Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 5

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee from Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister

  As your office may have mentioned, I tried to speak to you on the telephone on Friday but you were not available. Fortunately I was able to speak to Joan Walley and briefed her on the background.

  I am aware that the Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the Government's role in promoting the use of timber from sustainable sources.

  I enclose a copy of a parliamentary answer given on Friday 19 April by Christopher Leslie, the Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office regarding the timber used in the refurbishment of the Ripley and Kirkland building in Whitehall.

  You will see that a full investigation in to all the circumstances surrounding the procurement of timber for this project is currently underway and a report will be made to the House of Commons when this has been completed.

April 2002

Annex A

CABINET OFFICE ORDINARY WRITTEN QUESTION

Cab Ref: 2001/2002 Ordinary Written Question Answered on 14 February 2002 pursuant reply 19 April 2002

  Lab—Stoke-on-Trent North

11.   Joan Walley

  To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much has been spent on timber for the refurbishment of the Ripley and Kirkland building.  (35686)

10.   Joan Walley

  To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much certified timber has been used in the refurbishment of the Ripley and Kirkland building; and what proportion of the total timber purchased for this refurbishment this represents.  (35685)

12.   Joan Walley

  To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what action was taken by his Department to ensure that timber procured for the refurbishment of the Ripley and Kirkland building was sourced (a) sustainably and (b) legally.  (35684)

Mr Christopher Leslie

  Pursuant to the answer I gave on 14 February (column reference 558W) I regret to say that the information I provided was incorrect. The contract used with the main contractor for the refurbishment of 22 Whitehall (comprising the Ripley and Kirkland Buildings) did not specify that all timber should be supplied from certifiable sustainably managed sources upon which certificates are to be made available. The contract does require that timber for the doors and door frames in the Ripley Building should be "supplied from a certified renewable source. Certificates to be provided." The contract did not specify the source of any other timber to be used in the buildings.

  I provided the original answer to the House in good faith on the basis of information provided to Cabinet Office officials. I am grateful to my honourable friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North for her interest in this matter. As a result of her investigations, we are currently, with Balfour Beatty, undertaking a full investigation in to all circumstances surrounding this matter and will report back to the House.


 
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