Edinburgh sets its sights on becoming a million trees city

As Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh is renowned globally for its stunning parks, tree-lined streets and truly stunning leafy suburbs.
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Now, the city’s civic leaders have set their sights on an ambitious target to become a Million Tree City by 2030 as part of its commitment to be net zero by the end of the decade.

Lord Provost, councillor Frank Ross was joined by representatives of the Edinburgh Million Tree Forum to plant a gingko tree in the grounds of Lauriston Castle as they pledge their commitment to bbe members of an elite global community.

Every planting counts for Councillor Donald Wilson and Lord Provost Frank RossEvery planting counts for Councillor Donald Wilson and Lord Provost Frank Ross
Every planting counts for Councillor Donald Wilson and Lord Provost Frank Ross
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The Edinburgh Million Tree Forum is made up of representatives from Edinburgh City Council, the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Trees of Edinburgh, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Trust for Conservation Volunteers and the Edinburgh Living Landscape Initiative.

One of the main aims of this coalition is to find ways of planting more trees more quickly in the city.

Edinburgh already outstrips other Scottish cities by having more trees per head of population - there are currently more than 730,000 urban trees, compared to around 519,000 residents. The move to increase the number of trees in the city will help Edinburgh lessen the impacts of climate change by providing cooling in heatwaves, surface water management for heavy rainfall as well as some carbon storage and a home for wildlife.

The capital is famed for its greeneryThe capital is famed for its greenery
The capital is famed for its greenery

Lord Provost Ross said: “We may have more trees in our city than people but to get to our city's 2030 net zero target, we must plant more.

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“Climate change will impact on all of us, and we all need to play our part to mitigate the effects. A key aspect of the proposed Climate Strategy is for us all to build upon our previous efforts, and Edinburgh Million Tree City Project, offers us all the opportunity to do just this.

“This is not a project for the council, it is a project for our city, our communities, and for us as citizens, with a shared ambition for Edinburgh to have at least one million trees by 2030.”

He added: “While 75 per cent of our trees are privately managed, we have a shared responsibility to manage our trees well, and to act when they get damaged or require treatment or replacement.”

Tim Hall, Head of Estates and Programmes with Woodland Trust Scotland said planting of trees was a key way to tackle climate and nature crises.

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And Charlie Cumming, the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust Chief Executive added: “ELGT are delighted to be working in partnership with the council and the Woodland Trust to deliver such an ambitious and worthwhile tree planting project over the next 10 years.

"The benefits of this increase in tree planting will not only address the effects of climate change but will also encourage community participation with the residents of Edinburgh and will benefit people's health and wellbeing. With so much focus this month on COP26 we appreciate that we need to start making an impact now; with more tree planting we will be able to improve our neighbourhoods and streetscapes and have a long lasting impact on our local environments.”

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