Bolton’s Christmas tree funding chopped down

By Jessica Haworth, Hannah Ingram, Jack Titley and John Whitney

Scrooge has shaken Blackrod to its roots as Bolton Council has decided to cut the number of its showpiece Christmas trees.

Due to the village’s unique long and thin geographical shape there have always been two trees, but this year it joins neighbouring towns such as Horwich and Westhoughton by having only one.

Blackrod previously had trees at either end of the village, but due to environmental reasons, Bolton Council is now permanently planting one tree in Manchester Road.

John Price, Chairman of Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group, said: “It’s the best way of going forward but Blackrod shouldn’t be seen as the village that Christmas passed by.”

Carol Barker, of Boundary Drive, Bolton, who has family in Blackrod is saddened by the removal of the tree.

Mrs Barker said:  “My mother is devastated that the tree near her house will be no more.

“She always takes the grandchildren there on Christmas Eve and isn’t mobile enough to go to the other one.”

A resident has offered to donate a tree free of charge, but it would cost £1,600 to install and light.

Blackrod Council’s Town Clerk, Christine Pearson, said they have contacted Viridor – a firm close to the tree location – looking to secure funding for the project.

Bolton Council wants to reassure residents that this measure is a step in the right direction towards a greener town.

Planting a single permanent tree will eliminate the need to destroy two every year, creating a more sustainable environment.

Director of Environmental Services, Malcolm Cox, said: “A living tree is more desirable for both environmental and financial stability.”

The popularity of cut trees has declined in recent years due to the current economic climate.

Andy Walker, who sells Christmas trees at JH Neal in Stockport, said people are choosing to buy artificial trees instead of paying for the real thing.

Mr Walker said: “Real trees are used for a few weeks then chucked away – it’s just stupid.”

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