Monmouth Town Council are in the process of deciding whether or not the town will continue having natural and authentic Christmas trees.

October is the time of year where the council start making decisions about Christmas decorations and this year they are looking at more sustainable options than the usual 'real' tree.

During last year's decision making process it was resolved to raise the possibility of more environmentally tree options for this year.

Chair of the meeting, Cllr Terry Christopher said: "We thought it would be good to give people an opportunity to come up with alternative, sustainable ideas on how we can display Christmas trees."

It had been suggested to rent a Christmas tree rather than purchase and scrap one. One issue which was researched by Cllr Richard Roden, was that the root depth of a Christmas tree has a strong relationship to its height and as such, would make moving and replanting such a large tree impractical.

He added that on initial research, a suitably large artificial tree would come to £500 each totalling £1,000 for the two that Monmouth usually has. This is in comparison to £400 for each authentic tree.

Cllr Emma Bryn told the council: "I think environmentally, plastic would be the wrong way to go. I think you have to have a plastic tree for over 20 years before it's anywhere near as environmentally friendly as a real tree."

In an attempt to reach a sensible compromise that would please the most people, Cllr Anthea Dewhurst proposed a pragmatic idea. She suggested having a smaller rooted tree at the Oldway Centre which can be planted on the Two River Meadow next to the existing conifers, and the tree at Agincourt Square would remain the usual type of tree which is disposed of after Christmas.

The meeting resolved to take a look at Cllr Dewhurst's proposal and look at prices for consideration. The final decision has not yet been made and will be done so at a future meeting.

Beacon readers are in agreement for the preference of a real Christmas tree. The Beacon asked readers on Twitter for their opinions.

Over 77 per cent of people asked preferred the option of a real Christmas tree where as less than 8 per cent opted for the plastic choice.

The plastic was the least favourite option, dropping below having no tree at all.

Those who wish to participate in the Beacon's opinion polls on Twitter, can follow the @MonBeacon account.

The Christmas tree became popular in the home during the 1900s, however there were Christmas trees in public spaces as early as the 1700s. They're a tradition brought over to the UK from Germany.

It is widely considered that natural trees can be the greener option. They remove carbon from the atmosphere during the 5-10 years they spend in the ground prior to Christmas and planting them, or finding ways to reuse it can mitigate the environmental impact further.

Plastic trees are often made from PVC, a plastic which is notoriously difficult to recycle and harmful when incinerated.

The Carbon Trust, which operate as part of the climate change levy (CCL), have estimated that a 2 metre tall plastic tree creates around 40kg CO2e, which is twice as much as a real tree - even factoring in that a real tree could end up in landfill where it degrades and emits methane.