Louth Town Council backs artificial Christmas Tree

Louth town councillors will re-vote on the artificial Christmas Tree next week.
Louth town councillors will re-vote on the artificial Christmas Tree next week.

Following lengthy discussions and a narrow vote in favour, Louth Town Council has agreed to invest in an artificial Christmas Tree for the 2019 festive season and beyond.

Following the meeting last month, a Louth Town Council spokesman said that the new tree will feature over 7,000 LED lights, providing “a spectacle in the town centre that hasn’t ever been seen before”.

The Mayor of Louth, Coun Fran Treanor, said the town council is 'looking forward to offering something different'

The Mayor of Louth, Coun Fran Treanor, said the town council is 'looking forward to offering something different'

The spokesman said: “Members of the council, having received comments from locals sharing their disappointment with the previous illuminations in the town, requested that the council’s Christmas Lights Working Group consider a new strategy for Christmas 2019.

“The working group recommended to invest in a new tree that can be used for a minimum of 10 years, the cost of which will be offset in future years. This cost (around £7,500) was considered against the cost of the 25-foot real tree which was purchased annually.

“The new type of artificial tree comes with a 10-year guarantee and is supplied by a reputable UK based company.

“With the environment being a cause for concern, the working group thoroughly explored the option of real versus artificial trees and concluded that the destruction of 10 x 25-foot trees over the purchase of one 23-foot artificial tree balanced.

“The Carbon Trust advises that if an artificial tree is used for 10 years, it will have lower carbon emissions than its real counterpart.”

However, long-standing town and district councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders disagreed with the assessment of the environmental impact.

In a recent newsletter to residents, Coun Makinson-Sanders said the tree would be made in China and shipped over to the UK, adding that she had concerns over the levels of CO2 involved in its production and shipping to England.

She later told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We used real Christmas trees, collected by Louth Rotary for a donation to charity, to line the banks of the river going through Hubbards Hills recently, so I am confident that their reuse is very different.

“Growing trees put CO2 back into the atmosphere as they grow too. As an Independent councillor I support green initiatives locally, and as a granny I want to leave my grandchildren a legacy of a healthy and sustainable environment.

“It is not an issue of money in my book, but care for the environment must be paramount.”

However, those who supported the council’s decision last month have said the tree will be kinder to the environment as the carbon footprint is lower than the deforestation of 10 real trees.

Louth Town councillors Lynne Cooney and Alex Cox said the tree is being bought from a British company, with the frame manufactured from British Steel.

They said only some of the components come from China.

Councillors were also told that the supplier plants a tree in the Borneo rainforest for each one sold in a bid to tackle deforestation.

Coun Cox said: “The environment was taken into account. The Carbon Trust advises that over a 10 year period an artificial tree produces lower carbon emissions.

“The carbon footprint is lower than the deforestation of 10 real trees.”

The councillors added that the artificial Christmas tree is not “single use plastic”.

A real tree, they said, costs £900 per year, which means the tree will pay for itself in seven years.

It will not be decorated this year, but will in following years.

A Louth Town Council spokesman confirmed that the tree will be installed ready for the Christmas Market on Sunday December 1, with the support of local businesses.

The spokesman said: “JA Burton Roofing have offered their services to install and remove the tree and 
MKM Building Supplies will loan the sand required to secure the base.

“Interskill have also offered to make and install a picket fence to surround the tree to finish off the overall aesthetic.”

The Mayor of Louth, Coun Fran Treanor, said the town council ‘looks forward to offering something different’ following the decision to purchase the artificial tree.

He said: “We hope that by demonstrating our commitment to enhancing the festive light display in our town, we will attract more people to visit the town, boosting retail business and tourism.

“This is the first tree of its kind in Lincolnshire, and we look forward to offering something different and putting ourselves on the map.

“We also hope that by demonstrating the Town Council’s commitment to investing in the new Christmas tree, we will be able to call upon the support of local businesses in the future to join with us in funding additional displays in our town to celebrate the festive season.”

Residents are invited to contact the Louth Town Clerk by emailing clerk@louthtowncouncil.gov.uk if they require further details.

• What are your views on the Christmas Tree debate? Would you prefer a real tree or do you back the new artificial one?

Email your views to louthleader@jpimedia.co.uk.