Plant a tree in seventy-three. Plant some more in seventy-four.
Who remembers that ? Not an initiative from Milton Keynes Development Corporation but a national campaign to make England a more green and pleasant land.
I have a tree in my garden which does not date from 1973, nor does it date from 1974. As a tiny sapling I nicked it from Woburn Woods then planted it in my garden to commemorate the birth of our first son, Peter in 1980. It is known in the family as The Peter Tree.
At the bottom of our garden is his summer house. It stands at the edge of a field boundary dating from the Enclosure Acts of the Agrarian Revolution. Within the deeds to the property it states that the field boundary hedge behind the summer house must not be removed. There was a time when any significant rainfall would cause this area of the garden to flood. It was the draining point for the field. No longer, The Peter Tree balances the water across the property.
There are twenty-two million trees in Milton Keynes, how lovely is that ? Milton Keynes was in its earliest days of construction was at the same Plant A Tree In Seventy-Three was announced. Every house in the new city could have a free tree to plant in their garden.
From its inception Milton Keynes was to be The City of Trees. Set in tablets of stone was The Milton Keynes Development Corporation's intention that NO BUILDING SHALL BE TALLER THAN THE SURROUNDING TREES.
Oh that, Milton Keynes Council trashed it years ago !
Did you know there is a tree cathedral in Milton Keynes ? It's adjacent to Gulliver's Land at Willen. When I went there Gulliver's Land was packed but there was not a single person at The Tree Cathedral ! Is it any wonder ?
What would Lord Campbell of Eskin, Chairman of Milton Keynes Development Corporation, make of that ?
Twenty-two million trees in Milton Keynes. Wonderful but not enough. England has the lowest tree population by area of any country in Europe. Milton Keynes claims it wants to be the greenest local authority in the world. That is a totally unrealistic ambition but if only it could be achieved then the dream for Milton Keynes to become a city might just become a reality.
Scientists say that 240 trees can offset the use of one car's emissions for one year. At the time of writing Milton Keynes has a population of 230,000. If we could double the number of trees we have in Milton Keynes then car use would be neutralised.
If the Milton Keynes Development Corporation's policy that no building shall be taller than the surrounding trees. If one hundred new trees were planted per head of population. If we could so this then the city bit in Milton Keynes A City Of Trees could be reaslised in a real city and not a dream.Surely that is a dream to far.
The rock singer Elvis Presley said that an ambition is only a dream fitted with a V8 engine. May I add to that reality is only an ambition fitted with a turbo charger.
DREAM - AMBITION - REALITY
So I am presenting you with a dream, will you make it an ambition and then together we can all make it a reality ? If every garden, every school, every open space in Milton Keynes were to become forever homes nor new trees how far would that move us towards ambition ? A tree planted from The Woodland Trust costs a little more than one pound, let's say one pound twenty pence. twenty-two million trees would cost a bit less than twenty seven million pounds. Plant trees over a five year period and surely Milton Keynes Council could build that comfortably into its budget.
DREAM - AMBITION - REALITY ? So do we want to be Milton Dreams The City That Never Was or do we want to be Milton Keynes The City Of Trees and the greenest city in the world ?