The festive season kicks off in sustainable style with the lighting of the iconic Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree in central London on 1 December. The traditional annual gift from Norway to the UK for its support and help during World War 2 will be the 65th in the series of trees donated by Oslo’s population to the citizens of London.
This year the tree has been harvested from a community-owned, PEFC-certified forest from the Ostmarka area just outside Oslo. The fantastic 55-year-old Spruce measures 22 metres and was felled during a special ceremony on 18 November, where the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang was joined by Susan Burbridge, the Mayor of Westminster and UK Ambassador to Norway Jane Owen. Local children from Lutvann School and the International School of Oslo, were also on hand to get the Christmas spirit started by singing Carols before the tree was carefully cut and lifted by crane to begin its journey to London
“Each year is special because of the story behind Norway’s annual gift to the UK,” said Thomas Hussum of PEFC Norway. “But as the International Year of the Forest draws to a close, it is fitting to note that the tree felled for London has come from a PEFC-certified forest. This is very important for everyone involved as Norwegian forest owner’s work hard to protect the forest resource for generations to come while producing a solid supply of quality, sustainable timber for the rest of the world.”
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. These are developed by working collaboratively at ground level with all interested stakeholders and tailored to local priorities and conditions. With over 230 million hectares of certified forests across 30 countries, PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Susie Burbidge, said: “I would like to thank the people of Oslo for this wonderful tree, the gift of which is a tradition that I know goes back many years, and has come to represent not only the start of Christmas, but also of a long-standing friendship between Norway and Great Britain. I am looking forward to lighting up the tree here in Trafalgar Square, the heart of Westminster, and am honoured to welcome all of our residents and our visitors to share with us the start of the festive season.”