HC Deb 31 March 1971 vol 814 c1489
20. Mr. David James

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will design and make available a metal plaque to be affixed to all trees that are the subjects of a preservation order.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

No, Sir.

Mr. James

As thousands of specimen trees are needlessly cut down every year, why must we have an almost inane "No" to a perfectly reasonable proposition to make people more conscious of the need to preserve trees?

Mr. Heseltine

I do not think that the fixing of plaques to tree preservation order trees would help to preserve any trees. There are adequate powers to deal with anybody molesting trees on which there are preservation orders.

Mr. Mackie

If the hon. Gentleman should by any chance take his hon. Friend's advice, will he ensure that the plaques are fixed in such a way that the nail does not affect the ultimate cutting down of the tree when the wood is destroyed?

Mr. Heseltine

I agree that the fixing of plaques and signs to public property in no way guarantees protection of public property.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Having rejected the idea of hanging labels on trees, will my hon. Friend encourage the planting of more trees for future generations to enjoy—and I do not mean the proliferation of Christmas trees across the landscape by the Forestry Commission?

Mr. Heseltine

A very large number of trees are planted every year for amenity reasons as part of the Department's road building programme.