New arboretum in Leith park will protect dozens of trees and make Leith even leafier

A new arboretum in a Leith park will see dozens of trees planted from around the world and in a bid to help conserve them.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 6:21 am

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A total of eighty four trees will be planted at Leith Links towards the east corner of the large 18.5 hectares (46 acres) park.

The project led by Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) will see different areas themed by continent with a design showing each of the continents from above.

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Leith Links, where a new arboretum will see dozens of trees planted from around the world and in a bid to help conserve them.

An outdoor classroom will also be installed to help park-users enjoy and learn about the trees.

A local Greens councillor welcomed the plans for the park but others said the local community should have been properly consulted.

Planting started two weeks ago for the arboretum, which will occupy around a fifth of the East Links.

A community survey has just been launched asking local residents and groups for their views.

Leith Links could get a canopy of new greenery

Gordon Munro, Labour councillor for Leith said: “This is a great project but why was the local community not consulted first? Nobody knew about it until we saw the trees being planted. It’s appalling the way it has been handled. It’s a good thing but they should have involved local groups and residents first. People are not anti-tree but surely we need to consult with the groups in the space, like the cricket and golf clubs and the Mela festival, as the site they have chosen is where that is held. But instead they have been patriarchal about it and just decided to go ahead first, then ask later.”

Teaming up with the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh and the council ELGT has drawn up design plans for the arboretum featuring a wildflower grassland, new metal benches and gravel paths. The conservation charity recently upgraded children’s play areas in the west of the park.

Trees company: Arboretum planned for Leith Links

It said the project will enhance the biodiversity of the park, as well as helping to tackle emissions in the city as part of Edinburgh’s commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon city by 2030. The capital aims to become home to one million trees by the end of the decade, as part of a worldwide initiative where cities all over the globe are working on reducing their carbon footprint.

The new arboretum will add to the native species with trees from the majority of the continents including a Giant Redwood from North America, Antarctic beech from South America, and Wollemi pine from Australia.

Trees will be planted with robust stakes and guards, irrigation tubes, bark mulch and will be watered.

Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith, said: "This is a really exciting project, and could make a positive contribution to the capital's work to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. As a Green councillor, I often hear from residents who are concerned about losing local trees, so it's a genuine pleasure to see a project that aims to plant more trees instead. We need to see more projects like this.”

“I do think it's important that they are planted in the right place to ensure they are compatible with other community uses of the Links, so I'd encourage local residents to respond to the consultation. It's also essential that the council ensure the care, maintenance of the trees is addressed into the future.”

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