Pedestrians walking down Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow's city centre are being greeted with the ugly sight of dead stumps rather than leafy green trees.

Dozens of mature trees have been chopped down in the road this week, as large stretches of the pavement are sealed off for works. 

More than 30 of the deciduous plants have been uprooted from their spots in one of Glasgow's busiest shopping streets, with more expected to face the axe soon.

Why are trees being cut down in Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street?

The trees in are being removed as part of Glasgow's £115 million Avenues programme, which aims to rejuvinate the city centre. 

According to Glasgow City Council, the trees in Sauchiehall Street were unhealthy and planted in small root boxes which stunted their growth. 

The Herald: Trees in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, have been cut down this week

They are to be replaced by more and "healthier" trees as part of work on the Sauchiehall Precinct and Cambridge Street Avenue, the council said. 

These new trees will be planted in larger root boxes, 25 cubic metres in size, with the hope they will flourish like the trees currently growing in Sauchiehall Avenue. 

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: "These trees are being replaced by more (and healthier) trees as part of the work on the Sauchiehall Precinct and Cambridge Street Avenue, the latest project in the Avenues programme in the city centre.

"The root boxes for the ‘old’ trees were far smaller than the (25 cubic metres) ones which will replace them, so they weren’t very healthy in comparison to the ones that are planted in the Sauchiehall Avenue just over four years ago. 

"The new ones are also bigger as a result."

The Herald:

What are the plans for Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street?

Glasgow council is spending £5.7 million on Sauchiehall Precinct, which will connect to the Sauchiehall Avenue at Rose Street and stretch to West Nile Street, with the connecting Cambridge Street Avenue stretching to Cowcaddens Road.

This Avenue, the council says, will be part of wider network of "new, attractive, accessible, safe, sustainable and easily-maintained" routes throughout the city centre being delivered through the Avenues programme. 

The works on this project will deliver a "significant improvement" on Cambridge Street and the bottom of Sauchiehall Street.

Roads, pavements and footways on the streets will be reconstructed, with new kerbing, traffic signals, rain gardens and street lighting  - with 40 new trees promised.

The Sauchiehall Precinct & Cambridge Street Avenue will be completed towards the end of the summer of 2024, the council says. 

The Herald:

What is the Avenues project in Glasgow?

Described as the "largest project of its kind in the UK", The Avenues programme is working to transform areas in Glasgow city centre. 

The £115 million project is aimed at delivering an integrated network of pedestrian and cycle routes, promoting active travel and introduce "sustainable green infrastructure". 

It is funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal, which is funded by the Scottish and UK Governments.

Improvements will include:

  • Green/blue infrastructure (such as street trees, planting and rain gardens)
  • Enhanced and widened footways
  • Single surface crossing points
  • Segregated cycle lanes
  • Reduced "street clutter"
  • Intelligent Street Lighting (ISL) and improved lighting features