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Christmas

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Solicitor-General how many Christmas trees were purchased by the Law Officers’ Departments in each of the last five years; what the cost was of those trees in each year; from where the trees were sourced; what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees; and by what process the trees were disposed of. (305642)

Where available, details on the purchases and polices of each Law Officers’ Department are outlined as follows. In general where Christmas trees have been purchased attempts have been made to source and dispose of them in a sustainable way, as well as to keep costs to a minimum.

The Attorney-General’s Office has purchased four Christmas trees during the last five years at a total cost of £409.60. This year due to cost cutting measures no tree has been purchased.

All the trees were purchased from suppliers who only buy trees from accredited sustainable sources. All the trees were recycled, ending up as wood chips for bridle paths or fertiliser. The exact breakdown of costs on a yearly basis is as follows;

£

2005-06

112.00

2006-07

105.85

2007-08

117.90

2008-09

74.85

The Serious Fraud Office has purchased the following Christmas trees over the last five years:

Number

£ (inc. VAT)

2005

1 Christmas tree purchased from “Christmas Tree Land”

56.99

2006

1 Christmas tree purchased from “Christmas Tree Land”

64.98

2007

1 Christmas tree purchased from “Christmas Tree Land”

170.00

2008

1 artificial tree hire service from “Phs Greenleaf”

287.82

2009

1 ‘Real’ tree hire service from “Phs Greenleaf”

408.82

1 Estimated figure

From 2005 to 2007 the Christmas trees purchased from “Christmas Tree Land” were grown on plantations and harvested like any other sustainable crop. The trees were disposed of via Camden Council’s Christmas tree collection service. In 2008 the artificial tree was collected by Phs Greenleaf at the end of the hire period for reuse. In 2009 the ‘Real’ Tree from Phs Greenleaf was from a sustainable tree farm and will be collected by Phs, Gunnersbury branch, who dispose of trees via the local council who then use the chippings on pathways and nature trails throughout the borough.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) purchases a maximum of one tree per annum which is situated in its reception area. HMCPSI does not record such costs separately from other general accommodation costs and is therefore unable to provide information in respect of past years. However, the amount spent in December 2009 was £39 and this is believed to be the highest amount.

Records are not kept on from where the trees were sourced, what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees and by what process the trees were disposed. Where possible and practicable all waste is recycled usually through its local authority.

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office has made no purchases of “real” Christmas trees during each of the last five years. It did however purchase three artificial Christmas trees in November 2005, at a total cost of £300, all of which are still in use.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not keep central records of the number, cost, provenance or disposal arrangements in relation to Christmas trees and could provide this information only at a disproportionate cost.

The Treasury Solicitor’s Department and the National Fraud Authority have not purchased any Christmas trees during the last five years.