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
Daniel Zeichner (LAB - Cambridge)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Olivia Blake (LAB - Sheffield, Hallam)
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
Tuesday 21st September 2021
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
21 Sep 2021, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Organics (Equivalence and Control Bodies Listing) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 21st September 2021
14:00
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
21 Sep 2021, 2 p.m.
National Food Strategy
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
22 Sep 2021, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Water and Sewerage Undertakers (Exit from Non-household Retail Market) (Consequential Provision) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 23rd September 2021
10:00
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
23 Sep 2021, 10 a.m.
Moving animals across borders
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 13th October 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – third reading
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Environment Bill
Lords Chamber
Select Committee Docs
Friday 8th October 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Labour shortages in the food and farming sector

There have been reports of labour shortages affecting some businesses throughout the food and farming sector, for example:

  • farms have …
Written Answers
Friday 17th September 2021
Pigmeat: Exports
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 2nd September 2021
Meat Preparations (Amendment and Transitory Modification) (England) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021
These Regulations apply in relation to England only and are made in exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 11A(1) …
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
Friday 17th September 2021
18:25

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
Jul. 22
Oral Questions
May. 22
Urgent Questions
Sep. 15
Westminster Hall
Jul. 19
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 apply in relation to England only and are made in exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 11A(1) of Schedule 2 to the Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011 (S.I. 2011/1197).
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies (in particular under section 8(2)(a) to (d) and (g)) arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
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
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(6,888 in the last 7 days)
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(4,169 in the last 7 days)
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63,852 Signatures
(3,973 in the last 7 days)
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32,257 Signatures
(3,137 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Open
76,763 Signatures
(2,505 in the last 7 days)
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63,852 Signatures
(3,973 in the last 7 days)
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.

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

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
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
National Food Strategy
21 Sep 2021, 2 p.m.
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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
Moving animals across borders
23 Sep 2021, 10 a.m.
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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

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of fly-tipping to local authorities.

Research conducted by Eunomia on behalf of Defra estimated the total costs of fly-tipping for all UK authorities to be £103 million per annum. However, the report notes that better information on incident type, size, composition and clean-up cost would be necessary to provide more certainty around this 'very indicative, initial estimate'. This report can be found at: WRAP-eunomia-financial-cost-of-packaging-litter-phase-2-2021

Until 2016/17 Defra estimated the cost of clearing fly-tipping to local authorities in England each year as part of Defra published statistics. The estimated cost in 2016/17 was £57.7 million. These cost estimates are no longer produced but figures for previous years can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues to expedite a resumption of pork exports from UK pig processing plants, whose export licenses to China were voluntarily surrendered due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Defra is working closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) at every level to utilise opportunities to press the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) for the re-listing of the three affected UK pork processing plants. As part of this Defra has taken a number of steps, including those summarised below.

Defra, in collaboration with DIT and FCDO, continues to monitor the situation and to do all it can to resolve this issue. However, re-listing these establishments is ultimately in the gift of the GACC.

  • The Defra Secretary of State wrote to GACC Minister Ni in March 2021 and again in May 2021 to raise this issue and request a meeting. GACC have not responded.
  • Defra has fulfilled all of China’s technical requests to enable the re-listing of these UK establishments. This includes the submission to GACC of extensive COVID-19 dossiers, countersigned by the relevant Food Safety Competent Authorities and Public Health Authorities, as well as completing virtual video inspections chaired and facilitated by Defra with GACC Officials, where requested.
  • A letter from the UK Chief Veterinary Officer was sent to GACC to highlight the latest UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s guidance that was published in August 2021 on the risks COVID-19 transmission via food or food packaging.
  • Beyond direct engagement with GACC, Defra continues to engage with FCDO and DIT colleagues at different levels on a regular basis to ensure a consistent, joined up approach to UK Government pressing GACC for the re-listing of UK pork establishments.
  • Additionally, the UK raised concerns regarding these trade restrictive measures at the World Trade Organisation Sanitary Phytosanitary (WTO SPS) Committee in November 2020, March 2021, July 2021 and in bilateral discussions with China.
Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the (a) properties classified as heritage assets by his Department, (b) most recent estimate of the value of those properties and (c) annual income derived from those properties.

Defra is advised on the management of designated heritage assets in its portfolio by Historic England’s Government Historic Estate Unit. Further details can be found here:

https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/our-planning-services/advice-for-government-historic-estates

Defra does not collect or collate data on the property value or income data for these assets.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what economic impact assessment he has carried out on the impact of plant inspection charges on garden centres.

It has long been UK Government policy to charge for many publicly provided goods and services. The standard approach is to set fees to recover the full costs of service delivery. This relieves the general taxpayer of costs, so that they are properly borne by users who benefit from a service. This allows for a more equitable distribution of public resources and enables lower public expenditure and borrowing. Defra plant health services operate in line with that principle and have done for many years.

