Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

Labour - Life peer

Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

(since September 2015)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)
17th Oct 2011 - 18th Sep 2015
Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2010 - 13th Oct 2014
Opposition Whip (Lords)
8th Oct 2010 - 5th Sep 2011
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
14th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Draft Marine Bill (Joint Committee)
13th May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Pharmacy (Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists etc.) Order 2022
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 101 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 193 Noes - 119
Speeches
Thursday 30th June 2022
Environmental Principles Policy Statement
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Parminter, for tabling this debate and setting out the concerns of the …
Written Answers
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Agriculture: Capital Investment
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Benyon on 8 June (HL Deb col 1151), what …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch has voted in 253 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(68 debate interactions)
Lord Benyon (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(43 debate interactions)
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View all Baroness Jones of Whitchurch's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Baroness Jones of Whitchurch has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


177 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
4 Other Department Questions
16th May 2022
To ask the Leader of the House what steps she is taking to facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of the draft Environmental Principles Statement.

Section 18 of the Environment Act 2021 sets out the routes for parliamentary scrutiny of the draft Environmental Principles Policy Statement recently laid before Parliament by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This includes consideration by relevant Select Committees.

The Chief Whip will work with the Usual Channels to schedule any business resulting from these routes in the usual way during the scrutiny period.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a requirement to deliver biodiversity net gain will be obligatory for planning decisions under the proposed Levelling up and Planning legislation.

As the requirement for mandatory biodiversity net gain has already been introduced through the Environment Act 2021, and will be brought into force by 2023, it is not necessary to make provisions for mandatory net gain in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

We are working alongside the principles in the Environment Act 2021 to ensure that development results in environmental improvement rather than merely preventing harm. We will work with Defra to further embed this approach through updates to national planning policy, to ensure that environmental considerations feature fully in all planning decision making.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 28 April (HL7965), how many applications for the Community Right to Bid have been received for local land sales.

The Department does not collect this information. Councils in England are responsible for overseeing their own Community Right to Bid schemes and are not required to provide updates to Government on local applications. They are however required to make this information available locally by publishing local updates.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce land reform measures to enable local people to bid for land put up for sale.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the membership of the Climate Action Implementation Committee; how many times it has met; and whether its minutes are published.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Further details of the membership and terms of reference for Cabinet Sub-Committees are published on gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-cabinet-committees-system-and-list-of-cabinet-committees.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the membership of the Climate Action Strategy Committee; how many times it has met since October 2019; and whether its minutes are published.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Further details of the membership and terms of reference for Cabinet Sub-Committees are published on gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-cabinet-committees-system-and-list-of-cabinet-committees.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth on 2 February (145087), whether the Green Home Grant allocations to local authorities set out in Lord Callanan’s letter to Peers on 29 January will still be applied if the £2 billion made available for Green Home Grants is not rolled over into 2021/22.

The £500m government funding for the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (GHG-LAD) scheme is independent of the funding allocated to the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme. The GHG-LAD scheme is being delivered in three phases:

- Phase 1A; over £74million was allocated to 55 Local Authorities in October 2020 to fund energy efficiency projects in over 100 Local Authorities by June 2021.

- Phase 1B:  around £126million of grant offers were made to 81 Local Authorities in January 2021, for delivery of energy efficiency projects by September 2021. Further details of these allocations will be announced in the coming weeks once Memorandums of Understanding with individual Local Authorities have been signed.

- Phase 2:  will see funding of £300m allocated to the five Local Energy Hubs this financial year who will work with Local Authorities in their region to deliver energy efficiency projects by December 2021.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) UK Leadership Team includes at least 50 per cent women.

The UK is committed to championing diversity and inclusion throughout our COP26 Presidency and all civil servants in the Cabinet Office COP26 Unit have been appointed in line with Civil Service guidance and rules.

Forty five percent of the Senior Management Team in the COP26 unit are women. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently appointed the Hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Treveylan MP) as the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion.

