Edinburgh’s traditional Christmas trees fall victim to cuts

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It’s been a tradition at the heart of Christmas celebrations for generations.

For many communities, gathering round a towering tree and watching the lights flicker to life is a sure fire sign that the festive season is round the corner.

But now the days of cut trees decorating squares and high streets in Edinburgh could be numbered, as the council moves towards more sustainable – and cheaper – options.

Following a recent review, council chiefs want to move towards a more environmentally friendly approach to Christmas – and, with cut trees costing the council £45,000 a year, to save money – by decorating pre-­existing trees instead.

Haymarket, Tollcross, Portobello and Drylaw all lose their traditional cut tree. In Portobello, six natural trees along the front of the shops and the Town Hall will be dressed with white lights.

A report from the area’s community council said: “This is instead of the cut and dressed tree which has been installed in the past.

Could the tree at Corstorphine be a thing of the past? Picture: Ian Georgeson

Could the tree at Corstorphine be a thing of the past? Picture: Ian Georgeson

“The city is trying to move away from cut trees to more sustainable options of dressing existing natural trees or planting trees and dressing them.”

Six living trees in Tollcross will also be decorated instead of one cut tree. And Haymarket will receive a “column motif” of lit festive designs in place of the cut tree – last year’s tree was damaged in winds. In Drylaw, a living tree will be decorated instead of a cut tree.

A number of areas will have new decorative light columns, and Craigmillar Library will also be dressed with festive lights.

A feature tree in East Princes Street Gardens will also be specially lit up and decorated.

The Christmas tree at Tollcross. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Christmas tree at Tollcross. Picture: Greg Macvean

Rod Alexander, chairman of Davidson’s Mains & Silverknowes Association, is pleased with the decision.

He said: “The council have promised to decorate an existing oak tree in an ideal location in Davidson’s Mains.

“It is exactly what we want – a good tree, right at a focal point in the village and ideally placed for the light switch-on ceremony on December 1.”

Culture and communities convener Councillor Donald Wilson said the council had worked closely with communities to make the city “sparkle”.

He said: “Through moving towards adorning natural, living trees with lights, we’re able to be far gentler on the planet while spreading the festive cheer much further this year.

“A total of 61 trees will sparkle with lights across the city this Christmas, compared to 44 trees last year, including some areas which previously had no trees decorated.

“We’re also supporting local groups to plant new trees which can be decorated annually.

“Edinburgh is a truly special place at Christmas time and we want to ensure all communities can share in the festive magic.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk

Letters – Page 20