No assessment on the impact of plant inspection charges on garden centres has been carried out.

Legislation relating to fees does not fall within the bounds of the Business Impact Target and so does not require the development of impact assessments.

Additionally, The Plant Health etc. (Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, which extended the existing plant health charging regime to imports from and exports to the EU, was covered by a statutory exclusion under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Act, because the instrument was varying an existing charge levied by a public body (the Animal and Plant Health Agency). The actual cost to businesses will vary depending on how they organise their imports and the type of material being imported.

However, Defra has engaged extensively with industry and, to reduce the burden on businesses, Defra took the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products from the EU until 1 June 2021 in England and Wales. In arriving at the decision to delay the introduction of plant health import inspection fees for these goods, Defra has had to balance the need to support affected businesses against legal considerations and the rules around managing public money. Delaying these fees until 1 June 2021 struck the right balance between these competing demands.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the food and farming sectors of implementing the recommendations from the Grant Thornton Report on Labour Availability on visas for horticultural and agricultural workers.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is grateful to everyone who contributed to the report on ‘Establishing the labour availability issues of the UK Food and Drink Sector’. We are reviewing the recommendations as part of our on-going work to address the immediate issues in the food supply chain and our longer-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the enquiry from the hon. Member for High Peak of 23 June 2021, referenced RL22747.

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 9 September 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to shorten the window for tapeworm treatment of dogs before entry into the UK from 24-120 hours to 24-48 hours.

The Government has no immediate plans to shorten the window for tapeworm treatment of dogs from 24-120 hours to 24-48 hours. However, we remain aware of the concerns around tapeworm and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report published by the Dog's Trust entitled Puppy smuggling, a tragedy ignored, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendation in that report that the number of dogs allowed under non-commercial movement rules should be reduced to two per vehicle.

We have introduced measures in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill to reduce the number of pet dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under the pet travel rules which apply to non-commercial movements, placing a limit of five pets per vehicle We drew on People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) research and engaged with stakeholders, including authorised pet checkers, carriers, animal welfare organisations and veterinary bodies, to determine a suitable limit that would disrupt the illegal trade whilst minimising the impact of genuine owners travelling with their pets under the pet travel rules. The limit of five pets per vehicle is also current industry practice.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 63200 on Dogs: Imports, what the outcomes were of the (a) renewed rabies risk assessment and (b) commissioned assessments to understand the risks posed by tapeworms, ticks and tick-borne disease.

The Government takes the risks of disease seriously and we remain alert to concerns relating to ticks, tick-borne diseases, tapeworm diseases and other diseases. The rabies risk assessment referred to in response to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 63200 on Dogs: Imports has been completed and signed off and shows that despite an increase in the number of dogs entering the UK under both the commercial and non-commercial rules, the declining number of rabies cases in EU Member States has meant that the annual probability of rabies entering the UK from EU Member States is currently very low. The Echinococcus (tapeworm) risk assessment has been completed and is currently at review stage. We are unable to share results at this time. The risk assessment into ticks and tick-borne diseases is ongoing.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of air quality in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

Under the Local Air Quality Management Framework local authorities are required to review and assess air quality in their area. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. The Government has awarded over £70 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997. Cheshire West and Chester Council were awarded £44,000 from the 2018 Air Quality Grant Scheme for local research on domestic burning stoves and health impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of ferric sulphate in England.

England has an adequate supply of water chemicals, including ferric sulphate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of chemicals required for the effective treatment of waste water.

The amount of chemicals required for the effective treatment of waste water varies from site to site. Chemicals used include coagulants, antifoamers and waste odour limiters, for example. There is currently no shortage of chemicals required for waste water treatment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met representatives of the Chemical Business Association.

The Secretary of State last met representatives of the Chemical Business Association on 21 July 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department holds data on air quality for (a) Putney constituency and (b) Wandsworth borough for each of the last five years.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this. Local authorities in London are required to review and assess local air quality and report their data to the Mayor.

In addition, the London Air Quality Network provides data on automatic air quality monitoring in London to the public.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information his Department holds on the local authorities in England that have responsibility for running of canals and waterways in their area.

There are over 30 navigation authorities in England and Wales with responsibility for varying lengths of inland waterways, ranging from the Canal and River Trust with around 2,000 miles of waterways down to privately-owned single canal companies. Within this range is a number of local authorities. However, the Government is not involved in the day-to-day running of inland waterways, which rests with the navigation authorities that own and manage them, and therefore does not hold information on them other than where there is a legal or statutory requirement.

The Inland Waterways Association, a national charity working to protect and restore waterways, and the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities maintain comprehensive lists and details of navigation authorities across the country.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 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 steps to mitigate the levels of air pollution around regional airports in residential areas.

There are regular discussions between DEFRA and DfT at ministerial and official levels regarding air pollution and the practical steps we can take towards reducing emissions.

