Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Tim Farron (LDEM - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Labour
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Plaid Cymru
Ben Lake (PC - Ceredigion)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Labour
Baroness Hayman of Ullock (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Luke Pollard (LAB - Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Scottish National Party
Deidre Brock (SNP - Edinburgh North and Leith)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Stephanie Peacock (LAB - Barnsley East)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Daniel Zeichner (LAB - Cambridge)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ministers of State
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (CON - Life peer)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Victoria Prentis (CON - Banbury)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Rebecca Pow (CON - Taunton Deane)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lord Benyon (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL] – second reading
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 17th June 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
17 Jun 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Scheduled Event
Monday 21st June 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – committee stage (day 1)
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – committee stage (day 2)
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Scheduled Event
Monday 28th June 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – committee stage (day 3)
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 30th June 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – committee stage (day 4)
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Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 6th July 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Thursday 27th May 2021
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill

“Animal sentience” is the capability of an animal to perceive or feel things. Animal sentience is enshrined in European law …

Written Answers
Tuesday 15th June 2021
Rivers: Sewage
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 10th June 2021
Sea Fisheries (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2021
These Regulations make adjustments to the level of European seabass that may be caught as a by-catch within British fisheries …
Bills
Tuesday 8th June 2021
Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from …
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 15th June 2021
14:04

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Apr. 22
Oral Questions
May. 22
Urgent Questions
Jun. 10
Written Statements
Jun. 09
Westminster Hall
May. 27
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


A bill to make provision in relation to fisheries, fishing, aquaculture and marine conservation; to make provision about the functions of the Marine Management Organisation; and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 23rd November 2020 and was enacted into law.


This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 11th November 2020 and was enacted into law.


To make provision for the incorporation of the Direct Payments Regulation into domestic law; for enabling an increase in the total maximum amount of direct payments under that Regulation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 30th January 2020 and was enacted into law.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations make adjustments to the level of European seabass that may be caught as a by-catch within British fisheries limits, in particular in the English and Welsh zones.
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 141 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625, which is amended by S.I. 2020/1481. They amend Commission Implementing (EU) Regulation 2020/466 (which is amended by S.I. 2020/1481 and S.I. 2021/78) to extend the period of application of availability of existing easements in the system of official controls in operation in Great Britain, in order to contain risks of serious disruption to the system caused by the coronavirus pandemic, by postponing its expiry date to 31st December 2021.
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
Petition Open
8,793 Signatures
(7,788 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
13,824 Signatures
(4,332 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
5,470 Signatures
(3,013 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
4,097 Signatures
(1,365 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

104,627
c. 811 added daily
105,729
(Estimated)
24 Aug 2021
closes in 2 months, 1 week

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.

View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Neil Parish Portrait
Neil Parish (Conservative - Tiverton and Honiton)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Derek Thomas Portrait
Derek Thomas (Conservative - St Ives)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Julian Sturdy Portrait
Julian Sturdy (Conservative - York Outer)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Sheryll Murray Portrait
Sheryll Murray (Conservative - South East Cornwall)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robbie Moore Portrait
Robbie Moore (Conservative - Keighley)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Neil Hudson Portrait
Neil Hudson (Conservative - Penrith and The Border)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rosie Duffield Portrait
Rosie Duffield (Labour - Canterbury)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Dave Doogan Portrait
Dave Doogan (Scottish National Party - Angus)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Geraint Davies Portrait
Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Byrne Portrait
Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Barry Gardiner Portrait
Barry Gardiner (Labour - Brent North)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 8th June 2020

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for the future long-term sustainability of the British sheep industry of amending the sanitary conditions relating to the importation of live sheep and ram semen from Australia and New Zealand to enable imports from animals bearing the scrapie genotype group 2, specifically scrapie genotypes ARR/ARQ, ARR/ARH or ARR/AHQ.

There have been no changes in our import conditions for scrapie, Annex IX chapter H of regulation (EC) No. 999.2001 details the requirements for import of ovine and caprine semen, oocytes and embryos, which was adopted into UK law. These germinal products of non-ARR/ARR prion protein genotypes may be imported provided they meet the other scrapie requirements set out in the legislation and corresponding import health certificate.

Ovine and caprine germinal products: health certificates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The UK maintains its own sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) imports regime to protect public, animal and plant life and health and the environment. We have repatriated the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This provides a standing, robust system that works alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Food Standards Agency officers physically visit facilities where chicks are slaughtered.

All four of the main laying hen hatcheries in the UK use argon and CO2 gas mixtures as a permitted method of killing male day-old chicks, rather than maceration.

Maceration, or immediate crushing of the entire animal, is a lawful method of killing chicks up to 72 hours old and egg embryos (under Annex I of Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing). The method must provide for instantaneous maceration and immediate death of the animals and, as a result, they are caused no avoidable pain, distress or suffering when killed.

It is not within the Food Standards Agency’s remit to inspect laying hen hatcheries.

There is no statutory requirement to keep records of chicks killed by maceration

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what system is in place to count the number of chicks macerated in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Scotland.

