Branching out to celebrate jubilee

A NEW community woodland would be created next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary under plans to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The council is closing in on a deal to lease a 60-acre site on former agricultural land between Little France and Craigmillar to the Woodland Trust to create the new attraction under its Diamond Jubilee Woods project.

It is hoped that the woodland will help the recovery of patients at the ERI and the proposed new Sick Kids hospital.

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The council also today unveiled a list of 24 parks and open spaces that it is putting forward for accreditation as Diamond Jubilee Fields, which would be held in perpetuity for the people of Scotland.

The two projects are part of national celebrations to mark the 60 years on the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Officials at the Woodland Trust, which would rent the site at a peppercorn rate from the council under the proposals, said it hoped that members of the community would help plant trees on the site.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “The benefits of this site fit in with a lot of our objectives and aims. One of the reasons we want to create more woodland is because of the health agenda. So close to a hospital, we believe seeing green space could help aid recovery.”

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Parks are being dedicated through Fields In Trust, which is already the guardian trustee of 85 King George V Memorial Parks in Scotland.

All UK local authorities are expected to submit applications for the scheme, with parks then going head to head in a national poll to decide which of them will become Diamond Jubilee Fields.

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Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city’s environment leader, said: “Edinburgh’s beautiful parks and green spaces are among this city’s greatest natural assets and the council is committed to protecting and conserving them for posterity. By dedicating our parks in honour of the Queen’s 60-year reign, the council will be able to safeguard the land’s use as open space forever.”

Members of the city’s transport and environment committee will be asked to approve leasing the Craigmillar land to the Woodland Trust and the list of potential “Queen Elizabeth II Fields”.

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