The government is working to improve international standards on emissions from aircraft and to challenge airports to improve local air quality. Emissions from aircraft are strictly regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The aviation industry is taking action to cut airport-related emissions by operating aircraft more efficiently, introducing new lower emission technologies and practices, reducing vehicle emissions within the airport boundary, and improving public transport links to airports.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local air quality and to take action if local air quality standards and objectives are not met. This would include liaising with airports to manage the impact they are having including from vehicles accessing the airport.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made on the resilience of food supply chains to (a) supermarkets and (b) high street food stores.

The UK has a high level of food security built on diverse and robust supply chains, from strong domestic production and trade with a range of stable sources. The food industry is experienced in dealing with disruptions to food supply, as we have seen throughout the Covid-19 response.

In addition, the Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry to ensure that food supply, which is one of the UK's Critical Infrastructure sectors, can continue to operate. This includes extensive and ongoing engagement with food retailers in preparedness for, and response to, potential food supply chain disruptions and continuing to work with businesses to minimise disruption from the issue of staff having to isolate.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of trees have been planted by his Department in each of the last two years.

The latest statistics for new planting supported by central Government in England can be found in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators: Report for 2020-21 on the gov.uk website. These most recent published provisional statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

Government supported new planting of trees in England (hectares)

2019-20

1,956

2020-21

1,892

2021-22 quarter 1 partial interim report

469

Source: Forestry Commission.

These statistics include new planting supported by the Government via the Rural Development Programme for England (Countryside Stewardship and the former English Woodland Creation Grant), the Woodland Carbon Fund, the High Speed 2 Woodland Fund, Forestry England, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the National Forest Company, in the Northern Forest, and by the Community Forests.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) dogs and (b) cats were imported using the Pet Travel Scheme in each month of 2021 to date.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

Dogs and Cats imported into GB under the Pet Travel Scheme

2021

Jan

Feb

March

April

May

June

July

Aug

Cats

1445

1526

1966

1841

1794

2668

2565

August 2021 data is not yet available

Dogs

6269

7908

10657

10052

10490

14873

12972

August 2021 data is not yet available

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on research of the impact of ending free movement on the agriculture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of pest control services provided by local authorities.

Depending on the cause of an infestation, local authorities have certain responsibilities where pest control is concerned and they have the flexibility to allocate resources to address local priorities, based on an assessment of risk. Local priorities will vary across geographical areas and might involve one or more type of pest ranging from wasps, rats, mice and bedbugs. Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities have a duty to deal with infestations of rats and mice.

In order to help coordinate central Government's expectation of regulatory services in local government, including environmental health services, and to propose short and long-term options to support these essential services the Government is supporting regulatory services teams through the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on researching the impact of ending free movement on the horticulture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will release the method of slaughter statistics for (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The last method of slaughter survey was undertaken by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2018 and the results were published in February 2019 - Farm animals: survey of slaughter methods 2018 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The survey is not conducted annually and we are planning for it to be carried out again by the FSA in early 2022.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of unregulated horse breeding in the UK; and whether he plans to bring forward (a) legislative or (b) regulatory proposals on tackling equine overbreeding.

To promote responsible ownership, there is clear guidance available to educate and remind horse owners of their responsibilities to provide for the welfare needs of their animal. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids makes clear that you should consider buying or rehoming a youngster before taking the decision to breed. The foal’s individual future must also be considered before breeding from your equine, and the code highlights the UK’s overpopulation problem at the time of publication. The Code can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/700200/horses-welfare-codes-of-practice-april2018.pdf

Further information on responsible breeding is available to the public, including World Horse Welfare’s “Need to Breed” initiative which can be found here: https://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/advice/management/do-you-need-to-breed.

The Government considers that the key issue at stake here is how well equines are cared for after they have been born, and existing protections address this. We continue to engage closely with key stakeholders in the equine sector about these issues. The Government currently has no plans to introduce additional legislation or regulation specifically relating to breeding levels themselves.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on introducing a deposit return scheme.

A second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was published earlier this year and is now closed. The Government is analysing the responses to that consultation, with a view to publishing a Government response in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a carbon rating system on food labelling to indicate to consumers the carbon footprint of their food purchases.

The environmental impacts of food are complex, with the whole food chain having a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting both domestic and international climate targets.

Measuring emissions from food is therefore complex and no single metric can yet capture the full picture. A food carbon footprint is just one sustainability indicator which could be used to measure and improve sustainability across the food chain, from farm to fork.

The Government is supportive of work being done in this area and is working with academia and industry stakeholders. We have commissioned new research by WRAP to bridge the identified evidence gaps. We recognise the benefits of a standard approach in defining metrics and capturing, calculating, and recording data for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. This research aims to agree a common set of emission factors (reviewed by an expert panel with Government and industry representation), whilst also reviewing the pathway to robust data for supply chain emissions and governance.