All four of the main laying hen hatcheries in the UK use argon and CO2 gas mixtures as a permitted method of killing male day-old chicks, rather than maceration.

Maceration, or immediate crushing of the entire animal, is a lawful method of killing chicks up to 72 hours old and egg embryos (under Annex I of Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing). The method must provide for instantaneous maceration and immediate death of the animals and, as a result, they are caused no avoidable pain, distress or suffering when killed.

It is not within the Food Standards Agency’s remit to inspect laying hen hatcheries.

There is no statutory requirement to keep records of chicks killed by maceration

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that private water companies are held accountable for illegal dumping of untreated sewage into rivers across the UK.

All discharges to the water environment require a permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The Environment Agency will include the necessary conditions in water company discharge permits to ensure discharges occur only under strict permitted conditions. Where discharges occur outside of these conditions, the Environment Agency investigates and takes appropriate action, which includes enforcement action if necessary.

Environment Agency action has resulted in 48 prosecutions against water companies in the last six years, securing fines of £35 million. £10.4 million has also been donated to environmental and wildlife trusts organisations in the same period through enforcement undertakings, a voluntary agreement which will include a donation to environmental charities to restore any harm done. The Environment Agency will continue to take enforcement action against water companies which fail to uphold the law or cause serious environmental harm.

I have met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced.

To achieve this, the new Storm Overflows Taskforce - bringing together the Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs - has agreed to set a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce is meeting regularly and working on plans to make progress towards that goal, and has commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

As announced on 11 May, we are introducing amendments to the Environment Bill that will help to reduce the harm that storm overflows cause to our waterways. We are introducing new duties that will require the Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan. We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally-binding obligations on water companies and the Government will help to reduce pollution in rivers – protecting wildlife and public health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what engagement the Government (a) has had and (b) is planning with industry bodies to gain expert input into the process for determining recyclability as part of the implementation of the extended producer responsibility regime and mandatory recycling labelling.

The UK Government, the Devolved Administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and three industry trade bodies are jointly running a project to look at how producer fees for the packaging extended producer responsibility scheme could be modulated (varied) depending on the recyclability of packaging. At the core of this project is stakeholder engagement and stakeholders have expressed their views on, and discussed, the role of recyclability assessments in informing modulated fees and labelling. This project is due to complete by the end of 2021.

There has also been direct engagement with bodies who have developed or are developing recyclability assessment methodologies.

In the recent consultation on the introduction of packaging extended producer responsibility, the Government set out its proposal that the Scheme Administrator should develop or procure the recyclability assessment methodology on behalf of its members. This to provide producers with a common methodology to determine whether for individual items of packaging the combination of components, materials, and design, meets the recyclability criteria. This approach would also underpin labelling for recyclability.

I understand the need for businesses to gain clarity about the new packaging extended producer responsibility scheme as early as possible. We want to be transparent and to provide clarity as soon as we can for each element of the scheme as this will help producers with the design decisions they need to make. However, it will not be for Government to advise businesses on specific packaging design decisions. In the recent consultation the Government set out proposed timelines, including for labelling and invited feedback. We will consider these responses as we finalise our proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data his Department holds on the number of household recycling and waste centres in each local authority area in (a) 2010, (b) 2015 and (c) 2020.

We collect information on the number of Civic Amenity Sites (household waste recycling centres) operated by a local authority or its contractors. This information is only collected in quarter four (January to March) via WasteDataFlow. Two questions are completed in WasteDataFlow, one by waste disposal authorities for each district and the other is completed by unitary authorities and waste collection authorities.

The datasets can be found at the following link: WasteDataFlow - Local Authority waste management - data.gov.uk, with the datasets for 2020, 2015 and 2010 attached.

The data can be filtered by setting the 'question column' to 'Q013' (Waste Disposal Authories) or 'Q015' (Unitary Authorities and Waste Collection Authorities). Then the number of Civic Amenity Sites for each local authority will be presented in the 'data column'.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of UK farms were below five hectares in each of the last five years.

Defra only produces statistics on farms with significant levels of farming activity (a). Farms with less than five hectares (and small levels of other farming activities) fall below these thresholds so we are unable to estimate how many farms have less than five hectares. The farms defined with significant levels of farming activity account for at least 98% of agricultural activity in the country and enable us to produce national estimates without burdening the smallest farms who do not generally produce for the market.

(a) Significant levels of farming are defined as more than five hectares of agricultural land, one hectare of orchards, 0.5 hectares of vegetables or 0.1 hectares of protected crops, or more than 10 cows, 50 pigs, 20 sheep, 20 goats or 1,000 poultry.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in unemployment in rural areas.

Over the period of the Covid-19 pandemic the unemployment rate in rural areas increased from 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 to a peak of 3.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 but has since fallen to 3.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. In urban areas the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 to a peak of 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 but has fallen to 5.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.

