It was with great pleasure that I took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday, on board the Epping Forest float.

I hope that some of you watched this fantastic spectacle either on TV or maybe even in person. The show is so diverse and has community at its heart, and attracts a quarter of a million spectators to the City’s streets.

It was a great opportunity to promote Epping Forest’s role as the ‘green lungs of London’. You will be pleased to know that we have re-used or will be reusing everything to create our float!

This annual event celebrates the swearing in of the new Lord Mayor of London, a role dating back to 1215. One of the responsibilities of the Lord Mayor is to promote and represent the City of London acting as a global ambassador for the UK-based financial and professional services industry and as a trade envoy on behalf of the UK government.

This year the Lord Mayor is Alderman Nicholas Lyons, who is also one of the members of the committee that acts as conservators of Epping Forest. I am delighted that he has already pledged to support the Forest in his new role.

In the role he will spend one third of the year visiting dignitaries and business leaders around the world. He will give each of them a gift of a certificate, photographs, and historical information about Epping Forest’s 55,000 ancient trees. And each time he does this, the Lord Mayor will make a donation to the Epping Forest charity managed by the City of London Corporation, to help promote and preserve them.

One of my personal objectives as Chairman has been to ensure the work of our charity is more transparent to local stakeholders. Therefore, I am pleased to release the Epping Forest Annual Review, which details some of the key successes and future plans we have. This document can be found at

As the Annual Review highlights, a major component of the delivery of our strategy is our volunteer workforce. To quantify the impact, from April to September this year, we were assisted by 6,035 volunteer hours. On behalf of the Conservators and the communities who rely on this free open space, thank you all.

Sadly, as you may be aware, DEFRA have confirmed that we have cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in parts of Epping Forest. As such we ask you to please be vigilant when visiting the Forest, especially near ponds. If you come across any sick or dead birds please contact us on 020 8532 1010 and do not touch the birds yourself. Please also keep dogs well away from the ponds.

My thanks to colleagues at the RSPCA and swan sanctuary for their ongoing support and to our Forest Keepers who have the unenviable task of having to deal with the impact of this horrid virus. For more information about bird flu please visit

  • Ben Murphy is the chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest Committee