Through our consumer insights work we are creating a solid evidence base to best understand both consumer and industry appetite for carbon and additional eco-labelling, along with understanding how consumers might use this information when in store. It will also help us understand whether such labelling leads to more sustainable supply chains.

We are continuing to investigate further opportunities to review other aspects of food labelling throughout the development of the forthcoming government Food Strategy White Paper.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect and restore grasslands in the UK.

Species-rich grasslands are vital for biodiversity and their retention and management can play an important part in safeguarding carbon stores. Domestic biodiversity policy is devolved in the UK and so this response relates to England only.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step change in ambition for nature, and we are already putting in place new legislation and new investment to meet this ambition. Our Environment Bill requires a new, historic legally binding target to be set to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. A domestic 2030 species target will not only benefit our species but the actions necessary to deliver it will also help to drive wider environmental improvements.

The Bill also introduces Local Nature Recovery Strategies which will identify priorities and opportunities for nature recovery and help drive investment and action to expand, improve and connect habitats, including grasslands, and establish a Nature Recovery Network.

We are committed to protecting 30% of our land for biodiversity. Our Sites of Special Scientific Interest protect our most important grasslands, and provide a wide range of other benefits including flood control, water purification, and carbon storage.

We are introducing three new environmental land management schemes which will support farmers and land managers to deliver a range of environmental benefits. These schemes will reward sustainable farming practices, reducing carbon emissions, creating and preserving habitat, including grasslands, and making landscape-scale environmental changes.

We have also invested in nature restoration to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change and to safeguard green jobs, for example through our £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Plantlife’s ‘Meadow Makers’ project, which was awarded over £700,000 in the first round, is restoring 500 hectares of species-rich grassland at 100+ sites across seven landscapes.

The Government will publish a Green Paper before the end of the year which will set out our approach to driving nature recovery in England and provide the primary vehicle for developing and engaging on our future plans and proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department holds information on the number of recycling sites operated by each local authority in England.

Defra collects information on the number of Civic Amenity Sites (household waste recycling centres) operated by a local authority or its contractors. This information is only reported for quarter 4 (January to March) of each financial year. Two questions are completed, one by waste disposal authorities for each district and the other is completed by unitary authorities and waste collection authorities.

The latest available data is for January to March 2020. This data can be found at the following link: WasteDataFlow - Local Authority waste management on data.gov.uk

The data can be filtered by setting the 'question column' to 'Q013' (Waste Disposal Authorities) 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'.

Data for the period Jan - March 2021 is currently being reported by local authorities, and is provisionally scheduled to be published in December 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making the intentional disturbance of pinnipeds a criminal offence.

Both native grey seals and common seals species are currently protected in the UK under relevant wildlife legislation. Details can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protected-marine-species/seals

The Government recognises that disturbance by members of the public can be detrimental and, on occasion, fatal to seals. Therefore, together with Seal Alliance, we launched a new Government-backed campaign, ‘Give Seals Space’, to help raise awareness of the impact that human disturbance can have on seals and to help reduce it.

Through the Marine Management Organisation, the Government has been supporting ‘Operation Seabird’ which aims to tackle increases in disturbance to marine wildlife, including seals, by providing education and guidance to prevent wildlife disturbances and to prosecute with the support of local police forces where necessary.

We will continue to identify opportunities to raise awareness and support efforts to minimise disturbance of seals. We are also investigating what other actions could be taken to better protect seals, such as developing and distributing clear guidelines to boat operators, those partaking in recreational water sports, and the public.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of (a) trends in SF6 gas emissions and (b) the effect of the continued use of SF6 gases in electrical switchgear on SF6 gas accumulation in the atmosphere.

Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a potent fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) that contributes to climate change. F-gases currently represent about 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with SF6 emissions representing around 3% of those F-gas emissions. The UK has made significant progress in reducing and controlling the use of F-gases, highlighted by the 34.3% reduction in UK emissions of all F-gases since 1995 levels.

Compliance with the F-gas Regulation 2014 is how the UK currently controls SF6 emissions. Under the Regulation, equipment containing SF6 is subject to requirements on leak reduction, checking and rapid repair using appropriately qualified personnel. The intentional release of SF6 is also prohibited and steps must be taken to minimise unintentional release.

We are currently reviewing the provisions of the F-gas Regulation which we are required to complete by no later than 2022. As part of the review, we will consider how we can go further in support of the UK's net zero target. We will be assessing all parts of the Regulation, including the provisions relating to SF6 use, in light of this.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the amount of SF6 gas that is (a) manufactured in the UK, (b) imported in to the UK and (c) exported from the UK.

Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a potent fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) that contributes to climate change. F-gases currently represent about 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with SF6 emissions representing around 3% of those F-gas emissions. The UK has made significant progress in reducing and controlling the use of F-gases, highlighted by the 34.3% reduction in UK emissions of all F-gases since 1995 levels.

