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Westminster Christmas tree is one in 150 million

Photo issued by Forestry England of the Big Ben Christmas tree in Kielder Forest after being felled.

By Tom Wilkinson, PA

A Christmas tree picked to stand at the foot of Big Ben is one in 150 million, Forestry England has said.

The 42ft Sitka spruce, selected from the 60,000-hectare Kielder Forest in Northumberland, has been despatched to central London to be put up outside Parliament at the weekend.

Kielder is England’s biggest forest and one of the few places in the UK that can supply such tall Christmas trees.

This year, more than 90 other outsized specimens, some up to 55ft tall, will take up positions at prime locations across the UK.

Ian Green, from Forestry England, said: “It’s a big honour to be able to supply a tree from the 150 million growing in Kielder for such a starring role.

“It has been hand-selected by experts to look good from every angle and was carefully felled by an experienced chainsaw operator to ensure its good looks were kept intact.

“It really is a beauty.

“But it’s also a credit to the way to the way the forest is managed. Kielder is an internationally important habitat for wildlife and also England’s major producer of sustainable timber.

“Seeing the tree lit up on view to the whole world will be an immense source of pride for all of us.”

Meanwhile, Forestry England has embarked on a major annual planting programme in Kielder, with more than three million new trees to be planted before spring.

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