Parliament Square spruce hailed as the ‘start of Christmas'
Forestry workers hope felling the famous tree that stands in Parliament Square can be the “start of Christmas” for people.
The 30-year-old 43ft spruce was spotted five years ago growing in Redesdale in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, and selected as a perfect example of the species that will look good from all angles.
Forestry England works supervisor Steve Orton had the nerve-racking job of felling the tree without damaging its branches.
It will stand at the foot of Big Ben and be seen by millions on television.
Beat forester Ian Green said the tree will be taken by a local haulier and driven overnight to London, arriving at 6am on Saturday.
He said: “I would like to hope this will be the start of Christmas for people.
“It’s an iconic Christmas tree.
“Where it sits, at the bottom of Big Ben, millions of people will see it on the news or if they’re able to get out into London.
“So yes, it is the start of Christmas.”
Kielder Forest has more than 150 million trees, and this one was selected because it looked like a child’s idea of an ideal Christmas tree, like they would draw on a card.
Asked for a tip on choosing a good tree, Mr Orton pointed at the Sitka Spruce selected for Westminster and said: “This is my option, others will have their own opinions.
“One of the problems I have is it’s viewed from every angle in Parliament, you can see it all the way around.
“Most people at home will put theirs up in a corner and you can hide the flat bit whereas here you’re not able to do that so it’s got to be viewed all the way around.”
The forest is also supplying smaller trees for the Speaker’s apartment and medieval Westminster Hall.
Other tall trees are being sent from Kielder Forest to city centres around the UK, including Glasgow, Ipswich and Sunderland.