Islington Green: Sleeping among the trees

Martin and Larch have found a home in the trees at Dixon Clark Court. Picture: Nicola Baird

Martin and Larch have found a home in the trees at Dixon Clark Court. Picture: Nicola Baird - Credit: Nicola Baird

It should never be a choice between trees or houses. We need both, especially in our borough with so few green spaces. For far too long the so-called choice, trees or houses, has bad-temperedly split communities.

For three weeks during October, Extinction Rebellion (XR Islington) climate activists slept up in the branches by noisy Highbury Corner in a bid to prevent seven big trees being felled to make way for 41 new homes at Dixon Clark Court. XR agreed to leave after the council said it would organise Citizen’s Assemblies before future big planning decisions and plant 60 plus trees.

Sixty trees might seem like a forest, but in fact it’s just going to be a short stretch of hedge beside the A1 road.

Now there’s a new group at Highbury Corner ready to Save The Trees, which originally met at the High Speed railway (HS2) protest camp at Euston.

Some say they were homeless until they started campaigning for the trees. Martin, 19, says he went from sleeping on church steps to cosy in the tree tops after meeting HS2 campaigners at the food bank.

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We know that trees help us to tackle climate change and air pollution. This month, at this controversial mini-forest on a roundabout, people have also slept among them.

- Islington Council says it has twice sent its outreach team to the site and that they have reported that no one at the camp was experiencing homelessness, following enquiries with campaigners.

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