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 now closed and due to reopen in October 2024

A tree pit is the soil area at the base of trees on the street, and it is perfect for planting with wildflowers. This year 327 residents have adopted 668 tree pits across the borough, boosting biodiversity and helping our streets bloom. 

Letters of confirmation have been posted to all successful applicants which include wildflower seeds and tree label(s). If you have applied and are yet to receive your letter or any other communication from us, please let us know at

If you have an issue or query relating to your tree pit specifically, please get in touch at

Report any other issues with a tree on the street

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

  • 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 

Applications open all year round

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 and create a pesticide-free corridor of pollinator friendly plants. Becoming a Pollinator Pathway means that you and your neighbours agree to:

  • Adopt all the tree pits on your street – we’ll provide you with wildflower seeds for planting and tree labels to show that the trees have been adopted.
  • Manually control plant growth on pavements, kerbs, around shrub beds and more – we’ll provide you with guidance around acceptable levels of plant growth and advice on how best to complete the works.

If you and your neighbours have already adopted tree pits on your street, and enjoy gardening, this could be a natural next step. 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.
  • Eliminates the need for the use of pesticides to control plant growth.
  • Brings neighbours together.
  • Contributes to physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Is an 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

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 that they are aware of your intention, and that you have enough support. You can reach out as an individual or as a group. If you are applying as a group, please nominate a ‘lead’ resident to liaise with us. We ask that you:

  • Contact every household in your street in writing to explain your intention of applying to become a Pollinator Pathway. Get in touch with us if you would like a template letter. We advise that you speak with as many of your neighbours as possible in person whilst delivering your leaflet or letter to encourage buy in. You must provide the email address on your leaflet or letter to enable residents to raise concerns anonymously. It is advisable that you provide your own email address and/or phone number on the leaflet or letter, as well as ours, so that you can resolve issues at a local level. If you do not want to share your personal details, we would suggest making a new generic email account.
  • Schedule a street meeting at an appropriate place and time to give your neighbours the opportunity to show their support, ask questions and/or raise any objections. This meeting also gives people who are unsure the chance to find out more and get involved.
    • We will ask for 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).
  • Collate a list of residents, including their door numbers, who are committed to actively participate in the scheme. There should be approximately 1 out of every 10 households committed to actively participate in the practical work of the scheme. This is to ensure the Pollinator Pathway is well resourced in terms of people power to carry out the necessary gardening. As part of the application process, we will ask for the details of households that will be actively participating in the scheme. 
  • Address any questions or objections to the street being part of the scheme before completing an application. If you require any support with answering questions that arise, take a look at our FAQs below or get in touch with us here.

Once the minimum number of committed residents have been confirmed and the street consultation has taken place, the lead resident can complete the application form. 

Request an application form

Please ensure that you complete all sections of the form, if you have any questions or require any assistance get in touch with us.

Once your application has been approved, we’ll ask you to complete some Health and Safety documents including a risk assessment to ensure that participants are safe while working on the public highway.

We’ll let you know when you are permitted to start works and post you a welcome pack including guidance, wildflower seeds, tree labels, and more.  

Location Application Approved
Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead January 2023
Overton Drive, Wanstead (St Mary’s Avenue to Blake Hall Road) January 2023
Woodcote Road, Wanstead January 2023
Addison Road, Wanstead January 2023
Chaucer Road, Wanstead January 2023
Felstead Road, Wanstead January 2024
Warren Road, Wanstead January 2024
Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead January 2024
Dangan Road, Wanstead January 2024
Oak Hall Road, Wanstead January 2024
Park Road, Wanstead March 2024


Frequently Asked Questions 

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 by mid January are unable to add individually adopted tree pits to the list after this time. Our application window and deadline takes this into account, along with our need for time to process applications and attend to queries. 

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. 

If you are adopting your street as a Pollinator Pathway and there are any shrub beds or grass verges on the street, these will still be council maintained - excluding weed treatment at the base of shrub beds, which will need to be hand weeded.

  • Individual tree pit adoptions will still be honoured regardless of whether the street becomes a Pollinator Pathway. This is to ensure that individual residents are still able to apply to adopt tree pits, in the case that a Pollinator Pathway was not renewed.
  • While it is likely that residents already adopting tree pits will want to take part in the wider Pollinator Pathway works, it is not a requirement.
  • We will let Pollinator Pathway leads know which tree pits have been individually adopted on their street.
  • We will let Adopt a Tree applicants know that they are adopting tree pits on a Pollinator Pathway street. Should they wish to connect with the wider Pollinator Pathway group, they can contact the lead by getting in touch with