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Which Christmas tree for Downing Street?

Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Next week will see tree growers from across Britain descend on a farm at Three Crosses near Swansea for the annual Christmas tree contest.

The winner is traditionally granted the honour of putting up a tree outside 10 Downing Street.

Our members work hard throughout the year to produce quality trees that the public want to adorn their homes.

They are trying to keep alive the tradition of buying a real Christmas tree and making it a family occasion.

Good growing conditions this year means we are expecting an exceptional display of spruces, pines and firs.

– Harry Brightwell, British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association

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Mystery of butterfly 'disaster Summer'

Peacock numbers have fallen six-fold. Credit: Jens BÃŒttner/DPA/PA Images

Common butterflies saw their numbers collapse in Wales and across the UK over the summer, results from the Big Butterfly Count have revealed.

The majority of butterfly species studied as part of the scheme saw their populations fall in Wales, participants also saw the lowest number of butterflies per count since the scheme began with an average of just 11 butterflies spotted.

Widespread species such as the Ringlet (61% down), Meadow Brown (48% down), Small Tortoiseshell (40% down), Comma (64% down), Peacock (24% down), Small Copper (33% down,) and Gatekeeper (32% down) all struggled in Wales, with numbers falling in comparison to last year.

Numbers of the colourful Peacock have now dropped from a UK average of 3.6 individuals per count in 2013 to just 0.5 per Count in 2016, a six-fold decrease over three years.

The drop in butterfly numbers this summer has been a shock and is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the very mild winter had a negative effect, or the cold spring, or perhaps the impacts of intensive farming and pesticides are really hitting these common species now.

– Richard Cox, Butterfly Conservation
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