Dear Sir,

Your article in Friday’s Panorama decries the apparent loss of trees in the area of Queensway adjacent to the new Park. I am of course not surprised at this reaction and in fact welcome this support for trees from Panorama, which Armando Lagrande’s article clearly demonstrates. 

I must apologise that the material placed in the public domain does not make the real situation clear, and so can easily have given the impression that there would have been an unacceptable loss of trees in the area. Indeed I have fond memories of long walks in my childhood in the shade of those very trees, accompanied by my mother and my sister.
Can I just say that the large Eucalyptus trees are all staying where they are. Only two trees will be felled. These are two much smaller Eucalyptus which are not in good condition and would likely have had to be removed sooner or later.
Seven pepper trees will be moved. They will be carefully uprooted and planted elsewhere.
These are resilient trees which tend to survive careful replanting well.
Most important is the fact that these nine trees will be replaced by 14 new large trees and 17 smaller trees, a total of 31.
Therefore the site in question will see an increase of 22 new ones and, as the 7 pepper trees will be growing elsewhere, Gibraltar will have seen an increase of 29 trees altogether as a result of this project.
The importance of trees and green areas is now widely recognised. I have supported these all my life and work hard with my team to ensure that we safeguard these for present and future generations.
I thank Panorama for highlighting this issue and in anticipation for publishing this letter.

Yours faithfully
John Cortes
Minister for the Environment & Climate Change