Adopt a Tree Pit and Pollinator Pathways

Bees, moths, flies, butterflies, wasps, and beetles are all small but vital. They move pollen to fertilise plants, so they produce seeds and fruit. But these creatures, as well as birds and small mammals such as hedgehogs, are under threat from factors like habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use. 

We are committed to improving habitats and food sources for pollinators in Redbridge to reverse their rapid decline and recover nature. Get involved in one of the following schemes to bring neighbours together, help your street bloom and encourage wildlife to thrive. 

Adopt a Tree Pit

Application window is from 23 October to 31 December 

A tree pit is the soil area at the base of trees on the street, and it is perfect for planting with wildflowers. Last year residents adopted over 560 tree pits across the borough, boosting biodiversity and helping our streets bloom. 

Previously adopted a tree pit? All adoptions last for 12 months. If you would like to continue with your adoption, you will need to reapply this year.  

Successful applicants will be contacted to confirm adoption and will receive seeds and tree labels in late January 2024. 

All successful applicants must follow the Terms and Conditions set out below to keep you safe and the tree healthy. 

  Apply here

  • You may not plant anything apart from wildflower seeds 
  • You may not dig in the tree pit or otherwise disturb the tree roots 
  • You may lightly till the surface of the tree pit to plant wildflower seeds 
  • You may not apply any pesticides 
  • You may not install any structures, such as a wooden border, or raise the soil level above the level of the footpath 
  • If wildflowers droop into the road or over the footpath, these should be cut back to remove the obstruction 
  • When working on the street you must be sensible and safe 
  • You may not work from the road side of the tree pit and you must be aware of other users of the street  
  • Only the use of hand tools are permitted; however, the use of scythes, machetes and similar single bladed tools are not permitted 
  • Gloves should be worn and please be aware that there may be broken glass and other litter in the tree pit 
  • At the end of the growing season and when sown plants have died, you may cut and remove sown plants 
  • All adoptions are for a maximum of one year, at the end of the year you must re-notify us of your intention to adopt the tree pit 

In addition to this: 

  • You may litter pick and keep the tree pit and footpath outside your home clear of rubbish 
  • You may remove low branches and low tree growth that are smaller in diameter than your thumb; only use secateurs and you should only remove branches to head height - please do not prune trees during the first three years of planting and do not prune branches overhanging a parked vehicle 
  • Young trees that still have a support stake may be watered during the spring and summer period and 2 litres of water a day will help the tree establish 
  • You will be responsible for the disposal of all cut material 


Pollinator Pathway Streets 

Application window is from 23 October to 31 December 

Pollinator Pathways are a next step on from Tree Pit adoption. This is an opportunity to remove your entire street from the chemical weed control spraying schedule, creating a pesticide-free corridor of pollinator friendly plants by manually controlling plant growth. If you and your neighbours have already adopted tree pits on your street, and enjoy gardening, this could be a natural next step, however it’s not a prerequisite. The scheme is open to any area in Redbridge, and with more streets joining in and forming a network, different areas of habitat become more connected and resilient. 

Benefits of your street being a Pollinator Pathway:  

  • Increases areas of biodiversity to support pollinators and other wildlife, such as birds and hedgehogs. 
  • Healthy; pesticide-free streets are greener areas for children and pets too. 
  • Brings neighbours together, helps your street bloom and encourages wildlife to thrive.  
  • Contributes to physical and emotional wellbeing. 
  • Opportunity for active citizenship in our borough; we’re proud that Redbridge is leading the way amongst just a few authorities operating such a scheme. 


How to become a Pollinator Pathway

Form a Pollinator Pathway street group and nominate or select a lead resident. The best way to form a group and engage with others is to start talking to neighbours who are already positive about the idea and are interested in the natural environment. Neighbours are more likely to join when they see there are others they know who are already interested.

