With the help of the brilliant Lothian Buses journey planner I travel by bus today.
Surely it’s one of the hottest days of the year so far. Arriving at my destination, Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, the intense warmth of the sun is being reflected back at me from pavements, buildings, walls, cars and bus windows.
Mid morning and Queensferry Road is heaving with all types of transport.
I attempt to criss-cross the road to see which street trees I can get access to to do my lichen surveying. The only other pedestrians are stood waiting at the bus stop which stands just feet away from the air quality monitoring station. They comment on the heavy traffic and the billowing vehicle fumes. One lady with a baby remarks that after waiting 15 mins for the pedestrian crossing lights to change that, “only traffic has priority here!”.
The only street trees I find here are either behind the buffering effects of tall walls and or are in private gardens. I finally pluck up the courage to knock on a door and after a most delightful exchange with the home owner I find myself surveying some enormous and glorious copper beach trees. These trees I am told have Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) on them (an order made by a local planning authority to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity and the quality of local environments).
Not only do trees provide food and shelter for wildlife, provide oxygen for us to breath and have significant roles in mitigating climate change, but they can also form significant local landmarks, or have strong associations with historic events or characters (source), hence some trees recognition and protection with a TPO.