Kielder Forest Christmas tree takes centre stage at Westminster

All Westminster trees for the last 20 years have come from Kielder Forest. Credit: UK Parliament/Annabel Moeller

A tree planted Kielder Forest almost 40 years ago has taken centre stage in the heart of the Parliamentary estate at Westminster.

The 43-foot high Sitca spruce tree stands at 41 feet (12.5m) and was installed in New Palace Yard on Saturday 26 November by parliamentary staff.

Owing to its size and location, a crane was used to lift the tree into position.

Planted 40 years ago, it was selected out of 150 million trees taken from the 60,000 hectare site, which is one of the only areas where trees can be grown to the scale required.

It was transported free of charge by Forestry England after being felled on 18 November.

  • The tree was cut down just over a week prior to being placed in situ, as Julia Barthram reported.

Richard Cooper, from Forestry England, said: "We have to keep our eyes peeled for most of the year. 

"We're looking for something with a single stem, nice and bushy, really good coverage all the way around.  It was a really good specimen - a lovely bushy specimen."

Kielder Forest was hit hard by Storm Arwen a year ago, with around a million trees blown down by strong winds. Some areas of the forest only reopened in the summer of 2022.

The tree is one of 212 from Kielder which will be displayed in towns around the UK this Christmas.

Crowds gathered for the spectacle. Credit: UK Parliament/Annabel Moeller

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: "Like so many people, I cannot wait for this year’s normal Christmas – and seeing the arrival of the tree in Parliament means the festivities can begin. 

"We are very grateful to Forestry England for donating the tree – and to keep the anticipation going, we will be waiting until 5 December for the big switch on and carol service.

"This will also give me a chance to thank everyone for their hard work during a particularly momentous year."

Another 25ft (7.6m) tree has been delivered to Westminster Hall and a 12ft tree will stand in the Speaker’s House.

In January the trees will be recycled and sent to be chipped and used for composting.

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