T’is the season…

As most of us are planning to buy our Christmas tree for the festive period, so too is Westminster; and this year, the Christmas tree set to take pride of place in Palace Yard at the House of Parliament, has come from a very special forest.

The mature Spruce chosen for this year’s prime Parliamentary position has been sourced from Kielder Forest in Northumberland. Managed by Forestry England, Kielder is the largest working forest in England; a quarter of which is open space, incorporating our largest blanket bog and a stronghold area for red squirrels.

Christmas is always a key date in the calendar for Forestry England, as their forests nationwide gear up for the busy festive period. But this year has been especially significant, as they have also been celebrating their centenary year. The Forestry Commission was founded in September 1919 to restore the nation’s woods and forests following the First World War. Following the passing of the Forestry Act, their first tree was planted, and 100 years later they are the largest land manager in the UK.

So what better way to celebrate your centenary, than by being the supplier of Parliament’s coveted Christmas trees? Kevin May is the forest management director for North England Forest District, which includes Kielder Forest; he comments:

“We’re really proud to supply a Forestry England, Kielder Forest tree to Westminster each and every Christmas; and it’s especially satisfying to do this in our Centenary year. Kielder Forest contributes over a third of the timber production from our nation’s forests supporting local and regional economies.   Kielder Forest also provides a home for a diversity of wildlife including rare species such as ospreys and red squirrels as well as providing open public access for adventure and exploration. From a forest which provides some of the best star gazing opportunities in the country, it’s great to provide a Christmas tree for our nation’s capital in such a star location!”

Almost all of the Christmas trees supplied by Forestry England are certified Grown in Britain, which means, just like the tree travelling from Kielder to London, they are guaranteed home-grown and therefore travel far fewer tree-miles than imported trees, in reaching their final Christmas destination.

Grown in Britain is urging consumers and retailers to choose certified British grown Christmas trees this winter, for an independent assurance they are grown in the UK. Here are five key reasons for buying a Grown in Britain certified Christmas tree:

  • Grown in Britain labelled Christmas trees have to meet strict freshness standards, which helps them last longer.
  • The UK has a flourishing Christmas tree sector and buying a home-grown tree supports local rural businesses.
  • It’s a sustainable choice – around £3 million worth of real Christmas trees are imported into the UK each year – travelling a lot more tree miles than home-grown trees.
  • Real Christmas trees are more environmentally friendly than artificial trees and Grown in Britain certified trees are great quality, from growers located right across the UK.
  • A recent report published by Grown in Britain highlighted a risk that imported Christmas trees could provide a pathway for new tree pests and diseases to enter the UK. The organisation says the report’s findings underline the need for retailers and buyers of imported trees to source their trees responsibly and ensure robust biosecurity measures are in place. Buying a Christmas tree labelled with the Grown in Britain mark, certifies it is grown in the UK.

Always look for the logo, make sure it’s Grown in Britain.

Images 1&2: ©Steve Orton_Forestry England
Image 3: ©UK Parliament_Jessica Taylor