London borough to become butterfly haven

A school conservation project is the latest move in a council run scheme that officials hope will bring butterflies back to their London borough.

Pupils helped to plant two Ulmus New Horizon trees in the grounds of their primary school this week. This type of elm tree provides a valuable food source for the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.

The species became endangered in the 1970's when Dutch Elm disease killed much of their foodplant.

The event at Oakthorpe is part of Enfield Council's wider tree-planting programme, through which it has planted more than 3,400 saplings across the borough.

Another 100 elms will be planted throughout Enfield over the coming months.

Enfield councillor Terry Neville, cabinet member for the environment, said: "I think it's fantastic that the children have an opportunity to help provide a safe haven for the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.

We will also be planting another 100 elms throughout the borough to see if we can bring more butterflies back to Enfield. We hope to build on Enfield's leafy reputation and improve theenvironment, especially in the east and south of the borough."

Liz Goodyear, from Butterfly Conservation's Hertfordshire and Middlesex branch, attended the school event and gave the children an inspiring talk about butterfly declines and steps that can be taken to help protect them.

She said: "Butterfly Conservation volunteers have spent the last two years monitoring the White-letter Hairstreak population across the UK. We were delighted to hear about the tree-planting initiative. As far as we know, Enfield is the first local council to introduce a programme to help us conserve these beautiful butterflies."