In April 2020 the eligibility criteria for claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance were changed following the Covid-19 pandemic. In predominantly rural areas the proportion of the working age population claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance while seeking work had increased by May 2020 to 5.0 per cent from 2.2 per cent in February 2020. In comparison, the proportion in predominantly urban areas increased to 7.2 per cent from 3.4 per cent over the same period. By April 2021 in predominantly rural areas the proportion of the working age population claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance while seeking work had decreased to 4.6 per cent while in predominantly urban areas it was 7.3 per cent.

Unemployment rate (as a proportion of people aged 16 and over who are economically active (in or seeking work)), England

Quarter 1 2020

Quarter 2 2020

Quarter 3 2020

Quarter 4 2020

Quarter 1 2021

Rural areas

2.7

3.3

3.6

3.0

3.0

Urban areas

4.3

4.1

5.4

5.7

5.2

Proportion of the working age population (aged 16 to 64 years) claiming Universal Credit or Job Seeker’s Allowance whilst seeking work, England

February 2020

May 2020

April 2021

Predominantly rural areas

2.2

5.0

4.6

Predominantly urban areas

3.4

7.2

7.3

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Environment Agency concluded its investigation into Niramax on the potential systematic abuse of the landfill tax system by that company prior to the inauguration of the Joint Unit for Waste Crime; and whether the Environment Agency passed over its investigation of that company to the Joint Unit for Waste Crime.

The investigation into Niramax and abuse of the landfill tax system was conducted by HM Revenue & Customs. The Environment Agency and the Joint Unit for Waste Crime only provided support to their investigation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Environment Bill’s mandatory recycling labelling provisions will be aligned with best in class existing clear and well-recognised consumers recycling labels.

As set out in our recent consultation on extended producer responsibility for packaging (which closed on 4 June 2021), our preferred approach to implement mandatory recyclability labelling for packaging includes that labels must meet criteria set in regulations and will have to be approved by the Government or the regulator prior to use. This will ensure a clear and consistent approach to mandatory recyclability labelling for packaging. Our preferred approach provides flexibility for existing recycling labels to continue to be used subject to meeting the criteria set in regulations and approved by the Government or the regulator.

The Government recognises that a variety of labels can cause consumer confusion. However, alongside mandatory recyclability labelling there will be producer-led communication campaigns which will help to raise consumer awareness regarding what packaging can and cannot be recycled.

Last year, Defra commissioned the Waste and Resources Action Programme to review the available evidence regarding the social impact of labelling in the context of extended producer responsibility schemes and to provide an analysis of the current available evidence of on-pack labelling on consumer disposal behaviour. Key findings of the review include that consumer recycling behaviour can be influenced by a well-designed label along with recommendations regarding what the best performing label would look like. Findings in this review will be taken into consideration when developing and implementing mandatory recycling labelling as part of extended producer responsibility for packaging.

In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority is currently consulting on draft guidance on environmental claims on goods and services. This includes guidance on recyclability claims made on labels.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of consumer research on existing recycling labels, including (a) the effect of a multiplicity of labels on recycling rates and (b) recognition rates of existing labels; and how he plans to take account of that research in the (i) development and (ii) implementation of mandatory recycling labelling as part of extended producer responsibility.

As set out in our recent consultation on extended producer responsibility for packaging (which closed on 4 June 2021), our preferred approach to implement mandatory recyclability labelling for packaging includes that labels must meet criteria set in regulations and will have to be approved by the Government or the regulator prior to use. This will ensure a clear and consistent approach to mandatory recyclability labelling for packaging. Our preferred approach provides flexibility for existing recycling labels to continue to be used subject to meeting the criteria set in regulations and approved by the Government or the regulator.

The Government recognises that a variety of labels can cause consumer confusion. However, alongside mandatory recyclability labelling there will be producer-led communication campaigns which will help to raise consumer awareness regarding what packaging can and cannot be recycled.

Last year, Defra commissioned the Waste and Resources Action Programme to review the available evidence regarding the social impact of labelling in the context of extended producer responsibility schemes and to provide an analysis of the current available evidence of on-pack labelling on consumer disposal behaviour. Key findings of the review include that consumer recycling behaviour can be influenced by a well-designed label along with recommendations regarding what the best performing label would look like. Findings in this review will be taken into consideration when developing and implementing mandatory recycling labelling as part of extended producer responsibility for packaging.

In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority is currently consulting on draft guidance on environmental claims on goods and services. This includes guidance on recyclability claims made on labels.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to work with supermarket retailers to help ensure that elderly or disabled residents remain able to access (a) home delivery slots and (b) good quality produce with a suitable shelf life.

Central and local government have worked in partnership with supermarkets to enable vulnerable individuals to access prioritised supermarket delivery slots until 21 June, which has facilitated millions of deliveries. Defra continues to hold regular conversations with major supermarkets to raise awareness of issues related to food access for elderly and disabled people, including the availability of supermarket deliveries.

There are a number of options open to elderly or disabled individuals who want support to access food. Vulnerable individuals can contact their local authority, or request support from an NHS volunteer responder in gaining access to food, prescriptions and other essential items by calling the phone line or visiting the Royal Voluntary Service website.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, with a food industry that is well versed in dealing with scenarios that can impact food supply. We remain in regular contact with the food industry and suppliers, who hold the expertise, capability and levers to ensure that all consumers continue to have access to a wide range of food products when they shop.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export licensing of Paraquat.

