Edinburgh on track to be a 'million tree city' by 2030

The Capital is in the running to become home to one million trees by the end of the decade.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 5:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:02 pm

The aim is part of the worldwide Million Tree City initiative where cities all over the globe are working on reducing their carbon footprint.

Edinburgh already beats 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, according to Edinburgh City Council.

If the council's A Million Tree City report is approved by the Culture and Communities Committee on Tuesday 28 this month, it will draw up an Action Plan to achieve the one million tree target in urban Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh on track to be a 'million tree city' by the end of the decade picture: Edinburgh City Council

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Annual tree-planting targets would also be set if the Million Tree City plan gets the green light from councillors next week.

Numbers of trees would be publicly reported on an on-going basis, while regular i-Tree Eco surveys would be carried out to assess the ecosystem benefits trees are playing in the Capital.

- act as reservoirs for biodiversity and for many citizens are the most obvious and readily available form of contact with nature

- remove pollution from the atmosphere

- alleviate localised flooding

- offer shade in summer and shelter in winter

- convert atmospheric CO2 into carbon-storing wood as they grow, reducing the effects of climate change

- provide sensory stimulation, visual relief and aesthetic pleasure that changes with the seasons

- help to provide the setting for buildings, screen unwanted views and reduce the impact of noise

Culture and Communities Convener Councillor Donald Wilson said: "We're so proud that Edinburgh is already the UK's greenest city, with more trees than people, more green space and more green flag parks than any other place in Scotland for people to enjoy. Last year we became the first Scottish local authority to support the Charter for Trees, pledging our full commitment to cherish, nurture and celebrate our trees. And we're delighted to be part of the excellent TreeTime initiative whereby people can adopt or plant a new tree in the Capital.

"But we want to - and must - do even better, especially as we strive towards our hugely ambitious target of making the city carbon neutral by 2030.

"By joining the cohort of Million Tree Cities such as New York, Shanghai, London and Los Angeles, we'll be able to substantially reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to lessen the impact of climate change. It's going to require a huge amount of dedicated partnership working but I know we collectively have both the will and the capacity to reach the million tree target, if we all pull together."

Charlie Cumming, Chief Executive, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, said: "We are delighted to be part of the “Million Tree City” initiative that will contribute to a significant increase in the number of trees being planted in the city.

"It is a great opportunity to raise awareness and promote the benefits that trees provide, especially for our urban environments. ELGT are always keen to work in partnership with individuals and organisations to deliver environmental improvements such as the Million Tree City project."