Compliance with the F-gas Regulation 2014 is how the UK currently controls SF6 emissions. Under the Regulation, equipment containing SF6 is subject to requirements on leak reduction, checking and rapid repair using appropriately qualified personnel. The intentional release of SF6 is also prohibited and steps must be taken to minimise unintentional release.

We are currently reviewing the provisions of the F-gas Regulation which we are required to complete by no later than 2022. As part of the review, we will consider how we can go further in support of the UK's net zero target. We will be assessing all parts of the Regulation, including the provisions relating to SF6 use, in light of this.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of phasing out the use of SF6 gas in electrical switchgear in response to its high global warming potential.

Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a potent fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) that contributes to climate change. F-gases currently represent about 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with SF6 emissions representing around 3% of those F-gas emissions. The UK has made significant progress in reducing and controlling the use of F-gases, highlighted by the 34.3% reduction in UK emissions of all F-gases since 1995 levels.

Compliance with the F-gas Regulation 2014 is how the UK currently controls SF6 emissions. Under the Regulation, equipment containing SF6 is subject to requirements on leak reduction, checking and rapid repair using appropriately qualified personnel. The intentional release of SF6 is also prohibited and steps must be taken to minimise unintentional release.

We are currently reviewing the provisions of the F-gas Regulation which we are required to complete by no later than 2022. As part of the review, we will consider how we can go further in support of the UK's net zero target. We will be assessing all parts of the Regulation, including the provisions relating to SF6 use, in light of this.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure effective oversight of the plastic bag charge to ensure that proceeds are allocated to environmental causes.

Since 5 October 2015, large retailers (250 or more employees) in England have been required by law to charge 5p for all single use plastic carrier bags. The charge was increased from 5p to 10p and extended to all retailers from 21 May 2021. Large retailers are also required by law to report certain information to Defra every year including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

While it is strongly encouraged that the net proceeds from the charge should be donated to good causes, especially environmental ones, this is not a legal requirement. Therefore, if retailers do choose to donate to charity, any decisions about this will be personal each individual business. Since the introduction of the charge in 2015, retailers that have reported their proceeds to us have donated nearly £190 million to their chosen good causes.

In the last reporting year of 2020 to 2021, 38% of retailers who reported gave additional information on how they chose to donate their proceeds from the carrier bag charge. These retailers donated a total of £10.9 million to good causes. Out of the total amount donated by retailers to good causes:

  • £0.1 million (1%) went to health, environment and heritage
  • £0.3 million (3%) went to charity or volunteering sectors
  • £3.0 million (27%) went to causes just chosen by customers or staff
  • £7.5 million (69%) went to a combination of more than one good cause (relating to education, arts, heritage, sports, environment, health, charity or volunteering sectors and causes chosen by customers or staff)

It is important to note that this data cannot be directly compared with that of previous years, due to unique circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal obligation for retailers to charge for single use plastic carrier bags supplied with online grocery deliveries was removed from 21 March 2020 to 21 September 2020, and during this exemption period the reporting requirement for large retailers was also removed.

The information is available on the most recent publication Single-use plastic carrier bags charge: data for England 2020 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), which summarises all data collected by Defra for the reporting year from 7 April 2020 to 6 April 2021, including the donation information. We have previously published summaries for earlier years and published the full datasets on data.gov.uk, this includes all reporting details provided by each retailer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for a link between toxic air and covid-19 symptoms.

We published a report on 1 July 2020 outlining the findings from the recent rapid Call for Evidence we ran with our Air Quality Expert Group, to ensure we can more fully understand the impact the pandemic had on air pollutant emissions, concentrations and human exposure: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/reports.php?report_id=1005.

In August 2020, we also published the findings of a study done by the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in collaboration with Defra, Public Health England and both air quality expert groups (Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group and DHSC’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants).

This research did not suggest a strong link between exposure to air pollution and mortality rates from Covid-19:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/methodologies/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalityratesandtheeffectsofairpollutioninengland

In line with previous studies, this report shows that people who are at greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19 are also at most risk of exposure to air pollution, but the evidence is not strong enough to suggest that air pollution is having a direct link to the spread or severity of Covid-19. Nevertheless, it is clear, that improved air quality is an important measure in helping us to reduce the burden placed on people’s health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last had discussions with the Mayor of London on toxic air.

The Secretary of State met the Mayor of London on 5 July. Air quality was one of the topics that were discussed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, further to the Answer of 19 July to Question 30326, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion in the plastic packaging tax with the Government's commitment to all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.

The world-leading Plastic Packaging Tax that is set to be introduced in April 2022 will increase demand for recycled plastic by encouraging the use of recycled plastic content in the manufacture of plastic packaging, addressing concerns raised by stakeholders that a lack of market demand for recycled plastics has held back recycling.

