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Boris scraps propaganda sheet to save trees
Of all the junk mail to come through my letterbox, Ken Livingstone's "free newspaper" The Londoner was the most annoying. It was not free, for a start - it cost London's council taxpayers £1 million a year. And it was not a newspaper, but a piece of advertising, telling us what a wonderful job Red Ken was doing. Boris Johnson pledged to scrap it, and to use the £2.9 million saved to plant 10,000 trees. He is true to his word. From Press Gazette:
London mayor Boris Johnson [is] axing The Londoner, the monthly newspaper published by the London Mayor's office.
The newly-elected Conservative mayor described the move as the first attempt to cut “unnecessary funding” of the Mayor’s Office's publicity budget. Johnson's office claims the Mayor's Office would have spent £2.9 million on the newspaper this year had Ken Livingstone been re-elected. The new adminstration pledged to use some of the money saved — around £1 million per year — to plant 10,000 trees in London's most deprived areas by 2012.
Johnson announced the closure of the newspaper, distributed to three million homes across Greater London, at a tree-planting scheme in Brixton.
Johnson said: “I believe that as many areas as possible should enjoy the many advantages that street trees bring. So today I have taken the decision to cut unnecessary funding of the Mayor’s personal publicity budget to plant 10,000 street trees by the end of my first term.
“There was little commitment of resources from Ken Livingstone to reverse the trend of decline in the number of street trees. I am taking immediate action to reverse this short-sighted decision.
“In the last few years a third of boroughs have seen a decline in the number of street trees. Many London streets, particularly in deprived areas, have no street trees at all.
“Trees improve the street environment in which Londoners live and work so I will do all I can to save the trees we have and campaign for more trees to protect London’s open spaces.”
When it comes to trees, Boris is the tops. As London turns over new leaf, let's hope he can branch out even further.