We take our trade and international obligations for human health and the environment seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

The export of paraquat from Great Britain (GB) is regulated under the GB Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from the GB must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. For GB, the Designated National Authority is The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paraquat additionally requires the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely. This process is kept under review.

We believe it is essential that the use of actives that are known to be hazardous to human health or the environment should be subject to scientific risk assessment, mitigation and regulatory protections. That is why we support notification of the export of Paraquat under GB PIC and support its listing under the Rotterdam convention.

We also believe in evidence based international policy making through the use of scientific committees, such as the Chemical Review Committee, and support the strengthening of the international science:policy interface for chemicals and pesticides to support global decision making.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date officials in his Department provided Acuity Translations with the completed English technical documents for translation into Japanese necessary to apply for the UK's new geographical indications, as part of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Following the contract award on 2 December 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provided the geographical indications technical documents to Acuity translations with a view to work commencing on 23 December 2020. Defra received all the completed translations of the geographical indication technical documents on 1 February 2021 and provided the Department for International Trade with these documents on 13 April 2021 as requested following discussion with Japanese counterparts.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date Acuity Translations provided his officials with the completed technical documents translated into Japanese necessary to apply for the UK's new geographical indications, as part of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Following the contract award on 2 December 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provided the geographical indications technical documents to Acuity translations with a view to work commencing on 23 December 2020. Defra received all the completed translations of the geographical indication technical documents on 1 February 2021 and provided the Department for International Trade with these documents on 13 April 2021 as requested following discussion with Japanese counterparts.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date officials in his Department provided the Department for International Trade with the completed technical documents translated into Japanese necessary to apply for the UK's new geographical indications, as part of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Following the contract award on 2 December 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provided the geographical indications technical documents to Acuity translations with a view to work commencing on 23 December 2020. Defra received all the completed translations of the geographical indication technical documents on 1 February 2021 and provided the Department for International Trade with these documents on 13 April 2021 as requested following discussion with Japanese counterparts.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2021 to Question 10213 on Farms: Finance, when he plans to publish the membership of the co-design steering group.

We will check with the members of the co-design steering group that they are content to be named publicly and we will publish the names in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of additional costs to UK wine importers resulting from changes in organic certification following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The UK retained Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Commission Regulations (EC) Nos 889/2008 and 1235/2008 for organics. These regulations state that any business involved in activities at any stage of production, preparation, import and distribution of organic products must be certified by an approved certification body. This is to ensure the integrity of organic produce from the grower to the consumer.

Defra approves six control bodies to operate in the UK. These are private bodies which set their own fee structures for certification. Any information regarding fees for particular businesses would be commercially sensitive information, private to the individual business and their control body. As a result, it would not be possible for us to make an assessment of the added costs for wine importers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of UK farms received Basic Payment Scheme in each of the last five years.

Unfortunately we cannot provide accurate estimates of the proportion of the whole farming population in England claiming Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). Estimates of the entire farming population are collected using criteria which do not correspond to those governing how BPS claimants are classified, and therefore no direct comparison can be made.

Over the last five years (2016-2020) the following numbers of farms/businesses in England received a payment from the BPS:

2016 - 85,837

2017 - 85,127

2018 - 84,020

2019 - 83,947

2020 - 83,852

BPS is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only and is for registered farms/businesses.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to make it his policy that fishing quota swaps will continue to be available between producer organisations.

Exchanges of quota within the UK are available as normal.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for exchanges of quota both at annual negotiations and in-year via a mechanism developed by the Specialised Committee on Fisheries. The UK and EU have also agreed to establish transfers on an interim basis before the in-year mechanism is developed.

No recent assessment has been made in relation to the effect of introducing an international quota exchange mechanism between the UK and EU.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of restarting international quota swaps between producer organisations, in addition to providing direct financial support, on the British fishing fleet.

Exchanges of quota within the UK are available as normal.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for exchanges of quota both at annual negotiations and in-year via a mechanism developed by the Specialised Committee on Fisheries. The UK and EU have also agreed to establish transfers on an interim basis before the in-year mechanism is developed.

No recent assessment has been made in relation to the effect of introducing an international quota exchange mechanism between the UK and EU.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential effect of the reported shortfall in available freight delivery drivers on the (a) supply and (b) cost of supply of food to the (i) hospitality and (ii) convenience retail sectors.

My Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary has discussed with the Secretary of State for Transport the logistical challenges for the food industry caused by a shortfall of lorry drivers. These discussions focused on a potential time-limited exemption from the points-based immigration system to enable UK employers to continue to recruit EU/EEA Heavy Goods Vehicles drivers.

Officials from the two departments continue to meet regularly to discuss the issue of driver shortfalls and the potential impact on the UK food supply chain. Intelligence from the industry, gathered from ongoing engagement with the sectors of the food chain, forms part of these discussions. Some acute problems have been identified, particularly in wholesale distribution.

