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Edinburgh launches ‘Million Tree City’

On Wednesday 13 October last week, Lord Provost 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 pledged their commitment to making sure Edinburgh will be home to one million trees by the end of this decade. We will join counterparts all over the world in becoming a Million Tree City.

The Edinburgh Million Tree Forum is made up of representatives from relevant Council services, 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 who are all working together on an updated vision for trees in Edinburgh and find ways of planting more trees, more quickly.

Following the planting of the gingko tree, the group were then taken on a tour of the grounds by volunteers from the Friends of Lauriston Castle where a further two trees were planted. 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.

We’re working with Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust and Woodland Trust to deliver this ambitious target for the city. Woodland Trust has contributed a grant of £298,055 from its Emergency Tree Fund to support project delivery. This money will support project management and kick-start tree planting, fundraising, public engagement and volunteer activity between 2021 and 2023.

Before planting the tree, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank 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.

“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.

While 75% 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. I’m delighted to plant this gingko today and I am keen that this young tree symbolises, like a barometer, the growth of the project. Each inch demonstrates how our stakeholders and communities are coming together to plant more trees, delivering the millionth tree or more.”

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