In line with the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25, the UK also recognises that the full, meaningful and equal participation and leadership of women in national and local level climate policy and action is vital for achieving long-term climate goals.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the outcome of the second Statutory Review of the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

A report on the findings of the second Statutory Review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator will be published and laid before Parliament as soon as practicable.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to ban sky lanterns.

The Government has no plans to place a ban on sky lanterns.

Local Authorities have powers to apply local controls to restrict or ban the use of sky lanterns on council or public land. Some councils in England, Scotland and Wales have applied a voluntary ban from council owned land.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has published a Code of Practice for sky lanterns, which aims to provide guidance for manufacturers, importers, and retailers.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change have been chaired by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since his appointment as president of the COP26 climate change conference.

The Cabinet Committee on Climate Change has only been chaired by the Prime Minister. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has therefore not chaired the Committee but attends alongside the Ministers of other Departments with responsibility for taking forward the UK’s approach to tackling climate change.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the (1) effectiveness, and (2) accuracy, of Energy Performance Certificates as applied to domestic dwellings.

The Government launched a Call for Evidence on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in 2018, which covered questions of both EPC effectiveness and accuracy. We are conducting analysis of the responses and will publish a government response in due course.

16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what cross-departmental structures have been put in place to ensure they deliver on their global climate change commitments at the COP26 Summit in 2020.

The Government has set up a COP26 Unit within Cabinet Office. This unit leads on the delivery of the COP26 Summit and it will coordinate across Government departments and devolved administrations to ensure COP26 objectives are met.

The newly established Cabinet Committee on Climate Change will oversee preparations for COP26.

26th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that remote rural locations in the UK which rely on the 3G mobile phone network will have a guaranteed continuation of service when the 3G signal is turned off in 2023.

The Government welcomes the responsible switching off of 3G networks, and will continue to work with mobile network operators to ensure a smooth transition that meets the needs of business users and consumers, including vulnerable groups.

We are committed to extending good quality mobile coverage across the UK. In March 2020, the Government announced a deal with the mobile network operators to increase 4G coverage to 95% of the UK landmass. The Government’s ambition is for the majority of the population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027 and we want to ensure that UK businesses reap the full benefits of 5G.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the disparity in broadband connectivity between urban and rural areas.

The Government is investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit to support gigabit broadband coverage in areas not covered by commercial roll-out, adding to the 600,000 homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas already covered by gigabit broadband with our support.

It is the Government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage and eliminate the disparity in broadband connectivity between urban and rural areas is by creating a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable. This will allow public subsidy to focus on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely.

This approach is working. Today, we are on track for the biggest build in UK history. At present, 65% of premises can access a gigabit-capable connection, a huge leap forward from July 2019, when gigabit coverage was just 8%.

Our procurements are prioritising delivery to rural, hard-to-reach premises and to those with the lowest broadband speeds. To date, we have launched procurements targeting rural parts of Cumbria, County Durham, Northumberland, Dorset, and Cambridgeshire. Further information on the procurement approach and timeframes can be found in our latest Project Gigabit Delivery Update.

As part of Project Gigabit the Government is also investing up to £210 million in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. The scheme provides a micro-grant of up to £1,500 for residents and up to £3,500 for businesses towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

The scheme enables those communities and businesses in rural areas not in line for commercial rollout, and those that do not want to wait for Project Gigabit procurements, to get more immediate help with the costs of installing a gigabit-capable connection. Further information is available on the gigabit voucher website including eligibility criteria and how to apply for the scheme.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the rollout of the mobile phone Shared Rural Network will be fully delivered by 2025

The Shared Rural Network remains on track and both the Government and the mobile network operators remain confident that their combined coverage is expected to be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before completion. The four operators have already commenced work on the first element of the Shared Rural Network which is funded by the industry, and are on track to eliminate the majority of partial not-spots - areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all, operators - by mid-2024. Coverage upgrades in many partial not-spot areas are already being delivered, with work to improve coverage in other areas in progress. The 2021 Ofcom Connected Nations report, published in December, demonstrates increased coverage across the whole UK by the mobile network operators, including 46 deployments towards their Shared Rural Network commitments.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the lack of rural broadband and mobile phone connectivity; and how they plan to address the issue.

