Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh‘s £70 million plans have been given the go-ahead. The institution will add state-of-the-art facilities and enhance the visitor experience.
The Edinburgh Biomes project has won the backing of city councillors. It will be “the most significant project in the garden’s history”, and with planning permission now secured, it can begin work.
Regius Keeper, Simon Milne MBE, described Edinburgh Biomes as an “urgent and exciting project of national and international significance, bringing great benefits to society”.
New research and education facilities at RBGE
He added: “It is a necessity to avoid the catastrophic loss of up to four thousand species in our collection. The planning decision enables us to move forward with what is the most significant project in the garden’s history.”
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) will now embark on safeguarding its plant collections and will refurbish and extend the glasshouses.
The two ‘Grade A’ listed Victorian Palm Houses and 1960s Glasshouses will be restored and refurbished, and will be upgraded to double-glazing.
The existing facilities would become unsafe and unsound by 2025, putting the living collection of more than 34,000 plants at risk.
“The most significant project in the garden’s history”
The project also involves adding a new curved glasshouse linking to the Front Range houses. It will be built with a multi-level walkway as well as a new visitor attraction.
The new glasshouse will initially provide temporary accommodation for the plants as the 1960s Glasshouses are refurbished.
Eventually, there will be a refreshed Glasshouse Experience, with visitors able to enjoy the Front Range, Victorian Temperate and Tropical Palm Houses.
The Edinburgh Biomes project will take place in stages over seven years, and will include new research facilities, education facilities, and an energy centre to reduce RGBE’s carbon emissions.
Restored and refurbished 1960s Glasshouses
“The need for our pioneering work has never been greater, be it through cutting-edge science, impactful education or inspiring people with the beauty and value of natural capital,” said Milne.
“Edinburgh Biomes is crucial to achieve this and the project needs the widest possible support if we are to secure our place as a leader in plant science and education, horticulture and ensure the astonishing living collection thrives for future generations.
“Edinburgh Biomes will engage people of all backgrounds and nationalities, inspiring them to be part of the protection of plant life that sustains and delights us.”
Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, recently chatted to Blooloop about the science and evolution of Kew.
Images: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh