Campaigners have stepped up the pressure to save a threatened “meadow” of mature trees before demolition work starts on the new Meadowbank stadium site.
A petition ‘Save Meadowbank Trees’ was started by local Emma Veitch begging the council to protect the future of the trees and green spaces around the stadium as plans for the new sports facility are lodged.
The group have also called on the public to object to the council’s planning application for the new sports centre in a bid to save the “green character” of the area.
And with over 1,000 signatures the group hope to halt the destruction of the trees.
Emma said: “Our city has beautiful parks and green spaces but it’s also vital to protect the trees on city streets keeping nature alive and our spaces lovely places to live.
“These add a lot of green character to our local area – important to have in the city, are healthy, well established and are habitats for wildlife.
“It’s disappointing to learn that so many will be cut down.
“Whilst some are being replaced we’ll still lose the biodiversity of the area and new trees will take time to establish.
“The plans make it difficult to understand the full impact but we’d encourage people objecting to these plans to respond to the planning application online.”
If the plans for the new stadium are approved, the council will chop down trees in the triangular wedge between London Road and the existing sports centre.
An existing semi-mature tree group of Leyland cypress trees with occasional elm would also be uprooted from the Marionville Road boundary. Semi-mature trees along the north of the site would also be culled leaving only the mature trees and other greenery on the western boundary.
Emma said the area provides a much needed habitat for birds and insects, and specifically with the mounds on London Road, a “pleasant place for members of the public, including children, to walk and play away from the road safely”.
Green councillor for the area Alex Staniforth said: “Edinburgh has had a net loss of over 6,000 trees in the last six years so it is obviously vital that the city does what it can to protect existing trees, especially species that are already rare such as those at Meadowbank.
“At the same time we need to get serious about planning more trees throughout the city.
“I know the council has developed proposals to ensure that tree numbers are increased again and Green councillors have previously put forward a scheme that would involve children in planting and potentially bring in like for like funding.
“Edinburgh is so lucky to have inherited its trees from the wise decisions of previous generations.
“We throw it away at our peril.”
A Council spokesperson said: “During the redevelopment of Meadowbank Sports Centre, the Council will preserve existing trees as far as possible and plant new ones where required.
“As with any major development in the city, the project requires a tree assessment to be carried out and to adhere to any decisions made during the planning process.”