The Tories pledge to plant 30 million new trees by 2025. Let’s hope a lot of them get planted in our cities, because trees in towns don’t just help reduce CO2: as an article in this month’s Lancet showed, they lower the risk of death from cancer and heart disease. Trees in towns keep us both “sane and shaded”. None more so than the London plane, “the scabbed, scarred, unsung arboreal hero of Victorian town planning”. Able to grow in the thinnest soil, these magnificent trees have long adorned our streets, “absorbing air pollution in their bark before shedding it, along with harmful parasites”. But then came the London chainsaw massacre of the 1960s, when city planners cut them down in favour of smaller, faster-growing trees such as cherries and birches. And “the butchery continues”. Planes now make up just 1.4% of the more than 8.4 million trees in Greater London. So let’s put that right. “Plant thousands more planes in every town and city in Britain and we’ll all breathe easier.”