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Edinburgh Urban Forest Project

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Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2000
Nomination for development on the ground

Edinburgh Urban Forestry

22. EDINBURGH URBAN FOREST PROJECT: CREATION OF NEW COMMUNITY WOODS

nominated in 2000 by Edinburgh Urban Forest Project.

The Edinburgh Urban Forest Project was born out of the Urban Forest Strategy prepared for the City of Edinburgh Council in 1991. The strategy identified a number of policy objectives to develop and enhance the Capitals tree stock. A key objective was to develop, through new planting, a vastly increased mixed-aged sustainable tree resource to provide enhanced landscape, amenity, ecological and environmental benefits. In 1996 a successful bid was put together by the City of Edinburgh Council to obtain money from the Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust to create 80 new community woodlands. Additional money has also been withdrawn from the private and public sectors, which allowed the scope of the project to be expanded. Two full-time and one part-time post were created to work exclusively on the project. One and a half of these posts were dedicated to community liaison, which was considered to be central to the successful creation of the urban woodlands. Areas of the City with a relatively limited number of trees were targeted. Within these areas trees have been planted on golf courses, playing fields, school grounds and public parks. The aim being to turn these areas of green desert into areas of diverse habitat and a varied landscape thus improving recreation and educational resources and reducing pollution. Nearly 80 community woodlands have been created across Edinburgh. This has been achieved in partnership with the people of Edinburgh through schools, community groups social work centres, voluntary organisations and individual citizens becoming involved. The local communities have become involved with planning their woods, planting trees and bulbs, and participating in other forms of environmental education. This is designed to promote active citizenship and civic pride, to engender a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the new woodlands. The majority of the trees in these new community woodlands have been planted by volunteers. However, the Project also employs 6 local contractors on an annual basis for the maintenance of the new community woodland sites, thus further enhancing the economic benefits of the project. By the end of the year 2000 a total of 250,000 largely native Scottish trees will have been planted resulting over 100 hectares of new urban woodlands across the town. The creation of these woodlands has helped to regenerate areas of the city and provide a sustainable resource for the future.

The judges visited part of this project on the ground. They saw evidence of the scale of this undertaking which allies landscape design and nature conservation with public involvement in areas close to peoples homes. The focus of the Edinburgh proposals is in citizen participation in greening the City's own landholdings. It is an ambitious project to greatly supplement a valued urban resource, and it has been extremely well planned, conducted and realised. After some deliberation, the judges have decided that the Edinburgh Urban Forest Project merits a commendation in this category.

Andrew Raven excluded himself from the judging of this nomination