TrustFord has embarked on a nationwide tree-planting exercise and donated £10,000 to green community projects in response to a residents’ backlash over tree felling at its newly-acquired Wimbledon Ford dealership.
Community campaigners gathered outside the dealership on Plough Lane, Merton, last week bearing “Save our Trees” banners in protest to the felling of 11 mature Ash and Acer tress on May 15.
Residents claimed that the tress had been felled “illegally”, after TrustFord took over at the former Dees Ford dealership operated by Cambria Automobiles earlier this month, due to the location’s conservation area status.
And, after discussions with local councillors, the Ford of Britain-owned moved quickly to attempt to redress the damage with a series of green schemes.
A statement issued by TrustFord stated: “We got it wrong and for that we apologise profusely.
“The health and safety issues around vehicle transporters now delivering directly to the site prompted us to make the decision to remove some of the trees.
“Prior to this we had checked the position regarding any preservation orders and there were none.”
However, TrustFord pledged to take steps “in order to try and heal the wounds we have made”.
As part of TrustFord’s green actions, it will: replant trees and shrubs around the site as soon as possible; invest in a wildlife project by the river at nearby Copper Mill; and engage with local schools about green projects – initially supporting Pelham Primary School with £5,000 for an outdoor classroom project
It will also donate seed packets to children in Merton schools and will donate £5,000 to the community allotments project to fund new planting of herbs and vegetables.
In 2022 TrustFord has also committed to planting planting a tree at each of its 60 sites across the UK to celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee.
The group’s statement said: “It was never our intention to cause so much upset, we genuinely care about the environment and will do what we can to fix our mistake.”
Speaking to My London News, Wimbledon Park councillor, Ed Gretton, said: "The felling of the trees has caused huge upset across the community. As the ward councillors, we intervened and Ford has now put their hand up, apologised, and will now start the work on reinstatement with an additional line of silver birches along some 60 meters of the River Wandle, which is positive.
"I believe Ford will also be supportive of helping with local community greening projects, which again will be gratefully received."