Trafalgar Square Christmas tree must cut its carbon footprint, says Oslo mayor | Trees and forests #Trafalgar #Square #Christmas #tree #cut #carbon #footprint #Oslo #mayor #Trees #forests

It is a long-cherished Christmas tradition: a tree sent to London every December from Norway to thank Britain for its support during the second world war.

But felling a decades-old 20-metre (66ft) spruce in the woodlands near Oslo and transporting it by road and sea to Britain to light up Trafalgar Square, only for it to be turned into woodchip a month later, could hardly be described as environmentally friendly.

Now Anne Lindboe, the Norwegian capital’s recently elected Conservative mayor, says she is looking at ways of reducing the tree’s carbon footprint.

As she touched down in London on Thursday for the lighting of this year’s tree, the mayor said she planned to continue sending a festive spruce – but there might be some travel adjustments.

“It’s very important for us to continue the tradition,” Lindboe said. “Now it’s maybe even more important to have these good relationships between cities and between people.

Anne Lindboe and lord mayor Patricia McAllister sawing tree
The Oslo mayor, Anne Lindboe (right), and the lord mayor of Westminster, Cllr Patricia McAllister, get to work on this year’s Christmas gift. Photograph: Cornelius Poppe/NTB/AFP/Getty

“But at the same time, we have to make sure that the carbon footprint is as low as possible. So that is also something we have to take into consideration: how to decrease it as much as possible.”

Transportation was an important factor, she said, adding that a suggestion to instead give a tree grown in Britain had not gone down well with Londoners. Lindboe said she would consider the means by which the tree was transported by road to the cargo ship.

Responding to suggestions in Norwegian media that the tradition could end, she said that while the matter was up for a vote in the city council next year – as it was every few years – she was not aware of any plans to discontinue it.

Lindboe added: “I haven’t heard anyone in the city council saying that we should not continue. And … as the mayor of Oslo, this is really important, so I can promise that I will do everything I can to make sure that this tradition continues.”

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The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has previously been criticised for looking ‘half dead’. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

In recent years, the tree has attracted a barrage of criticism over its appearance – this year some said it looked “half dead”.

Lindboe said this would not put Oslo off sending the tree: “It’s part of the tradition, isn’t it? That you should criticise the tree.”

The propensity for criticism was a trait shared by the populations of Oslo and London, she added. “We like to criticise, particularly if there’s something we’re really fond of. That’s really important to us.”

Defending its appearance, Lindboe said the tree would take a little time to settle into its new urban environment. “It’s a natural-looking tree from a natural forest, not one of these cultivated Christmas trees that you sometimes see, which are more ‘perfect’, but maybe not so natural,” the mayor added.

#Trafalgar #Square #Christmas #tree #cut #carbon #footprint #Oslo #mayor #Trees #forests

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