Over 96% of all premises in the UK can access superfast broadband thanks to the success of our Superfast Broadband Programme, meaning the UK has one of the highest levels of rural superfast connectivity in Europe. The Government is committed to further improve the UK’s broadband infrastructure and deliver nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. As part of this, we are investing an unprecedented £5 billion of subsidy to support the deployment of gigabit broadband in the hardest-to-reach, predominantly rural, areas of the country through our new UK Gigabit Programme.

We have already made significant progress in connecting rural premises to gigabit speeds and, since 2018, have delivered gigabit-capable connectivity to over half a million homes and businesses in some of the hardest to reach places in the country, through our existing Superfast Broadband and £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programmes.

The Government is also committed to extending geographic mobile coverage to 95% of the UK. On 9 March 2020, we announced the £1 billion Shared Rural Network deal with the Mobile Network Operators. This landmark deal will see operators collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of programme, underpinned by legally binding coverage commitments.

On 27 January 2021, the operators Three, O2 and Vodafone announced a joint venture to build and share 222 new masts to boost coverage across the UK to deliver the first stage of the SRN. This will result in increased coverage in each of the UK nations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the report by the National Farmers Union NFU digital survey results, published on 8 February, and (2) the finding in that report that more than four in ten farmers do not have access to fast and reliable broadband.

The Government has delivered superfast broadband to over five million premises, mainly in rural areas, which means that 96% of UK premises have access to superfast speeds and the UK has one of the highest rates of rural superfast coverage in Europe.

However, the Government recognises that further investment in rural broadband is needed, as the National Farmers Union’s recent report demonstrates. That is why the Government is investing an unprecedented £5 billion to further subsidise deployment of gigabit broadband in the hardest to reach 20% of the country. The majority of this funding will be deployed in rural areas, and will connect farms in these areas. The £5 billion investment will prioritise deployment to premises without access to superfast broadband, where possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why school meal vouchers can only be used in certain shops and cannot be used in all supermarkets and convenience stores.

During this period of partial school closures, we are asking schools to support children who are at home and eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the department.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access e-gift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets and we have been working to see if additional supermarkets can be added to this list. Any additional supermarkets would need to have the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across their network of stores.

If schools are unable to provide meals or food parcels and none of the supermarkets participating in the national voucher scheme are suitable for families, schools can purchase vouchers for alternative shops and claim costs back, up to a certain limit.

Guidance on providing free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Further guidance on financial support is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the range of supermarkets and convenience stores able to accept school meal vouchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free school meal vouchers can currently be spent in a variety of supermarkets. Initially, the scheme includes supermarkets that already have e-gift card arrangements in place with Edenred, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose. On 21 April we confirmed that Aldi will be added to the list of supermarkets from week commencing 27 April. We continue to work with a wide range of supermarkets to encourage them to join. This involves them having the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards in a uniform way across their network of stores.

9th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent marine protected areas from being (1) bottom trawled, and (2) dredged.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We have designated over 100 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) since 2010, so that now 40% of English waters are within the protected area network. We have already committed that the next step is to ensure all of our MPAs are properly managed and supported by our proposed legally binding target under the Environment Act which we are consulting on at present. 98 MPAs in English inshore waters are already protected from damaging fishing activity and we have introduced byelaws in the first four offshore sites, which ban bottom towed gear over sensitive habitats. We have also published a call for evidence relating to the next 13 offshore sites. We are aiming to have all MPAs in English offshore waters protected from damaging fishing activity by 2024.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Benyon on 8 June (HL Deb col 1151), what steps they are taking to ensure that private sector investment in the natural environment is carried out with "the proper social underpinning".

