EDINBURGH is considering a treemendous plan to plant a sapling for every child born or adopted in the city.
Newborns could be assigned their own tree and given a certificate telling them where it is under the proposal to support green spaces and improve the environment.
With about 5600 children born or adopted every year – according to figures from the General Register Office for Scotland – the proposal is significant and would boost the number of trees planted annually around the city.
The projected costs are around £17,000 a year, and the hope is that there would be educational benefits from school pupils visiting woodland to see their own tree.
It has been backed by the Woodland Trust Scotland, which believes it would set a strong example for the Scottish Government to follow, while Green environment spokesman Chas Booth said, linked to an expected baby boom, it could see the Capital’s urban landscape transformed.
He said: “By linking the planting of trees to the birth or adoption of children, we are trying to create a connection and to foster understanding and appreciation of our environment among those children and their families.
“Similar schemes throughout the world, including in many towns and cities in the United States, have successfully planted thousands of trees and helped to foster environmental education and stewardship. We hope the city council will see the wisdom in this proposal.”
A similar pledge by the Welsh government has been praised for raising youth awareness of the environment, with schools involved in the planting process.
Under the Welsh programme, each newly born or adopted child receives a certificate telling them where their tree is.
The council recently embarked on one of its biggest tree-planting programmes in city’s parks for years, planting more than 370 trees across the Capital to replace those blown down in gales or lost to Dutch elm disease.
Those trees were planted in 50 different locations across the city, including Leith Links, Inverleith Park, the Meadows, Hermitage of Braid and Cramond foreshore.
However, the latest proposal would represent an unprecedented commitment if approved.
Councillors have been asked to study the feasibility of putting the scheme in place.
Councillor Booth added: “Trees help to foster a sense of community and contribute to thriving green spaces, which in turn have mental health and well-being benefits.
“Where there are a healthy mix of mature trees, neighbourhoods feel lifted. But in order to create the mature trees of tomorrow, we need to plant far more saplings today.”
Rory Syme, from the Woodland Trust Scotland, believes the city can easily accommodate the extra trees such a scheme would sow.
“Planting a tree is a great way to celebrate any special occasion, so we would welcome a commitment from the council to plant a tree for every child born or adopted in Edinburgh, especially if it contributes to increasing the amount of native woodland around the city,” he said.
The Scottish Government pledged three years ago to plant 100 million trees across the country by 2015 to help cut emissions.
A Woodland Trust Scotland spokesman said those targets had not been met, but added: “Edinburgh could be the saviour of the Scottish Government.”
Environment convener Cllr Lesley Hinds said: “The committee will certainly give this suggestion close consideration when it is discussed.”