now closed, but you can still turn up on the day and get in with places allocated on a first come first served basis.

If I don’t see you there, have a great weekend.

All the best,

Boris Johnson

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