Christmas tree shortages could hit the UK this year as suppliers have warned the seasonal tradition could be affected due to post-Brexit and the pandemic.
Labour shortages are also causing difficulties to harvest millions of trees and it is also difficult to import from overseas which could lead to higher prices.
Mark Rofe, who owns ChristmasTrees.co.uk said post-Brexit regulations have led to a major issue in importing trees, which could lead to more people buying artificial trees.
Rofe said, “We’ve spoken to our UK growers and they are 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.”
Around 10m Christmas trees are sold in the UK every year with imports between 1 to 3m being imported from Europe.
Rofe said, “Our main grower supplies the market with 100,000 Christmas trees each year and employs between 50 and 70 workers during the peak of the season.
“In previous years they were reliant on foresters, mostly from Eastern Europe who would come over for the harvest and then would return to their home country afterwards, but since the Brexit transition they just aren’t able to come over to work now.
“They have found it a real challenge to cover their workforce with local labour.”
Transport costs have increased between 20 and 60%, with the cost of fertiliser, wood and raw materials have also increased and some items have doubled in price.
Rofe added, “It’s going to be more challenging to get hold of a real Christmas tree this festive season, however if you are able to get one, you can expect to be paying more than you would have in previous years.
“Wholesale prices have increased between 5% and 10% just this year.
“With Christmas trees taking an average of 10-years to grow, it’s not a case of simply just cutting more trees, especially when you don’t have the labour to harvest them, or the haulage to transport them across the country.”