Will there be enough Christmas trees this year?


Will there be enough Christmas trees this year? Fears of a shortage after imports from Denmark were halted due to coronavirus mink cull

  • The UK normally imports more than one million Nordmann Fir trees each year 
  • Exports to the UK have been severely hit by restrictions linked to a cull of mink
  • 10million trees are sold in Britain every year – around 3million of them imported

Britain’s most popular Christmas tree could be in short supply after imports from Denmark were halted by Covid-19 restrictions.

The UK normally imports more than one million Nordmann Fir trees each year from what is Europe’s largest festive tree producer.  

However, exports to the UK and other countries have been severely hit by restrictions linked to a cull of mink, which became a reservoir for a mutant form of coronavirus. 

Garden centres say that, historically, many stores and supermarkets rely on Danish trees for their festive stock. 

Britain’s most popular Christmas tree could be in short supply after imports from Denmark were halted by Covid-19 restrictions

Some 10million trees are sold in Britain every year, around 3million of them imported. 

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association said that, so far, retailers have been able to meet demand from domestic supplies. 

Many families usually go and choose a tree from a garden centre, but they have not been able to do so this month so demand has shot up with online retailers such as GardeningExpress.co.uk.

Its founder Chris Bonnett said: ‘This time last year, we thought Brexit was going to cause a shortage of festive trees for Christmas 2020, but fortunately that hasn’t been the case.

The UK normally imports more than one million Nordmann Fir trees each year from what is Europe's largest festive tree producer

The UK normally imports more than one million Nordmann Fir trees each year from what is Europe’s largest festive tree producer

‘Now, however, with many trees imported from Denmark, which has stopped exporting goods due to the Coronavirus mink cull, suppliers are struggling to get through.

‘Our online sales are already up around 1,000 per cent for Christmas trees on the same period last year, and thankfully we have a local plantation to rely on for our stock.

‘But many retailers import huge volumes of trees from Denmark, meaning there could be a shortage. Haulier drivers can’t even exit the country at the moment due to fears around the new Coronavirus strain.

‘Many suppliers could be cut off if the restrictions in Denmark aren’t lifted soon.’

IKEA is offering Christmas trees at a headline price of £29, however this comes with a £20 voucher than can be redeemed on other purchases in the new year – bringing the cost down to £9.

The deal is available ‘while stocks last’. The company was unable to say whether stocks will be restricted this year because it cannot use trees from Denmark.

However, exports to the UK and other countries have been severely hit by restrictions linked to a cull of mink, which became a reservoir for a mutant form of coronavirus

However, exports to the UK and other countries have been severely hit by restrictions linked to a cull of mink, which became a reservoir for a mutant form of coronavirus

In England, shoppers can reserve a tree online through the IKEA website and arrange collection from the car park of participating stores this week, even though the outlets are closed.

Heather Parry of the BCTGA said: ‘The British Christmas Tree Growers Association’s members provide the bulk of Christmas trees for the UK market and that proportion is increasing each year. Brexit and Covid – including Mink Covid in Denmark – have had an impact on imported trees but they are getting through customs, albeit more slowly than normal. The vast majority of the 8-10 million Christmas trees sold in this country are grown in the UK.’

IKEA said: ‘We have been sourcing from Scotland for a number of years. This was always the intention for this year too, and we haven’t been affected by any issues in supply.’

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