Solutions that are being discussed include: extending driver delivery hours; the Department for Transport’s Large Goods Vehicles apprenticeship scheme; the Department for Work and Pensions’ action to encourage more job seekers into the profession; and increased Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency testing capacity.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Prime Minister's statement on EU negotiations: 24 December 2020, to whom the £100 million funding for the British fishing fleet has been allocated.

The Government has announced that £100 million will be made available across the UK for the best transformative seafood projects that will rejuvenate the industry and our coastal communities.

Options for the funding are currently being explored, but key areas for investment are likely to be infrastructure projects that support the development and modernisation of ports, harbours, and landing sites across the UK; the development and roll out of science and innovation across the catching and processing sectors; and the training required to ensure the workforce has the right skills, capacity, and expertise, alongside initiatives to encourage new entrants into the sector. More detail on this funding will be made available in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the data being collated with reference to the age at which children potty train that is informing his Department's new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department is using the most up to date data available to inform its new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish its new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the amount of CO2 produced by transporting waste produced in the UK outside of the UK.

The UK Government has not made any assessment of CO2 produced by the export of UK waste. The UK monitors and reports emissions from the shipping industry through the National Emissions Inventory but this information is not disaggregated to the level of individual cargo movements.

The export of UK waste for disposal is generally prohibited, save for the strictly limited exceptions which are laid out in the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste. Under the UK legislation on waste shipments, businesses involved in the export of wastes are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling. All waste exports need to be made in accordance with the relevant legislation and we have a system of inspections in place to verify compliance. The regulators mount targeted inspections at UK ports working with the shipping sector to help detect and prevent illegal waste shipments. Individuals and businesses found to be exporting waste in contravention of the requirements in the legislation waste can face a two-year jail term and an unlimited fine.

We have pledged to introduce tougher controls on waste exports, and the Environment Bill includes a power to introduce mandatory electronic tracking of waste which will make it harder for criminals to obtain and export waste illegally.

We are also taking action to reduce the volume of waste generated in the first place. Our approach is focused on encouraging greater uptake of reusable alternatives and increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that waste exported for recycling is recycled and not disposed of in another manner.

The UK Government has not made any assessment of CO2 produced by the export of UK waste. The UK monitors and reports emissions from the shipping industry through the National Emissions Inventory but this information is not disaggregated to the level of individual cargo movements.

The export of UK waste for disposal is generally prohibited, save for the strictly limited exceptions which are laid out in the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste. Under the UK legislation on waste shipments, businesses involved in the export of wastes are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling. All waste exports need to be made in accordance with the relevant legislation and we have a system of inspections in place to verify compliance. The regulators mount targeted inspections at UK ports working with the shipping sector to help detect and prevent illegal waste shipments. Individuals and businesses found to be exporting waste in contravention of the requirements in the legislation waste can face a two-year jail term and an unlimited fine.

We have pledged to introduce tougher controls on waste exports, and the Environment Bill includes a power to introduce mandatory electronic tracking of waste which will make it harder for criminals to obtain and export waste illegally.

We are also taking action to reduce the volume of waste generated in the first place. Our approach is focused on encouraging greater uptake of reusable alternatives and increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the volume of waste exported out of the UK.

The UK Government has not made any assessment of CO2 produced by the export of UK waste. The UK monitors and reports emissions from the shipping industry through the National Emissions Inventory but this information is not disaggregated to the level of individual cargo movements.

The export of UK waste for disposal is generally prohibited, save for the strictly limited exceptions which are laid out in the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste. Under the UK legislation on waste shipments, businesses involved in the export of wastes are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling. All waste exports need to be made in accordance with the relevant legislation and we have a system of inspections in place to verify compliance. The regulators mount targeted inspections at UK ports working with the shipping sector to help detect and prevent illegal waste shipments. Individuals and businesses found to be exporting waste in contravention of the requirements in the legislation waste can face a two-year jail term and an unlimited fine.

We have pledged to introduce tougher controls on waste exports, and the Environment Bill includes a power to introduce mandatory electronic tracking of waste which will make it harder for criminals to obtain and export waste illegally.

We are also taking action to reduce the volume of waste generated in the first place. Our approach is focused on encouraging greater uptake of reusable alternatives and increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Government agencies in addition to the Joint Unit for Waste Crime conduct separate investigations into waste crime.

In England the Environment Agency is responsible for the regulation of the waste management sector. This includes the investigation of, and enforcement against, criminal activity in the sector.

Waste crime includes a broad spectrum of illegal activity, including large-scale illegal dumping of waste, avoidance of Landfill Tax, deliberate misdescription of waste, and fly-tipping. Bodies other than the Environment Agency may take responsibility for investigating and taking action against criminal activity as well. For example, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) undertakes investigations into illegal activity regarding Landfill Tax, while local authorities also have powers to tackle certain types of waste crime, such as fly-tipping.

The Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) brings agencies together in partnership, including HMRC, to investigate and take enforcement action against criminal activity in the waste management sector. The JUWC has developed intelligence links and sharing arrangements with a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors including law enforcement agencies, infrastructure providers and the financial services sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Serious and organised waste crime: 2018 review published by his Department on 14 November 2018, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the recommendation on the mandatory electronic tracking of waste.

