Councillors and candidates from across the political spectrum have pledged to protect and preserve the ancient Epping Forest.

Those standing for the council in Epping Forest District and Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest were approached by a coalition of organisations, led by the Epping Forest Heritage Trust (EFHT).

They have vowed to demonstrate their love for Epping Forest in their decision-making should they be elected.

Those who have signed include the current leader of Waltham Forest Council, Cllr Grace Williams, who said: “I fully appreciate the full value of having Epping Forest on our doorstep including its role in tackling the Climate Emergency, supporting our native and local biodiversity, as well as the opportunities it provides for residents’ leisure, health and wellbeing as well as their physical and mental needs.

“I am committed to doing everything I can to work closely with the Corporation of London to safeguard our forest for the benefit of all.”

Redbridge Councillor Jo Blackman, cabinet member for environment and civic pride, tweeted: "Great to discuss the importance of Epping Forest’s green spaces for Wanstead Village and Redbridge residents, biodiversity and the climate with

Epping Forest Heritage Trust this morning. #loveeppingforest"

Newham Labour councillor Rachel Tripp, who currently holds the planning brief for the borough, said: “Forest Gate is literally the gateway to Epping Forest, with the beautiful spaces of Wanstead Flats offering a peaceful break from busy streets. It is a treasured part of our local environment.”

Councillor Basil Vaz, a Conservative on Epping Forest Council, said: “I too love Epping Forest and am happy to sign up to the promises in this email.”

EFHT Chief Executive Peter Lewis said: “It is fantastic to see so much support and there is still time for more candidates to sign up to show their support by emailing or tweeting their support using #LoveEppingForest.”

Epping Forest is a historic ancient forest of over 6,000 acres, rich in biodiversity, culture and heritage, much of which is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation as the Conservator of the Forest under the Epping Forest Act 1878.

Epping Forest Heritage Trust is the charity dedicated to inspiring and educating people about Epping Forest, engaging people in conserving it, and protecting it now and for generations to come.