Scotland: Trees in Edinburgh are rapidly being cut down

Just under 10,000 council-owned trees have been chopped in the last
five years, with around half of those being cut because of the fungal
disease attacking the city’s elm trees. Council tree surgeons are
forced to remove the trees carrying Dutch Elm Disease on safety
grounds. But other reasons for the city’s trees being chopped include
when they are causing damage to property, have become unsound through
storm damage and where they have died due to other diseases or
pollution. Trees are also routinely removed as part of thinning
operations in new woodlands or to allow space for new trees to be

There have been a number of high-profile battles over some of
the city’s historic trees threatened by redevelopment in recent years,
including trees in the Grassmarket and Grosvenor Crescent in the West
End, where a 200-year-old chestnut tree was trimmed back in order to
make way for tram traffic diversions. City leaders today insisted that
they replace all of the trees which they have to chop down. A total of
ten tree preservation orders have been issued over the last five years
for sites across the city, including ones on Colinton Road, Newmills
Road and Leamington Road. Earlier this year, council chiefs unveiled
plans for a £100,000 survey of Edinburgh’s trees. The move attracted
criticism because of the cost but the project, which should be
completed early next year, will see all 28,000 trees in the city
examined to build up a database which can be used by the city’s parks
department. The “arboricultural audit” – one of the biggest ever
undertaken in central Scotland – started in February and will
eventually provide a database covering the location, species, health
and condition of all of the city’s

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