The Government addressed the recommendations set out in the review into serious and organised waste crime through the Resources and Waste Strategy. This committed to mandating the electronic tracking of waste, subject to consultation. The Environment Bill includes powers to introduce mandatory waste tracking and a consultation is planned for later this year.

In parallel we asked five organisations to explore and develop ideas for waste tracking using the Government’s GovTech Catalyst Challenge Fund. The feasibility projects included research into tracking waste through electronic chips and sensors, the use of blockchain, and open data standards, as well as new data analytics and the use of artificial intelligence, to help users decide what to do with the waste they produce. We also conducted further user research to improve our understanding of the reporting requirements of businesses, local authorities, regulators and Government. This information has helped inform the development of the consultation and define the functionality of a future digital service.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that Portsmouth City Council bring forward an Order for a restricted Byway at the Camber.

Public rights of way are a local issue and this matter is the responsibility of the local County Council. We are unable to comment on specific cases, to avoid prejudice should they come before a Government Minister or Planning Inspector for a decision. I can, however, offer some general advice which I hope you will find helpful.

Public rights of way exist in four categories: footpaths for use on foot (or with mobility scooters); bridleways for use on horseback or bicycle as well as on foot; restricted byways for use of carriages in addition to the above; and byways open to all traffic for use of motor vehicles in addition to the other types.

A public right of way is added to the network by either proving the way existed through historic evidence or proving the public has used the route for 20 years. The use needs to be at the appropriate level. For example, a bridleway would not be added if there is no evidence it has been used by horses or bicycles. Whether the route is amenable to local residents is not considered at this stage as it is an evidence-based process only.

Once a route is recognised as part of the network, a public path order may be made to change the status of the route by agreement with the local authority. Here convenience, safety and other such concerns are taken into consideration. In both instances, the public has the right to object to the proposed changes to the network and the local authority advertises the changes in order to give residents the opportunity to give their views.

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) administers rights of way cases on behalf of Defra. They deal with cases where the decision has been challenged.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on providing guidance to local authorities on the allocation to wholesale food distributors of funding under the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had no recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding guidance to local authorities on the allocation of funding to wholesale food distributors.

The Government will ensure that local authorities have the guidance they need to deliver the additional £1.5 billion business rates support package once primary legislation is passed, in line with the announcement on 25 March. As with other business rates reliefs, officials will work closely with local government on the development of the relief scheme and guidance for local authorities will be published in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has (a) made an assessment of the potential merits of and (b) had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on introducing a tax or levy on peat based composts in order to incentivise the use of peat free alternatives.

In the recently published England Peat Action Plan we have committed to undertake a full consultation in 2021 on banning the sale of peat and peat containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament. The consultation will also examine other measures, including the feasibility of introducing a point-of-sale charge for the purchase of growing media containing peat (this could use the plastic bag charge as a model).

As outlined in the Action Plan, we are committed to working with the industry to understand the implications of our proposals, identify blockages and to working with the private sector to develop and enact solutions, thus making the transition to peat alternatives as seamless as possible.

The England Peat Action Plan can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987859/england-peat-action-plan.pdf

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of ivory items (a) owned and (b) collated in (i) Government Departments and (ii) other Government owned or managed institutions.

The Department has not made any estimates of the number of ivory items owned by, or collated in, Government departments, or institutions owned or managed by the Government.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve flood defences in Britain.

Between 2015 and 2021 the Government invested £2.6bn to better protect around 314,000 homes from flooding. In July 2020, Defra published its floods Policy Statement, setting out the Government's long-term ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. At the Budget in 2020, the Government announced that it will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build over 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction before the end of 2021/2022, which will provide an immediate boost to jobs supporting local economies as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus.

A further £200 million will be invested in the Innovative Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will is take steps to encourage the expansion of refill stations in supermarkets to reduce the generation of non-recyclable waste.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Industry is already taking action. The UK Plastics Pact jointly founded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Ellen McArthur Foundation is supported by the Government. The Pact brings together organisations from across the plastics supply chain, including all the major supermarkets, with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. Current Pact business members are responsible for 80% of plastic packaging sold through UK supermarkets.

Through the Pact, work has been done to increase the sale of unpackaged products. The WRAP Fresh Produce Guidance was published in November 2019 which includes advice for retailers to help determine if fresh produce can be provided loose. In June 2019, Waitrose & Partners unveiled a new trial, 'Waitrose Unpacked', to explore alternative ways of shopping. It included a dedicated refillable zone, the UK's first supermarket frozen 'pick and mix' station, and the first borrow-a-box scheme are among a series of ideas being looked at in a unique test in order in order to potentially save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging. Since its initial introduction in their Botley Road branch in Oxford this initiative has been extended to three other stores in Wallingford, Abingdon, and Cheltenham and they continue to extend the range of products available unpacked.

Alongside supporting voluntary action by industry, the Government is taking regulatory action to reduce the use of non-recyclable waste. For instance, the single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, was increased to 10p and extended to all retailers on 21 May 2021. This will further encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used.

