New rules on importing real Christmas trees could cause a shortage this December, says specialist retailer Christmas Tree World.

For the first time this year Christmas trees over three metres tall will require a 'plant passport' to enter the UK, which will increase the cost of the biggest trees by as much as 200 per cent, Christmas Tree World claims.

The UK market is reliant on Christmas tree imports, with £3m-worth of real trees imported last year from Denmark, Belgium and France.

The new legislation is designed to protect UK trees against pest and insect infestations but experts say it will be businesses seeking giant Christmas trees for their that will be hardest hit by the new tax.

"As Brexit looms closer, there is so much uncertainty about importation costs, so the expense of real Christmas trees is only going to rise further until we are certain of the outcome," said Christmas Tree World MD, Stephen Evans.

"New plant passports will make importing more bureaucratic, expensive and challenging as it remains very unclear. Increased importation costs are likely to cause a shortage of giant Christmas trees this year, so as a result of this limited stock, people are looking for alternative options."

The company is already reporting an 80 per cent increase in sales for the hospitality sector for its artificial giant trees, Stephen says.