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We understand the proposed felling of trees will result in a lot of questions. The frequently asked questions page will hopefully address a lot of these questions and explain the alternative options that have been carefully considered. The FAQs also explain why certain options are not suitable depending on the source of flooding e.g. dredging will not solve flooding from the sea and the felling of trees will also have no impact where the flood risk is from the sea.

Tree Removal and Planting

This page provides further information on the requirements to fell and replace trees in order to construct the proposed flood defences.


In many flood risk areas, development of roads, footpaths and buildings has taken place right up to the very edge of the rivers. The position of existing buildings, roads and footpaths makes them vulnerable to flooding but also dictates the position and type of defences which can be built to protect homes, businesses and people. 
Unfortunately, after considering the different options possible, in some instances the only location new flood defences can be constructed is in place of existing trees . This means that some trees will have to be felled in order to accommodate the proposed flood defences. 

It is important to note, that while the portion of flood defences visible above ground may seem quite small, there are also extensive engineering measures required below ground. Ideally the flood defences would be located outwith the root zone for each tree, but where defences are required close to trees, their roots could be damaged during the construction. 
Impact on existing trees
Tree surveys have been completed to the document the age and condition of every tree, and to identify root protection areas.  The root protection area indicates the minimum area around a tree necessary to contain sufficient rooting volume to maintain the tree's viability, and where the protection of the roots and soil structure is treated as a priority.

Where practical all flood defences have been designed to retain as many trees as possible but, in some areas, there are no alternative solutions and defences have to be located within the root zone of existing trees. In these narrow corridors where other constraints such as roads, buildings and underground services restrict the number of options, it will often be necessary to remove trees and plant replacements. All trees which are felled will be replaced. We are committed to planting on average three trees for every tree removed as well as undertaking a programme of enhanced landscaping measures tailored to each location affected by tree removal. In some locations where large mature trees have to be felled, similar large trees (c.3-4m in height) will be planted to replace them. The proposed tree planting provides opportunities to ensure the tree stock is more resilient for future decades by planting species suitable for their environment and avoiding planting single species that are particularly vulnerable should any individual tree become diseased.
Although some trees are in good condition, others will be nearing the end of their natural lifespans or have structural defects which would  necessitate felling in the coming years . The majority of Ash trees surveyed have been found to be infected with Ash Dieback disease which will require them to be removed irrespective of the flood protection scheme. This affects a considerable number of trees along Rannoch Road and Grangeburn Road and the disease has been able to spread quickly due to the lack of different tree species in these areas.

A wide variety of statutory bodies have been consulted to ensure that all relevant concerns were raised and addressed at the earliest stage.  These included Nature Scot (previously SNH), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Marine Scotland amongst others.  All are supportive of the approach being taken to reduce flood risk and will continue to be involved in the project in a consenting/ licencing role. This will ensure any works, such as the felling of trees, is done in a manner to cause least impact to the environment and may involve avoiding works at a particular time of year e.g. to avoid the bird nesting season.

More information specific to each location can be found using the buttons below:

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