One million tree city

Towards a net zero Edinburgh by 2030

We may have more trees in our city than people but to get to our city's net zero by 2030 target, we must plant more.

We’ve an ambitious target to become a million tree city by 2030. We need everyone to play a part in planting around 250,000 trees we need to reach the target. If you want to see Edinburgh flourish for future generations, we can all do our bit to meet our net zero 2030 target, whether you

  • live in the city
  • own land or property
  • run a business
  • are a charity
  • manage a schools
  • or maybe just love Edinburgh.

Why a million trees?

We need to increase the number of trees to help Edinburgh fulfil its climate emergency commitments and become a Million Tree City by 2030.

We estimate that Edinburgh needs around 250,000 more trees to be planted in the next ten years on a both public and private land.

How we got to that number

In 2017 an i-Tree Eco survey estimated that Edinburgh’s built-up areas had just over 700,000 trees. A quarter of those trees are managed by the Council. The others – just over half a million – are on privately-owned land or on land owned by other public bodies.

In the wider Edinburgh and more rural areas, it’s harder to calculate the number of trees but we estimate there are at least 56,000 trees in the residential areas to the west of the city and up to Queensferry.

Since 2017, the Council and our partners have planted 36,000 trees on land we own.

As with any city, the greenery in public space needs maintained. We’re increasing our activities to check the condition of trees, making sure they are not diseased or a danger to the public. Inevitably, we’ll need to remove trees which are threat to people’s safety as well as actively manage woodland. We estimate that around 2,000 trees a year will need to be removed, meaning we’ll lose around 20,000 trees on public spaces between 2020 and 2030.

That brings the estimated number of trees in the Edinburgh area to around 744,000. That’s why we need to plant at least 250,000 trees by 2030. We need the help of residents, communities, businesses and other organisations to do that.

Reaching our targetView over the Meadows to Arthur's Seat

We're currently setting out an action plan to help us achieve our target. The plan will include:

  • preserving and maintaining trees
  • working with land and property owners to plant more trees
  • involving business in tree planting through activities like volunteer schemes
  • running community planting projects
  • working with residents to raise awareness of what trees to plant and where
  • putting in place appropriate development controls.

As plans are developed, we'll give more information about what we are doing and how you can get involved.

Our partners

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.

Illustration of a tree with flowers and sun, with the words Edinburgh one million tree

Thinking about planting a tree?

Advice from our partner Woodland Trust
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