Grown in Britain says many retailers and consumers may be assuming they are buying fresh British grown trees, when they are not.

The organisation is urging retailers and consumers to support rural businesses in Britain and reduce ‘tree miles’ by checking where their Christmas tree comes from before they buy.

According to Government statistics, £3 million pounds worth of real Christmas trees were imported into the UK last year. Grown in Britain has created a Christmas tree licensing scheme that operates throughout the supply chain from growers to retailers and provides an assurance that trees are fresh and grown in the UK in a responsible way with due regard to the environment.

Chief executive Dougal Driver says: “The UK has a flourishing Christmas tree growing sector and our auditing process checks that trees are definitely from the UK, grown responsibly and meet a strict forest floor to shop floor freshness test.”

He adds: “This is the start of the campaign with approximately 50,000 Christmas trees currently licensed for sale, but the public can really make a difference by asking their stockists to supply assured Grown in Britain trees now and in the future. This will help ensure the number of assured homegrown Christmas trees rises over time, with a consequential boost to the UK’s rural economy.”

The campaign was launched in the National Forest, at the headquarters of Forest Holidays, which uses certified Grown in Britain Christmas trees in its holiday cabins.

Bruce McKendrick, chief executive officer, Forest Holidays said: “Our guests value and love Britain’s forests. It’s one of the main reasons that they choose to stay with us. Forest Holidays entirely supports the objectives of Grown in Britain and we have a deep rooted commitment to working with local suppliers in support of rural economies at each of our ten locations. We are delighted to showcase the quality of British Christmas trees and to demonstrate the vital importance of the UK’s woodland industries.

“This year, we are also providing homegrown tree saplings with our gift hampers, to encourage our guests to continue supporting British forests when they get home.”

To find out your nearest supplier of Grown in Britain licensed Christmas trees, look at the licence holder map on the Grown in Britain website