The Government has an ambitious target to raise at least £500m a year of private finance for nature’s recovery by 2027 and £1 billion by 2030. We are developing a number of tools to support that target, including standards and frameworks to ensure investments are robust and credible, as well as taking appropriate account of factors such as local community impacts. We intend to set out more detail on this work shortly, however in the interim there are several policies that aim to address this for current investments.

For example, the UK Woodland Carbon Code provides a robust, internationally recognised standard for investment in new woodland creation. The Woodland Carbon Code includes a requirement to adhere throughout the lifetime of projects to the social aspects of sustainable forest management set out in the UK Forestry Standard. This includes taking action to safeguard against negative social outcomes, as well as to manage for positive social outcomes. Furthermore, any large or commercial woodland creation projects would require an Environmental Impact Assessment which requires a public consultation.

Under our COP26 Presidency, the Government has supported action to raise standards for voluntary carbon markets. This includes the international Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative, which published its draft Code of Conduct on 7 June.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to implement the recommendations of the Landscapes review: National Parks and AONBs led by Julian Glover.

The Government published its response to the Landscapes Review on 15 January. We have received over 15,000 responses to our consultation and are currently analysing the consultation responses.

Since the review was published, we have launched the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme to provide funding for farmers and land managers to work in partnership with National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) teams to deliver projects on climate, nature, people and place. In the first year of the programme, more than 1,000 projects have been supported.

The Government is supporting more diverse and inclusive engagement in our protected landscapes, through programmes such as Generation Green programme, which has been funded through our Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The Government is also running green social prescribing pilots at several sites in or near protected landscapes, which will test how connecting people with nature can improve mental wellbeing.

Natural England is implementing an ambitious new landscape designation programme, which includes considering the creation of two new AONBs in the Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, and extensions to the Surrey Hills and Chilterns AONBs. The new programme is also exploring new approaches to improve landscapes for people and nature, particularly in and around towns and cities.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made with the roll-out of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

The Government is working to put in place the key measures necessary for preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to begin across England. We are developing regulations which will set out the process that must be followed in preparing a LNRS and guidance on what each Strategy should contain. Development of these two documents is being informed by over 400 responses we received to our consultation which closed in November as well as lessons learnt during our five LNRS pilots (report published here and attached).

We are working to identify the geographies that each LNRS will cover and appropriate "responsible authorities" to lead the preparation of each one. We have had very positive initial engagement with potential responsible authorities across the country, building towards agreeing LNRS areas and securing formal appointments later this year.

To enable these formal appointments, we are developing our financial offer for responsible authorities to ensure that they have sufficient resource to deliver their new role. We are also compiling the nationally-held data and information that we will provide to each responsible authority to help them prepare their LNRS.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to discourage food producers from using palm oil following disruptions to the supply of sunflower oil as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain – which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges. The world’s leading vegetable oil is palm oil, however, several other oils are often used by the food manufacturing industry. Many UK manufacturers use sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil in their products. It is important to note that both supermarkets and food producers are private businesses that each have their own approaches and it is not the role of the Government to direct their operations.

We are working closely with the food and feed industry to understand the impacts of the situation in Ukraine on sunflower seed, oil or sunseed meal supplies, whilst the Food Standards Agency have informed consumers that rapeseed oil may start to replace sunflower oil in some products

We remain in regular contact with major grain traders, manufacturers and food retailers to understand the impacts of global events on supply chains, monitor availability of key ingredients and to ensure the highest possible standards for our food products.

At the moment domestic edible oil refiners are reporting that the UK has adequate stocks of many different oils and food industry figures remain confident in the supply chain to adjust to any changes in ingredients which may be necessary.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to ensure that slight variations of existing banned chemicals are not allowed onto the UK market.

We recognise that when assessing the risk of hazardous chemicals, it is important to consider whether they might be substituted with others with similar hazards (known as regrettable substitution). We are aiming to tackle this issue by considering whole groups of chemicals, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), during our analysis of the various risk management options available under UK REACH, and at the same time considering the availability and suitability of alternatives.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of domestic demand for palm oil as a result of (1) disturbances to agricultural production in Ukraine, and (2) restrictions to imports from Russia.

