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Wednesday 19th February 2020

UK could be hit by a Christmas tree shortage this year

Blame Brexit!?

Fans of real Christmas trees might face disappointment this festive season as the UK looks set to be hit by a tree shortage.

The scent of fresh pine needles might have to be replaced by plastic, as new legislation will push up red tape and importation costs.

How soon will you be putting yours up? (Credit: Pexels)

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According to About Manchester, new rules are said to have driven up the red tape and cost of real Christmas trees imported from Europe.

For the first time, Christmas trees over three metres in height will require a 'Plant Passport' to enter the UK.

The expense of real Christmas trees is only going to rise further.

This new legislation, introduced to protect UK woodland against the risk of pest and insect infestations that importation of plants can cause, will drive up the costs of giant Christmas trees by around 200%.

Christmas trees could be in short supply this year (Credit: Pexels)

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The UK market is heavily reliant on Christmas tree imports, with £3 million-worth of real trees imported last year alone, most commonly from Denmark, Belgium and France.

This, combined with ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, is expected to have a huge impact on the availability of large trees for 2019 as costs continue to increase.

Stephen Evans, Managing Director at Christmas Tree World, said: "As Brexit looms closer, there is so much uncertainty about importation costs, so the expense of real Christmas trees is only going to rise further until we are certain of the outcome."

Plastic or real? Which Christmas tree do you prefer? (Credit: Pexels)

He added that businesses and home owners will have to look for alternative options, including plastic trees.

Meanwhile, Scottish Borders Council recently defended itself after being accused of Scrooge-like behaviour after it emerged the 30-foot pines it normally gifts local towns to spruce up the high street will be 10 feet shorter this year.

According to Planet Radio, a shortage of Christmas trees is being blamed for the move to downsize this year's festive displays.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: "Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to source the usual 30ft Christmas trees for all Borders towns. We have, however, been able to source 20ft trees, which are of a very high quality."

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