Our proposed collection and packaging reforms that will help us work towards our milestone of all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025 are complementary to the tax. These include a Deposit Return Scheme for beverage containers, a requirement for a core set of materials to be collected from households and businesses for recycling and extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. Packaging EPR will incentivise producers to make better design choices and to use plastic packaging that can be recycled or re-used. Collectively, these proposals will increase the supply of good-quality material for recycling, including for plastic packaging with recycled content. We have recently closed consultations on each and are analysing the responses and evidence submitted by consultees.

Our work towards achieving our plastic packaging commitment and the Plastics Packaging Tax are complementary measures and hence further assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion and the commitment is not needed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which countries exported dogs commercially into the UK in the first eight months of 2021.

The information the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has provided is a true reflection of the information that we have access to. APHA cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data, as we can only rely on the information that has been input into IPAFFS and PIMS by traders.

APHA can only provide data for imports entering Great Britain.

Dogs commercially imported into GB - Country of Origin.

Argentina

Egypt

Lithuania

Russian Federation

Australia

Estonia

Macao

Saudi Arabia

Austria

Ethiopia

Malaysia

Serbia

Bahamas

Finland

Malta

Singapore

Bahrain

France

Mexico

Slovakia

Barbados

Germany

Namibia

Slovenia

Belarus

Greece

Nepal

South Africa

Belgium

Hong Kong

Netherlands

South Korea

Bermuda

Hungary

New Zealand

Spain

Brazil

Iceland

Nigeria

Sweden

Bulgaria

India

Northern Ireland

Switzerland

Canada

Indonesia

Norway

Taiwan

Cayman Islands

Israel

Oman

Thailand

China

Italy

Panama

Turkey

Colombia

Jamaica

Peru

Ukraine

Costa Rica

Japan

Philippines

United Arab Emirates

Croatia

Jordan

Poland

United States of America

Cyprus

Kenya

Portugal

Zimbabwe

Czechia

Kuwait

Qatar

Denmark

Latvia

Republic of Ireland

Ecuador

Lebanon

Romania

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) dogs and (b) cats were imported under the Balai Directive in each month of 2021 to date.

The information the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has provided below is a true reflection of the information that we have access to. APHA cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data, as we rely on information that has been input into IPAFFS and PIMS by traders.

Number of cats and dogs imported from EU under the Balai directive

2021

Dogs

Cats

Jan

1399

87

Feb

5997

479

Mar

8103

554

April

8411

476

May

7383

432

June

6270

371

July

6767

538

Aug

6985

635

Number of cats and dogs imported from third countries under the Balai directive

2021

Dogs

Cats

Jan

266

310

Feb

381

423

Mar

340

552

April

430

494

May

474

449

June

527

474

July

397

464

Aug

485

398

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent studies his Department has undertaken on green alternatives to liquefied petroleum gas.

The Government is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and, as part of the work to meet that commitment, has taken great strides to promote green alternatives to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and other fossil fuels in a range of sectors. This has included gathering evidence on a number of different potential technologies including electrification, hydrogen and biofuels.

For the transport sector, the Government has not undertaken any recent studies into the alternatives to LPG specifically. Our recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan set out how we plan to cut emissions in the transport sector. This includes the phase-out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, the requirement for all new cars and vans to be 100% zero emission at the tailpipe. Renewable alternatives to LPG, including for example bio-LPG, are supported through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which has been in place since 2008. In regard to hydrogen as an alternative, the Government has recently published the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy, which builds on the Government’s ambition for 5GW low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

On heating in particular, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned research into the alternatives to using fossil fuels for heating off the gas grid. These can be found here and include Electric and bioenergy heating in off-gas grid homes: evidence gathering & Electric heating in rural off-gas grid dwellings: technical feasibility.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees (a) in number and (b) by hectare have been planted in England in each year since 2010; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that the Government achieves its commitment to plant 30,000 hectares of trees each year by the end of this Parliament.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on new planting and restocking of woodland combined by area, but not by tree numbers, in England and the UK. The area of new planting and restocking in England since 2010, taken from the published statistics, which are reported in thousands of hectares, is shown below.

Woodland Area (thousands of hectares)[i]

Year (ending 31 March)

New Planting and Restocking

England

2010

5.08

2011

6.50

2012

6.30

2013

6.57

2014

7.83

2015

8.83

2016

4.13

2017

4.15

2018

3.54

2019

3.07

2020

5.08

2021

4.16

Woodland area statistics can be found in Forestry Statistics on the Forest Research web site at: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics/

The Government has committed to increasing tree planting in the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. The England Trees Action Plan (ETAP), published in May, announced new measures for England to boost tree planting, establishment and management, support a thriving green economy through more private investment in trees and woodlands, and bring trees closer to people.

ETAP implementation is supported through more than £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund. This includes over £25 million for Woodland Creation Partnerships this year, £6 million for the Urban Trees Challenge Fund for the next two years, a £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund over this next year, and substantial funding for the recently launched England Woodland Creation Offer providing grants for woodland creation and establishment.