The Government is also reforming the packaging producer responsibility regulations and developing extended producer responsibility for packaging. Extended producer responsibility for packaging will see packaging producers pay the waste management costs associated with the packaging they place on the market. This will encourage producers to consider the necessity of any packaging they use. In developing extended producer responsibility for packaging, we will also consider how the use of packaging reuse and refill systems can be encouraged. The Government has stated its intention to bring forward proposals for reuse/refill targets by the end of 2023 and introduce targets or obligations on producers from 2025. The Government consultation on extended producer responsibility for packaging closed on 4 June 2021, more details can be found at:

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/extended-producer-responsibility/extended-producer-responsibility-for-packaging/.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on bringing forward legislative proposals to ban microplastics; and if he will launch a review into the environmental impact of floral foam.

In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. There may, however, be times when a ban is appropriate as part of a wider strategic approach. To tackle microplastics we have already introduced one of the world's toughest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products. This will help to stop billions of these tiny plastic pieces from entering the ocean and being eaten by marine wildlife. The Government does not currently have plans to launch a review into the environmental impact of floral foam. However, we will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products.

The Government has set out the first restrictions to be initiated under its new chemical regulation system, UK REACH, to tackle risks posed by chemicals. The launch of the UK REACH programme includes plans to initiate the restriction process on lead ammunition and certain harmful substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. We are keeping other issues that we did not initiate in the restriction process for this year under review. This includes scoping what further action could be taken to address intentionally added microplastics based on the best available evidence.

To tackle plastic pellet loss we support Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative led by industry through the British Plastics Federation, to address incidents of plastic pellet loss. This initiative addresses this problem at all stages of the supply chain. At the British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium in 2019, Ministers recognised the need to address plastic pellets and considerable progress has been made in developing solutions to reduce plastic pellet loss. The administrations have supported the development of a Publicly Available Specification developed by the British Standards Institution, which sets out how any business handling or managing pellets can reduce pellet loss. This is the first of its kind and will be published in July this year. All administrations will promote it through their networks.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether chicks are killed by maceration in the UK.

All four of the main laying hen hatcheries in the UK use argon and CO2 gas mixtures as a permitted method of killing male day-old chicks, rather than maceration.

Maceration, or immediate crushing of the entire animal, is a lawful method of killing chicks up to 72 hours old and egg embryos (under Annex I of Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing). The method must provide for instantaneous maceration and immediate death of the animals and, as a result, they are caused no avoidable pain, distress or suffering when killed.

It is not within the Food Standards Agency’s remit to inspect laying hen hatcheries.

There is no statutory requirement to keep records of chicks killed by maceration.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to reduce the regulatory burden of plant inspections on the import of ornamental horticulture products from the EU.

Since the end of the transition period, Great Britain (GB) has operated its own sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime, which is focused on addressing the risks it faces. This regime includes risk-based import checks of plants, plant products and other objects to avoid the introduction of harmful plant pests and diseases. These risk-based checks are in line with WTO/SPS principles and consistent with our obligations under the EU Withdrawal Act.

The UK Government took the decision to introduce SPS checks in phases, in order to protect GB biosecurity whilst also maintaining the efficient trade in goods such as plants and plant products. Therefore, checks of high-priority plants and plant products have been introduced first, from 1 January 2021, since they pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity. The final phase of controls will come in from March 2022. Phasing in import controls over 15 months allows businesses time to adapt to the new requirements.

Defra also took the decision to delay the introduction of fees for import checks of high-priority plants from the EU for 5 months to give businesses more time to prepare and adjust to the new charging arrangements. During this time, Defra has communicated extensively with industry and stakeholder groups to ensure they are prepared for the new fees coming in.

On hops, Defra appreciates the concern that the inability to re-export third country hops and hop products to the EU is causing for hop merchants. Defra has raised the issue with the European Commission. We will inform stakeholders at the earliest opportunity if the position changes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses that have been adversely affected by new trade requirements for plants, plant products and hops.

Since the end of the transition period, Great Britain (GB) has operated its own sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime, which is focused on addressing the risks it faces. This regime includes risk-based import checks of plants, plant products and other objects to avoid the introduction of harmful plant pests and diseases. These risk-based checks are in line with WTO/SPS principles and consistent with our obligations under the EU Withdrawal Act.

The UK Government took the decision to introduce SPS checks in phases, in order to protect GB biosecurity whilst also maintaining the efficient trade in goods such as plants and plant products. Therefore, checks of high-priority plants and plant products have been introduced first, from 1 January 2021, since they pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity. The final phase of controls will come in from March 2022. Phasing in import controls over 15 months allows businesses time to adapt to the new requirements.

Defra also took the decision to delay the introduction of fees for import checks of high-priority plants from the EU for 5 months to give businesses more time to prepare and adjust to the new charging arrangements. During this time, Defra has communicated extensively with industry and stakeholder groups to ensure they are prepared for the new fees coming in.

