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.
CABINET OFFICE ORDINARY WRITTEN QUESTION
Cab Ref: 2001/2002 Ordinary Written Question
Answered on 14 February 2002 pursuant reply 19 April 2002
11. Joan Walley
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much has
been spent on timber for the refurbishment of the Ripley and Kirkland
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.