New import regulations, labour shortages and rising raw material prices could cause a shortage of Christmas trees in the UK, according to growers.
Online Christmas tree retailer Christmastrees.co.uk said importing trees into the UK had become more difficult and could give rise to a shortage of UK grown trees.
Finding workers to look after and harvest trees was harder than ever, while the price of some raw materials has soared, including wood for pallets, fertiliser, and labels, said the retailer. Transport costs were up as much as 60% and availability of haulage was a potential problem.
Mark Rofe, owner of Christmastrees.co.uk, predicted it could be more challenging to obtain a real tree this year and consumers could expect to pay more, with wholesale prices increasing 5-10%.
He said UK growers he had spoken to were all facing the same challenges.
“They are seeing an increase in demand for their product, especially from clients who would usually import their trees from Europe, but are keen to avoid any red tape that could increase costs or cause delays for what is of course a highly seasonal and time sensitive business,” said Rofe.
Some growers had been reliant on foresters who would come from their home countries, mostly Eastern Europe, for the harvest, but were unable to do so since Brexit, he added. Finding enough labour locally was proving a challenge.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association said although it expected similar demand to the “phenomenal” demand of last year, there would not be a shortage of British grown Christmas trees.
“Our growers have no real concerns regarding HGV drivers impacting the movement of trees from farms and many of our growers sell directly to the public,” a spokesperson said.
“Those growers who wholesale to garden centres have been assured by their trusted haulage companies that there will be no problems this season regarding transportation of their trees.”
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