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Christmas

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many Christmas trees were purchased by his Department and its agencies 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. (305640)

The following information lists the number of trees for which this Department and its predecessors have purchased for reception areas in buildings on its Estate. The costs include installation, decoration and removal by our foliage contractors. Information as follows:

Number of trees purchased

Cost (£)

2005

12

661

2006

12

661

2007

13

1,099

2008

13

1,144

2009

13

1,144

1 One artificial

All trees, other than artificial trees, are sourced from UK growers who are members of the British Association of Christmas Tree Growers. All BCTG members are required to adhere to strict standards of sustainability. All real trees are recycled and turned into mulch. Artificial trees are broken down and then rebuilt the following year.

I have approached the Chief Executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office and the Intellectual Property Office and they will respond directly to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 9 December 2009:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (formerly National Weights and Measures Laboratory) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 07/12/2009 reference 2009/449 ] to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking how many Christmas trees were purchased 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.

In each year one Christmas tree was purchased and the costs were:-

£

2005

30.99

2006

39.99

2007

49.99

2008

57.53

2009

59.95

The trees were purchased from local garden centres that used suppliers who managed their plantations sustainably. The trees were disposed of using the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames Christmas tree disposal system so that they are disposed of sustainably.

The National Measurement Office has reviewed the sustainability of real against artificial trees and the carbon footprint of real trees is currently considered to be less than artificial trees.

Letter from Sean Dennehey, dated 9 December 2009:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 18 November 2009, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office has not purchased any Christmas trees in the last five years.

The Office has hired an artificial Christmas tree (£385 per annum 2005-2008, £500 2009) each year but this remains the responsibility of the owner.

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 15 December 2009:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 7 December 2009, UIN 305640, to the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Companies House has not purchased any real Christmas trees in the last five years.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 15 December 2009:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question, how many Christmas trees were purchased by his Department and its agencies 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.

The Insolvency Service has not purchased any Christmas trees in each of the last five years.