On hops, Defra appreciates the concern that the inability to re-export third country hops and hop products to the EU is causing for hop merchants. Defra has raised the issue with the European Commission. We will inform stakeholders at the earliest opportunity if the position changes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the future funding arrangements will be for the National Wildlife Crime Unit; and whether that funding will be for 12 months or on a longer term basis.

Since 2016, Defra and the Home Office have committed £300,000 a year to fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). This contribution has been continued into the financial year 2021/22. The NWCU's other funding partners, the Scottish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the National Police Chiefs Council, have similarly undertaken to maintain their contributions through 2021/22. Decisions on the government's future funding of the NWCU will be taken as part of the next Spending Review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of additional costs to UK wine importers following the end of the labelling grace period on 30 September 2022.

Defra is committed to supporting wine businesses across the country to adapt to new processes for importing wine into the UK as a result of new trading arrangements. Our overriding objective is to ensure these processes are as simple as possible.

We have not conducted a full assessment of any additional costs which UK wine importers may face following the end of the labelling grace period with the EU. However, transitional measures are currently in place until September 2022. This period will help minimise costs to businesses from changes stemming from our exit from the EU. This will provide us with enough time to assess the matter and understand any implications for importers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Departments consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed on 25 February 2021, what plans he has to include the trophies of (a) lions, (b) tigers, (c) cheetahs and (d) other big cats bred in captivity in a future ban on import and export of those trophies.

The Government takes the conservation of endangered species very seriously, which is why we are banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species, as set out in the Government’s manifesto.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the publication of the Government response to the consultation and call for evidence. However, our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government's legislative proposals to ban the import and export of shark fins will include a ban on the import and export of shark fin products.

As set out in the recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare we will be bringing in legislation to ban the import and export of detached shark fins.

We are making good progress with developing this legislation including consideration of the scope needed to ensure our measures are as effective as possible at delivering shark conservation benefits globally. These measures will demonstrate our continuing leadership on shark conservation issues and signal our strong opposition to any ongoing finning practices.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on hop merchants in the UK.

Having left the EU, hops and hop products exported from GB to the EU now require an accompanying Attestation of Equivalence issued by an agency authorised and listed in Annex I of EC Regulation 1295/2008. Defra worked hard to ensure that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) were listed in that regulation from 1 January 2021. We were successful in that listing. This means hops and hop products grown and processed in GB can continue to be exported to the EU so long as they are accompanied by an Attestation of Equivalence issued by the RPA.

EU Regulations require that the RPA can only issue Attestations of Equivalence for hops and hop products that were grown, or had their final processing, in GB. For now, the RPA are not able to issue an Attestation of Equivalence for hops or hop products imported from EU or the rest of the world which have not undergone any further processing.

Defra appreciate the concern that the inability to re-export third country hops and hop products to the EU is causing for hop merchants. Defra has raised the issue with the European Commission. We will inform stakeholders at the earliest opportunity if the position changes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support hop merchants since the end of the transition period.

Having left the EU, hops and hop products exported from GB to the EU now require an accompanying Attestation of Equivalence issued by an agency authorised and listed in Annex I of EC Regulation 1295/2008. Defra worked hard to ensure that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) were listed in that regulation from 1 January 2021. We were successful in that listing. This means hops and hop products grown and processed in GB can continue to be exported to the EU so long as they are accompanied by an Attestation of Equivalence issued by the RPA.

EU Regulations require that the RPA can only issue Attestations of Equivalence for hops and hop products that were grown, or had their final processing, in GB. For now, the RPA are not able to issue an Attestation of Equivalence for hops or hop products imported from EU or the rest of the world which have not undergone any further processing.

Defra appreciate the concern that the inability to re-export third country hops and hop products to the EU is causing for hop merchants. Defra has raised the issue with the European Commission. We will inform stakeholders at the earliest opportunity if the position changes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the EU legislation imposed on hop merchants regarding the re-export of third country hops.

Having left the EU, hops and hop products exported from GB to the EU now require an accompanying Attestation of Equivalence issued by an agency authorised and listed in Annex I of EC Regulation 1295/2008. Defra worked hard to ensure that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) were listed in that regulation from 1 January 2021. We were successful in that listing. This means hops and hop products grown and processed in GB can continue to be exported to the EU so long as they are accompanied by an Attestation of Equivalence issued by the RPA.

EU Regulations require that the RPA can only issue Attestations of Equivalence for hops and hop products that were grown, or had their final processing, in GB. For now, the RPA are not able to issue an Attestation of Equivalence for hops or hop products imported from EU or the rest of the world which have not undergone any further processing.

Defra appreciate the concern that the inability to re-export third country hops and hop products to the EU is causing for hop merchants. Defra has raised the issue with the European Commission. We will inform stakeholders at the earliest opportunity if the position changes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department is having with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 and ensuring technology companies work with enforcement officers to prevent the illegal trade of ivory products.

The Department has not discussed the role of technology companies with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Contractors have had early discussions about the role of online sales platforms. We will work with a range of interested parties and stake holders to ensure the ban on dealing in elephant ivory is enforced effectively.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)