City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Trams Huge Damage to the Environment


By actionman - Posted on 15 January 2012

The reports that the hugely unpopular Edinburgh trams project has caused the City Council to cut down some 3321 mature trees right across the city is utterly staggering and a severe blow to anyone who tried to suggest that the project had "green" credentials. 

But what is unbelievable is the way it was done - the lack of appreciation for the feelings of residents and for the citizens of the city in general. Everyone living in and using the city used to appreciate and value these trees as a city-wide environmental bonus.

For Councillor Gordon Mackenzie to say that they will be replaced by other trees utterly misses the point of the argument.   He has authorised the removal of thousands of trees, many of which have taken some one hundred years to grow, so he has effectively destroyed, possibly three hundred thousand years of tree growth.  What barbarism, what folly, what incompetence!

To say that the proper procedures were carried out is simply not acceptable and it is high time that someone in this chaotic administration got a grip of what is going on and got rid of all the incompetent city officials who have a long history of transport disasters.

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It is a shame that Edinburgh is now a little less leafy, particularly in built-up areas like Atholl Crescent and Coates Crescent where some prominent roadside trees were cut down for the trams. 

Engineers like nice straight lines and pristine surfaces, and tree roots are not good for car and tram routes, which is why we have few mature trees along our streets. When nature meets infrastructure, nature invariably comes off badly.

I'd be surprised if there were that many tree years, but I expect the replacement trees will be saplings, and of a much more uniform size than the trees they are replacing.

The 'we'll replace them' argument misses the point as you say--and it's to be seen that as we enter recession and the good old debt fuelled days recede ever further, whether the tree relacement promise actually comes to fruition---or whether we get a greatly reduced number replanted when the time comes.

But a separate issue is the one of acountability, public consultation and access to justice on these issues.  Cllr  Mackenzie will go on and on about how everyone was consulted and everyone had their chance to speak----  but I  can't say I have ever heard one word uttered or seen one word written by anyone about over 3,000 mature trees needing to be sacrificied to the ever hungry Tram God...

The systems of both consultation and accountability within Edinburgh are in a terrible state now after years of taking 'little steps' in order to push through a doomed project we have arrived at a very worrying and even sinister state of affairs, where a small cabal are determined to press forward come what may, with a project now condemned to be an irrelavance in terms of transport integration and effectiveness..years before one ever runs. 

Likewise, I don't think there has ever been any mention of trees being cut down. Cant remember anything on the trams web site about it, or its former Facebook page.

The Council have been careful to try and conceal its unpopular plans to enable it to spend as much money as possible so that people are actually afraid to cancel the project - even the Scottish Government is of this view now, which they showed when they forced the line to go to St Andrew Square.   But there are many more 'nasty surprises' ahead;  just wait until the lines are joined near Haymarket and when the line starts to be built in York Place which will effectively cut off the west from the east of the city.  Then you will see some traffic congestion, the likes of which have not been seen yet in the city.