Hayley Matthews: Whoever OK’d Princes Street Gardens felling is barking up the wrong tree

The Enchanted Forest at Pitlochry is a sell-out
The Enchanted Forest at Pitlochry is a sell-out
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For the last few years I’ve desperately wanted to go to Pitlochry to experience the Enchanted Forest. My attention was drawn to this amazing event when we had the creative team in at STV to tell us about it. However, with a very busy work schedule and one thing after another I never got round to going.

This year, I’m pleased to report has been a success at gaining tickets despite the entire event being sold out (although you might be lucky to get some on Gumtree) and I now see why. The buzz in Pitlochry itself felt exciting. We were incredibly lucky to have very mild and dry weather and on arrival to the forest we could tell it was going to be an incredible night.

I probably pushed myself a bit too much with two hours’ walking at 39 weeks pregnant and I have to apologise to the stewards in the queue for crying and begging to get on a bus when I could hardly walk. That was my own fault; I just wanted to experience as much as I could. The highlight for me had to be the water show which saw an animation take place in the middle of the water but in 3D.

There were birds, red squirrels, rainbows, deer, bees and beautiful sights to music throughout the water show. We walked round in awe at the lights and colours, hoping we weren’t disturbing the wildlife too much and will be eternally grateful for such a great experience. Toasted marshmallows at the end were a bonus and we had a very sleepy little boy on the way home after all the excitement.

I always appreciate nature but this event really made me appreciate the saying “help the bees, save the trees, and clean the seas”. It also made me think deeply about Edinburgh City Council giving permission to fell 50 trees in Princes Street Gardens.

I do appreciate that the developers will be putting in other trees at some point, but is it really necessary to create such destruction to the natural habitat that only creates positive vibes in a very busy city centre? We could have our own Enchanted Forest in the Gardens as well as the Botanics.

Call me cynical but I believe the decision on this felling comes down to money and lining pockets. Somewhere, someone will be sitting in an office financially benefiting from this decision and it makes me ill to think that still, after all the warnings about the condition of our planet that the message hasn’t prevailed over the pound note signs for those sitting the top.

What about the wildlife? What about the natural ecosystem of the gardens, not to mention the oxygen that they provide us with? Should it all just be put to one side? I don’t think so.

I suppose there’s a very important reason that someone at the top has given the go-ahead and ironically, I bet it’s to do with the stuff that the trees used to provide us with. Yes, those brown, purple and blue paper notes!

The excuse about making the gardens and gallery fully accessible to people with mobility impairments, prams and pushchairs is utter ­garbage. When have you ever known someone not to be able to get to The Mound or the gallery with a pram or a wheelchair because of trees in the way. I smell BS!

We should be doing everything we can to encourage the natural ecosystem around us and “help the bees, save the trees and clean the seas”. It’s not rocket science.