Luton’s helping to save the planet thanks to new arboretum and the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

A step to save the planet: Kelvin Hopkins MP with Cllr Hopkins (to his left).
A step to save the planet: Kelvin Hopkins MP with Cllr Hopkins (to his left).

Luton is proud to be part of Her Majesty the Queen’s global tree conservation project, as the town council grows its Air Quality Arboretum.

The Commonwealth Canopy aims to raise awareness about the value of indigenous forests and was featured on ITN Production’s The Queen’s Green Planet, a programme which saw the monarch meet Sir David Attenborough.

Now, the project has come to Luton, as the town council was recently gifted five UK-sourced and grown native broadleaf trees – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – to plant in its new Air Quality Arboretum in the old mini-golf site at Wardown Park.

The ceremony saw Kelvin Hopkins MP (Luton North), Councillor Rachel Hopkins, and Luton Friends of Parks and Green spaces plant the first trees on site.

Mr Hopkins said: “This is the beginning of what I hope will become a major tree planting programme in and around Luton.

“The world needs desperately to save all our forests and to plant millions more trees to help absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere arising from human activity.”

The free tree giveaway was organised by TheWoodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV after they were inspired by the television programme, and an incredible 50,000 trees were distributed across the UK.

However, a special arboretum oak tree was also donated by Lutonian, Hazel Howard.

Hazel, 77, said: “I picked up an acorn and brought it indoors, putting it in a little pot.

“It grew on my windowsill and then it got even bigger, so my husband Bert and I kept it outside. Now it’s been planted on a special occasion with Kelvin Hopkins and it’s lovely for us to think that we put this little acorn in a pot - and now there it is in Wardown Park!”