As this is a street and resident-led project, it is important to talk to your neighbours before you put in an application to ensure they are aware of your intention, and that you have enough support. Therefore, we would ask that the Pollinator Pathway street group do the following: 

  • Contact every household in your street in writing to explain the intention of applying to become a Pollinator Pathway and propose a street meeting to explain the scheme and answer any questions. We advise that you speak with as many of your neighbours in person as possible via door knocking to encourage buy in. You must provide the email address of on your leaflet or letter to enable residents to raise concerns anonymously.  
  • Schedule a meeting at an appropriate place and time (this can even be held on the street or in somebody’s front garden). 
  • We will ask for confirmation or evidence that you have consulted with all households on your road (e.g. to see a copy of the letter you have sent and details of your meeting time and date). 
  • Any questions that need further discussion or support will be assisted by your local Redbridge Neighbourhood Engagement Officer   
  • The Pollinator Pathway street group must ensure that there is a minimum of 1 out of every 10 residents committed to the operational application of the scheme (e.g. in a street of 20 houses, 2 residents must be willing to participate in manual weeding/pruning). And that they have addressed any questions or objections to the street being part of the scheme. 

Once the minimum number of committed residents have been confirmed and the street consultation has taken place, the lead resident applies to register for the scheme. 

It is advisable that you provide your own email address and/or phone number on the consultation letter so that you can resolve any issues at a local level. If you do not want to share your personal details, we would suggest you make a new generic email account.

The lead resident requests a copy of the application form by emailing the Neighbourhood Team at Then completes and returns the form confirming that: 

  • There are 1 out of 10 minimum committed residents who will physically participate. 
  • Every household in the street has been informed in writing about the scheme.
  • Any questions have been addressed (if support is needed, please see above).  
  • Residents adopt their street or road to take it off the plant growth chemical spray list that is scheduled annually.  
  • By adopting a street under the scheme, residents take responsibility for maintaining, without use of chemical sprays, all tree pits and plant growth on the highway and gully (gutter) and any shrub beds if applicable.  
  • 1 out of every 10 residents in any one street (of any length) are required to commit to manual maintenance of plant growth on the street as a minimum to apply for the scheme. This is a street project, not an individual project. Therefore, in a street of 20 houses, two residents must be willing to commit to maintenance, in a street of 100 houses, 10 residents would be required as a minimum number of those committed to maintenance. 
  • Consent and understanding of the street landscape must be sought before applying for the scheme. 
  • There must be a lead resident appointed who will liaise with Redbridge Council. 
  • The lead resident must satisfy terms of application to apply (demonstrate consultation and level of commitment - please see Step-by-step guide for details), and then sign an Agreement and Risk Assessment to register under the project terms.  
  • The scheme agreement must be understood and signed (this will be talked through on phone or in video conference with Neighbourhood Engagement and Education Officer (NEEO)). The Agreement will include minimum standards and maintenance and details of monitoring procedure. 
  • The risk assessment must be understood and signed by the lead resident, who will be briefed concerning conducting work according to the risk assessment. The lead resident needs to ensure that any other residents participating in the project are aware, understand and adhere to the health & safety guidelines. 
  • All successful applications will be reviewed after 12 months. If a Pollinator Pathway street wishes to continue, the name, contact information and review of any issues arising during the previous year will be reviewed and agreed by email. 
  • You must provide the following email address to enable residents to raise concerns anonymously.  The London Borough of Redbridge are be unable to approve any Pollinator Pathways where more than 10% of households in any street have raised objections to the scheme.


When tree pits are adopted, only the individual pits go onto the no chemical spray list. In the case of Pollinator Pathway streets, the whole street goes onto the no chemical spray list – this includes all green growth along walls, pavements, gutters etc, including tree pits.   

Although this enthusiasm is great, we require a minimum number of committed residents before a Pollinator Pathway is approved to ensure adequate cover for manual plant growth control to be undertaken. 

Please don’t place ornaments, small fences, structures or personal signage to tree pits or highway land on your street. Adopted tree pits and Pollinator Pathways streets will be provided with labels and/or signage to show they are part of the scheme. 

We have to give our contractor a list of all adopted tree pits and Pollinator Pathways by mid January. Our application window and deadline takes this into account, along with our need for time to process applications and attend to queries. If you cannot meet the current deadline, we are planning to reopen the scheme next year so there is plenty of time to getting planning and organised.   

It is possible on a case-by-case basis depending on the length of your street and the circumstances. Please contact us at to discuss.  

Our chemical plant growth control is what we call a ‘spot’ treatment and not a ‘blanket’ treatment.  This means that they only put the chemical on the weeds themselves.  If there are no weeds, then no herbicide will be applied. If residents keep the area to the front of their property clear of weeds, herbicide will not be applied to this area. We are trying to keep our herbicide use down to a minimum.