We realise that the removal and replanting of trees in East Princes Street Gardens has been an extremely sensitive issue.
We understand concerns expressed in recent feedback about any reduction in the number of trees in the city centre and we would be very willing to work with the City of Edinburgh Council and bodies such as Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust on any proposals they have for planting additional trees.
This would be in addition to continuing with our already agreed plans to plant 22 new trees between 4.5m and 6m high in East Princes Street Gardens next spring.
The present scheme is the result of extensive consultation with a range of relevant bodies over several years and the plans were scrutinised and fully endorsed by the City of Edinburgh Council.
The number of 22 replacement trees was viewed by planners to be appropriate for this space. However, it is clear that many people feel that the consultation should have been even wider and the recent response has demonstrated the huge amount of affection for the natural assets within the city.
At the National Galleries of Scotland we are passionate about the power of art and how it can move, inspire and inform. We want to ensure that our Galleries are fully accessible so that people from every generation come and enjoy our nation’s art.
This is at the heart of why we are developing the Scottish National Gallery and creating a new accessible route into and through the gardens. The work will be complete in early 2021 and we hope that as many people as possible will enjoy the fantastic new gallery spaces when they open.
Director-General, National Galleries of Scotland