The plan sets out a host of other commitments to increase tree planting, including: selecting three new English regions to become part of the Woodland Creation Partnerships scheme to boost tree planting rates; setting up a new fund to support UK tree nurseries to enhance quantity, quality, diversity and biosecurity of domestic tree production and by establishing a new Impact Fund to leverage private green finance to boost tree planting rates.

[i] Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service grant schemes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle fly-tipping.

Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime. This included a commitment to strengthen sentences for fly-tipping and develop a fly-tipping toolkit. The toolkit, which will be developed with the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group, will be a web-based tool to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping.

In recent years we have also bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping. We have introduced the power to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400 to both fly-tippers and householders who pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier. We have also provided local authorities with powers to stop, search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.

In April 2021 we commissioned a research project considering the drivers, deterrents and impacts of fly-tipping. This research project is due to be completed before the end of this year and will support informed policy making. We are exploring additional funding opportunities, including the role of digital solutions.

We are also preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, which should help to tackle fly-tipping. We are taking forward the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult later this year. We also intend to consult on the introduction of mandatory electronic waste tracking. Digital records of waste movements will allow regulators to detect when waste doesn’t reach the next stage, which may indicate illegal activity including fly-tipping.

We are bringing forward several measures in the Environment Bill to ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry. These new powers will help ensure waste criminals, such as illegitimate waste operators reliant on fly-tipping for income, are held accountable for their actions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect whistle-blowers who report animal abuse on farms.

There are clear rules in place to protect and manage personal data under the Data Protection Act 2018 and in the eight data principles contained in the General Data Protection Regulation.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) investigates all allegations which raise concerns about the welfare of livestock on farm. APHA staff are provided with specific guidance on data protection rules and their obligations and responsibilities to protect personal information.

Data collected is only used, with permission, for the purposes of investigating a particular case and anyone reporting a suspected welfare issue to the APHA can also request anonymity.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met Ministers in the Welsh Government.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with Ministers from the Welsh Government at the Inter-Ministerial Group EFRA meetings. He met the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd; and the Minister for Climate Change at the last meeting on 13 September and they are due to meet again on 25 October.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the safety of raw mink furskins and related items under customs code 430110 as commodities for (a) import to or (b) export from the UK.

The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has recently concluded that there is insufficient evidence to consider raw mink fur skins as safe for international trade because of the SARS-CoV-2 risk. Further evidence is needed to improve our understanding of any other risks to human or animal health potentially posed by international trade in contaminated pelts or fur. The UK has been closely involved in these discussions.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has established that no specific authorisations have been issued for the import of untreated furs from third countries into the UK in the last two years. This view is supported by analysis of data from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), which is used to notify enforcement authorities about imports of live animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into Great Britain. No Export Health Certificates have been issued by the domestic authorities for raw mink skins and APHA data also show no evidence of any UK export of this commodity.

The UK's approach to biosecurity is internationally recognised for delivering the highest standards of protection from pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species. This begins with the vital process of horizon scanning to detect potential risks, it includes robust measures to prevent and detect incursions as well as a capacity to respond effectively to contain or eradicate outbreaks that may occur. This is underpinned by world-class scientific capabilities and collaboration internationally and across Government through key links with industry, stakeholder organisations and the wider public.

Safeguard measures under the OIE code may be put in place to ban the import of goods because of a new or emerging disease threat. Although such measures have not been introduced domestically to date, we continue to monitor developments and to consider our response should we receive any applications to import raw mink fur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken since March 2021 to mitigate the potential risks involved in the (a) import to and (b) export from the UK of raw mink furskins and related items under customs commodity code 430110.

The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has recently concluded that there is insufficient evidence to consider raw mink fur skins as safe for international trade because of the SARS-CoV-2 risk. Further evidence is needed to improve our understanding of any other risks to human or animal health potentially posed by international trade in contaminated pelts or fur. The UK has been closely involved in these discussions.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has established that no specific authorisations have been issued for the import of untreated furs from third countries into the UK in the last two years. This view is supported by analysis of data from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), which is used to notify enforcement authorities about imports of live animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into Great Britain. No Export Health Certificates have been issued by the domestic authorities for raw mink skins and APHA data also show no evidence of any UK export of this commodity.

The UK's approach to biosecurity is internationally recognised for delivering the highest standards of protection from pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species. This begins with the vital process of horizon scanning to detect potential risks, it includes robust measures to prevent and detect incursions as well as a capacity to respond effectively to contain or eradicate outbreaks that may occur. This is underpinned by world-class scientific capabilities and collaboration internationally and across Government through key links with industry, stakeholder organisations and the wider public.

Safeguard measures under the OIE code may be put in place to ban the import of goods because of a new or emerging disease threat. Although such measures have not been introduced domestically to date, we continue to monitor developments and to consider our response should we receive any applications to import raw mink fur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research the Government has (a) commissioned and (b) received to better understand the potential risks to human and animal health posed by international trade in pelts of fur contaminated with covid-19 since March 2021.

