No more Norwegian wood as Xmas tree is home grown
A TOWERING Christmas tree from Norway has formed a centrepiece of the Capital's festive celebrations for more than 20 years.
But environmental concerns have prompted the tradition to be axed, with future trees making a shorter journey to The Mound from the Borders.
Instead of making the 780-mile trip from southern Norway via Newcastle, Edinburgh's Christmas tree has come from the Duke of Buccleuch's estate in the Scottish Borders.
The tree is sent by Norway as a gesture of thanks for the support Scotland gave during the Second World War.
This will be the 24th year Edinburgh has received the gift of a tree from the Norwegian region of Hordaland.
But in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, the Norwegians will source a suitable tree from the UK.
Lord Provost George Grubb said: "This year Edinburgh will be having a green Christmas, so our friends in Hordaland are sourcing our famous Christmas gift locally.
"Hordaland have sent a Christmas tree to Edinburgh for many years and this tradition will continue but we, like the Norwegians, have an environmental conscience. Previously the tree was transported across the North Sea and by road for hundreds of miles, but now it will make a shorter, greener trip from the Borders."
Edinburgh-based environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland has praised the eco-friendly move.
Head of projects and campaigns, Corinne Evans, said: "We welcome Edinburgh City Council's efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by sourcing a local Christmas tree rather than bringing one from Norway.
"We would also encourage residents of Edinburgh to ensure that the Christmas trees that they buy come from a local, sustainable source."
While the Christmas gift of a Norweigan spruce to the Capital has been made by Hordaland since the 1980s, this is the fourth year the tree itself has been grown locally.
Edinburgh grandmother Pauline Wood won an Evening News prize draw to travel to the outskirts of Bergen in Norway with her three grandchildren to take part in the ceremonial felling of last year's tree, only for it to be called off.
It was the third year in a row problems with the Norwegian tree resulted in the Christmas centrepiece being sourced closer to home.
Two years ago, the specialist shipping company which was due to transport the tree ran into financial problems. Bergen was still determined to give Edinburgh's Christmas tree and so paid for one from woodland near Peebles.
The year before, residents objected to a tree which they had nurtured for 32 years being cut down to send to Edinburgh.
The 1800 lights on this year's tree will be switched on at a Light Night ceremony on November 27, marking the start of the Capital's Christmas celebrations.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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