Edinburgh is set to be home to one million trees by the end of the decade.

Council leaders want Scotland’s capital to follow in the footsteps of New York, Shanghai and Los Angeles by becoming a “Million Tree City”.

The move is part of efforts to tackle climate change and remove pollution from the atmosphere.

Edinburgh already outstrips other Scottish cities by having more trees per head of population.

There are currently more than 730,000 urban trees, compared to around 519,000 residents.

Donald Wilson, convener of Edinburgh Council’s culture and communities committee, said the city must do more as it strives to become carbon neutral.

He said: “We’re so proud that Edinburgh is already the UK’s greenest city, with more trees than people, more green space and more green flag parks than any other place in Scotland for people to enjoy.

“Last year we became the first Scottish local authority to support the Charter for Trees, pledging our full commitment to cherish, nurture and celebrate our trees.

“And we’re delighted to be part of the excellent TreeTime initiative whereby people can adopt or plant a new tree in the Capital.

“But we want to – and must – do even better, especially as we strive towards our hugely ambitious target of making the city carbon neutral by 2030.

“By joining the cohort of Million Tree Cities such as New York, Shanghai, London and Los Angeles, we’ll be able to substantially reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to lessen the impact of climate change.

“It’s going to require a huge amount of dedicated partnership working but I know we collectively have both the will and the capacity to reach the million tree target, if we all pull together.

“It’s impossible to overstate the benefits trees bring to the urban landscape.

“They help clean our air, reduce the risk of flooding, keep us cool in the summer and warmer in winter and give the wildlife in our city a home, as well as making neighbourhoods look and feel tranquil and appealing.”

Councillors will be asked to endorse the new initiative on Tuesday next week. If it gets voted through, city chiefs will draw up an action plan to achieve the one million tree target in urban Edinburgh.

This will include tree planting opportunities on both public and private land, via new developments and by replacing trees lost to age, disease and damage.

Meanwhile, a new forum made up of representatives from a wide range of organisations will seek to find ways of planting more trees, more quickly.

Representation will be invited from groups such as the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Trees of Edinburgh, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Trust for Conservation Volunteers and the Edinburgh Living Landscape Initiative.

Annual tree-planting targets will also be set, with the overall number of trees publicly reported on an on-going basis. Trees help remove pollution from the atmosphere and are vital for wildlife, as well as alleviating localised flooding.

They convert atmospheric CO2 into carbon-storing wood as they grow, reducing the effects of climate change.

Charlie Cumming, chief executive of the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, said: “We are delighted to be part of the ‘Million Tree City’ initiative that will contribute to a significant increase in the number of trees being planted in the city.

“It is a great opportunity to raise awareness and promote the benefits that trees provide, especially for our urban environments.

“ELGT are always keen to work in partnership with individuals and organisations to deliver environmental improvements such as the Million Tree City project.”

Radical plans previously unveiled by council leaders in Edinburgh will see the city’s tram line extended to the north and south and the city centre largely car-free within ten years.

City chiefs announced blueprints for “iconic streets” to be “progressively pedestrianised” over the next decade, with George Street to be shut to vehicles by 2025.

Proposals to be put out for consultation also float the idea of a congestion charge “if necessary”, but council bosses stressed there were no plans to implement this.

Adam McVey, the leader of Edinburgh Council, said the city had to be “bolder and more ambitious” if it is to achieve its carbon emissions targets.