The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has recently concluded that there is insufficient evidence to consider raw mink fur skins as safe for international trade because of the SARS-CoV-2 risk. Further evidence is needed to improve our understanding of any other risks to human or animal health potentially posed by international trade in contaminated pelts or fur. The UK has been closely involved in these discussions.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has established that no specific authorisations have been issued for the import of untreated furs from third countries into the UK in the last two years. This view is supported by analysis of data from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), which is used to notify enforcement authorities about imports of live animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into Great Britain. No Export Health Certificates have been issued by the domestic authorities for raw mink skins and APHA data also show no evidence of any UK export of this commodity.

The UK's approach to biosecurity is internationally recognised for delivering the highest standards of protection from pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species. This begins with the vital process of horizon scanning to detect potential risks, it includes robust measures to prevent and detect incursions as well as a capacity to respond effectively to contain or eradicate outbreaks that may occur. This is underpinned by world-class scientific capabilities and collaboration internationally and across Government through key links with industry, stakeholder organisations and the wider public.

Safeguard measures under the OIE code may be put in place to ban the import of goods because of a new or emerging disease threat. Although such measures have not been introduced domestically to date, we continue to monitor developments and to consider our response should we receive any applications to import raw mink fur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what advice the Government has provided to UK importers and exporters of (a) raw mink fur skins and (b) related items under customs commodity code 430110 on (i) the potential risks to human and animal health posed by that trade and (ii) steps that can be taken to mitigate those risks since March 2021.

The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has recently concluded that there is insufficient evidence to consider raw mink fur skins as safe for international trade because of the SARS-CoV-2 risk. Further evidence is needed to improve our understanding of any other risks to human or animal health potentially posed by international trade in contaminated pelts or fur. The UK has been closely involved in these discussions.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has established that no specific authorisations have been issued for the import of untreated furs from third countries into the UK in the last two years. This view is supported by analysis of data from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), which is used to notify enforcement authorities about imports of live animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into Great Britain. No Export Health Certificates have been issued by the domestic authorities for raw mink skins and APHA data also show no evidence of any UK export of this commodity.

The UK's approach to biosecurity is internationally recognised for delivering the highest standards of protection from pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species. This begins with the vital process of horizon scanning to detect potential risks, it includes robust measures to prevent and detect incursions as well as a capacity to respond effectively to contain or eradicate outbreaks that may occur. This is underpinned by world-class scientific capabilities and collaboration internationally and across Government through key links with industry, stakeholder organisations and the wider public.

Safeguard measures under the OIE code may be put in place to ban the import of goods because of a new or emerging disease threat. Although such measures have not been introduced domestically to date, we continue to monitor developments and to consider our response should we receive any applications to import raw mink fur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of local authorities’ ability to enforce animal health and welfare legislation that is designed to protect domesticated and wild animals.

The Government has already taken significant steps to improve the welfare of domestic and other animals. The Animal Health and Welfare Framework has been produced to help county councils, unitary authorities and metropolitan boroughs in England deliver their statutory duties in relation to the health and welfare of farmed animals. Published in May 2021, our Action Plan for Animal Welfare sets out an ambitious programme of future reforms which will strengthen our position as a world leader in this field.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were developed to help improve standards and enforcement across a range of animal activities licensed by local authorities; for example, modernising the regulation of dog breeding, pet selling and animal boarding. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the requirements of licenses in these areas and have access to appropriately trained officers. Statutory guidance aims to improve consistency with the interpretation and application by local authorities of the regulatory regime across England. Ultimately, however, it is for local authorities themselves to decide how best to use the powers of inspection and licensing available to implement the regime and deal with individual cases.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote (a) UK-sourced food and (b) food produced in the counties, regions and nations of the UK through Government procurement.

As a Government, we have a manifesto commitment that we want people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British. We welcome efforts from all parts of the food chain to promote and source British products, and we work closely with industry and trade associations to engage with and support initiatives that highlight the qualities of British products. We will always champion our farmers and producers, supporting them to grow more of our great British food, and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public.

We are further committed in the manifesto to encourage the public sector to buy British. As part of achieving this commitment, we will be consulting on proposals to strengthen the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services early in 2022. Alongside ensuring our policy reflects best practice, the consultation will examine ways to promote greater take-up of local produce and make public procurement more accessible to SMEs. The update will promote this by focusing on the UK’s strengths such as high production and welfare standards and innovative, sustainable farming practices.

We are also working across Government to identify and trial innovative approaches to public food procurement. This includes a pilot in the South West, in collaboration with Crown Commercial Services, to simplify the route into the public sector, encouraging more local and sustainable SME businesses to join public sector food contracts. Following a successful pilot, the trial will undergo a national rollout, supporting food producers from all regions and nations of the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)