Materials tied to trees along river Esk to be removed

Following a number of complaints raised about materials tied to trees in Musselburgh the council carried out an inspection and have surveyed around 150 trees which have bands of fabric and laminated tags attached to them. The plastic tags have links to a plea to ‘pause the scheme’ and which connect to the Facebook page of the Musselburgh Flood Protection Action Group.

Whilst the council acknowledges that some people in Musselburgh have strong feelings relating to the proposed flood protection scheme it is concerned about inappropriate behaviour in making public statements. In addition to trees there has also been material attached to street furniture, including memorial benches, which has resulted in some personal distress.

East Lothian Council’s Head of Infrastructure, Tom Reid, explained: “I have been advised that the ribbons which have been placed around the trees in Musselburgh without permission are trapping dampness which can damage the tree bark and in turn adversely affect the health of the trees. We are issuing an open appeal asking those who have added these ribbons to remove them by 31 August or the council will remove them following this date.”

The council would also like to highlight that the ‘Initial Vision of the Outline Design’ of the Scheme, which was presented to the public in June 2023, did not indicate an impact on most of the trees that have been ‘tree dressed’. The council understands that these trees may only have been marked in such a way so as to symbolise the trees that may be affected by the Scheme.  However these actions are misinformed and are leading to unwarranted concerns and fears amongst local residents.

Following the presentation of the Initial Vision of the Outline Design for the Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme at a Public Exhibition in June many comments and suggestions have been submitted for consideration by the Project Team.

Conor Price, Project Manager said: “We have been delighted with the high level of responses and engagements resulting from the unveiling of the Outline Design. It is clear that both individuals and groups have studied aspects of the design in some detail and have provided comments which have included requests to change some elements of the Outline Design.

“The Project Team have considered all comments and as a result have already started to work on changes to the design. The Public Exhibition was the first opportunity for people to view a design and I would like to emphasise that it was not a final plan and feedback received will help to shape and develop the design further.”

“One aspect that featured highly in public responses concerned the loss of trees within the town. Following comments received, the team are working to revise some sections of the design to reduce further the number of affected trees, and will continue to look at retaining as many trees as is feasible.”

“If you would like accurate information about the Scheme design, or which trees may be impacted, or would like to help us develop the design, then please visit our website and we would also urge you to speak to us directly at one of the drop-in sessions.”

Now that the Public Exhibition has been held and its phase of formal consultation has concluded the Project Team have returned to The Brunton for weekly drop-in sessions so that the team can continue to discuss the ideas and concerns, and evolve the design with members of the public. In addition the Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme website has FAQs which continue to be updated reflecting comments received. Home - Musselburgh Flood Protection

Published: Wednesday, 23rd August 2023