£20,000 a year trees to be removed after 20 years in PCH

Fig trees that have stood at the centre of Parliament’s Portcullis House (PCH) are to be removed from this weekend, Commons authorities have said.

Twelve fig trees (Ficus nitida), originally imported from Florida in 2001, have stood at the centre of the PCH atrium since the building opened over 20 years ago. However, over the years the trees have become costly to maintain.

The annual cost of maintaining the trees stood at £20,000 in 2018/19. In June 2017, an additional £10,000 had to be spent to stop the trees falling over. Officials said the trees “contribute to the building’s environmental and acoustic performance, as well as limiting the footfall of the area.” The trees also provided MPs and staff with “important natural benefits including cooling, humidity regulation, air quality and sound proofing.”

However, Commons authorities say the trees “have now outgrown the available space”, becoming “root bound” and as a result “no longer viable.” Work will take place over the next two weekends to remove the trees, which will be environmentally disposed of.