World Heritage Day 18 April 2015

Saturday 18 April 2015 is World Heritage Day and this year the theme is the value of heritage.  World Heritage Day is celebrated around the globe to raise awareness of our diverse cultural and natural heritage and why World Heritage Sites are of outstanding value.

World Heritage Site day poster
World Heritage Site day poster

There are a number of events planned to mark the occasion with the Scottish Storytelling Centre hosting an afternoon of activities on Saturday 18 April to help you get to know more about all five World Heritage Sites in Scotland.  You could also take the opportunity to follow one of the Edinburgh World Heritage walking trails to discover the hidden gems of the Old and New Towns.

There are more details on Historic Scotland’s website about World Heritage Day and the other Scottish sites they help manage.

If you use social media you can follow and join the conversation from around the world using #worldheritageday

Conservation of Swifts – RSPB Edinburgh talk

In a first for Edinburgh, the UK expert on the conservation of Swifts, Edward Mayer, is giving a talk on Wednesday 15 April, 7.30pm at the Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre, Napier Craiglockhart Campus, Colinton Road.  The event is organised by the RSPB Edinburgh members group and supported by Edinburgh World Heritage.

Swift conservation talk
Swift conservation talk

The number of swifts has greatly declined in Edinburgh.  These birds nest in tiny spaces in older buildings, and return to the same nest year after year.  As our buildings, especially tenements, have been repaired and restored, some nesting spaces have been lost.  This is why Swifts have been a priority in the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan since it was first published in 2000.

In recent years the Planning and Building Standards Service has promoted the creation of new nest sites by asking for hollow nesting ‘bricks’ to be included in new buildings.  This has helped to create new potential nest sites across the city.  There have also been projects to promote nests on existing buildings.  Our guidance note on Swifts and developments contains more information on how to do this.  If you have any queries about Swifts in Edinburgh or biodiversity in general, please get in touch with us at

Your views on student housing in Edinburgh

We are looking for your views on how we manage the housing requirements of the city’s growing number of students.  We are specifically looking at:

Student housing issues paper
Student housing issues paper
  • the growth of learning opportunities in the city
  • meeting the needs for student housing through purpose-built student accommodation; and
  • how this accommodation is spread across the city.

We have prepared a paper, showing the background research on this issue, asking nine questions.  The answers we receive will inform the content of draft planning guidance on student housing and we will be seeking further views on this later this year.

The paper is available for your comment on the Council’s Consultation hub from Monday 16 March until Friday 24 April 2015.

Trees, hedges and overhanging foliage

Do your trees need pruning?  Is a high hedge causing you problems?  Or is overhanging foliage (bushes) obstructing the footpath?  Here is some useful advice on what to do.


Some lovely trees and hedges
Some lovely trees and hedges

First, check on our map to see if the tree is in a Conservation Area or has a Tree Preservation Order.  This is important as it could limit what you can do.  Our Tree Protection Charter sets this out in more detail.

If the trees are protected then you’ll need to notify us before you do any works.  You can apply for this online and these guidance notes explain all the details.  For issues with trees on Council land we have more information on our website.

High Hedges

High hedges can be a nuisance if they’re blocking out lots of light so it’s in everyone’s interest that these are kept in shape.  If you’ve tried discussing this with your neighbour who owns the hedge and they don’t want to cut it back you can apply for a High Hedge Notice.  We have more information on our website on how to do this, but hopefully you can resolve this amicably.  Otherwise we may serve a notice to reduce the height of the hedge.  Ultimately, if the notice isn’t complied with we may take action to cut it back and recover the costs from the owner.  We’d rather it didn’t come to that.

Overhanging foliage

Overhanging bushes.
Overhanging bushes

Although this isn’t a planning responsibility we do like to see that footpaths are kept clear and that you can get around without any obstructions.

So if trees or bushes are overhanging a public footpath and getting in your way there is an online form you can fill in and one of the Council’s area teams will deal with this.

Hopefully this has given you a few tips on how to sort out a variety of arboriculture issues. If you still need some help please get in touch with us at

From Planning to Parks – biodiversity in Edinburgh

All public bodies in Scotland are legally required to look after biodiversity and report on how this is being achieved to Scottish Government.  We published a report in December last year on the wide range of activities undertaken to improve biodiversity in Edinburgh.

There are lots of good examples of the Council and partners working together in Edinburgh.  We’ve helped nesting Swifts by including special hollow bricking in new buildings, developed natural areas in our parks and supported people in looking after their local environment and wildlife.  We’ve also supported the expansion of woodland in the Pentland Hills Regional Park.  More information is available in the report to our Policy and Strategy Committee and you can read our update on what projects have been progressing in the Edinburgh Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2013/14.

If you have any queries about biodiversity in Edinburgh, drop us an email at