Published on 15 December 2015
London’s festive season has kicked off in sustainable style with the lighting of the iconic Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree on 3rd December. The traditional annual gift from Norway to the people of London will be the 69th in the series of trees donated by Oslo to London as a token of friendship and gratitude for Britain’s assistance during World War II.
This year's Christmas tree is 25m high and more than 100 years old and was felled during a special ceremony attended by the Mayors of Oslo and Westminster.
The Norwegian Spruce has been harvested from a PEFC-certified forest from the Ostmarka area just outside Oslo. Jon Christiansen, who manages the forest owned by the city of Oslo, said that they have prepared this tree for a long time before it was sent to London. “The trees that are selected as potential gifts get extra care and treatment every summer,” said Jon. “They get extra space around them so they get a lot of light and can grow free from competition from other trees. They are also fertilised and cared for so that they will have many regular branches and become dense and fine and look good as Christmas trees.”
Being from a PEFC-certified area ensures that the forest from which the tree has been taken is managed under strict controls and guidelines, to ensure that the forest and products leaving it are legal and sustainable. PEFC is a unique global certification system which works by endorsing national forest certification systems and with over 268 million hectares of certified forests across 38 countries, is the world’s largest forest certification system.
For many Londoners, the Christmas tree and carol singing in Trafalgar Square signal the countdown to Christmas. The tree was lit on 3rd December and will remain in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when will be taken down and recycled by being chipped and composted for mulch.