The world’s leading vegetable oil is palm oil. However, several other oils are often used by the food manufacturing industry. Many UK manufacturers use sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil in their products.

Ukraine is a major producer of sunflower and oil seed rape, supply of which is threatened by the current situation in that region. However, the UK has a highly resilient food supply chain – which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges.

We remain in regular contact with major grain traders, manufacturers and food retailers to understand the impacts of global events on supply chains and to ensure the highest possible standards for our food products.

At the moment supermarkets are reporting product availability for many different oils and food industry figures remain confident in the supply chain to adjust to any changes in ingredients which may be necessary.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support dairy farmers adversely affected by higher costs of (1) feed, (2) fuel, and (3) fertiliser.

Agricultural commodities are closely correlated to global gas prices. Dairy farmers are facing increased input costs, including feed, fuel and fertiliser prices. We continue to monitor the situation, including through the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group. Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and key sector representatives.

The Government announced on the 30 March a number of actions to address current fertiliser issues. These included changes to statutory guidance to the Environment Agency on how they should implement the "Farming Rules for Water" to provide clarity to farmers on how they can use slurry and other manures during autumn and winter to meet agronomic needs; increased grants funding to help farmers and growers boost research and development; and a delay to changes to the use of urea by at least a year. When the urea restrictions are introduced, they will be related to the use of ammonia inhibitors rather than a complete ban.

We recognise that fertiliser pressures on the livestock and arable sectors may differ, particularly over the farming seasons. On the 31 March Minister Prentis hosted the first meeting of the Fertiliser Roundtable with key industry bodies to discuss potential mitigations to the challenges which global supply pressures are causing. Ministers will continue to meet with key industry bodies for further fertiliser round-table sessions in the coming months, to help identify and mitigate potential risks.

Defra is working closely with its industry-led groups and key stakeholders to monitor the position on animal feed. This includes both availability and price of animal feed ingredients for all species, including the dairy sector.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a ban on the import of hunting trophies.

We have pledged to bring forward legislation to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. This ban will be among the strongest in the world, leading the way in protecting endangered animals. We intend to bring this forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what target outcomes they have for the UK delegation to the UN COP15 Biodiversity Conference being held in Kunming, China, in April and May.

Biodiversity loss is a global problem that needs a global solution, and the UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity later this year. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we expect the COP itself to take place in the third quarter of 2022.

The UK will be advocating for ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030. This includes targets to ensure at least 30% of the land and of the ocean is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering, and extinctions are halted by 2050. The UK is calling for this ambitious set of targets to be supported by increased finance for nature from all sources (public and private) and at all levels (domestic and international), and for strengthened reporting and review mechanisms to facilitate the achievement of targets and hold Parties to account to their commitments.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation with stakeholders they have undertaken in preparation for the UN COP15 Biodiversity Conference.

The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity later this year. Defra continues to work closely with a wide range of NGOs, businesses and civil society organisations to deliver its objectives. Defra is also seeking input from its specialist arms-length bodies and other Government departments in developing its approach.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the composition of the UK delegation to the UN COP15 Biodiversity Conference.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy identified tackling climate change and biodiversity loss as the UK’s international priority through COP26 and beyond. The UK is committed to playing a leading role at CBD COP15 this year to secure agreement to ambitious global action over the next decade. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we expect the COP itself to take place in the third quarter of 2022. I will head the UK delegation, and attendance by other UK Government Ministers and attendance by officials will be confirmed when revised dates for COP15 are available.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in support of voluntary efforts to phase out the use of lead shot by game hunters in England; and what plans they have, if any, to introduce a requirement to replace the use of lead shot with other materials which do not harm the countryside.

Nine high-profile shooting organisations released a joint statement in 2020 calling for an end to lead in ammunition used for taking live quarry with shotguns within five years. We welcomed this move away from lead and are committed to ensuring a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between shooting and conservation. By 2020, the use of lead ammunition in England had already been restricted in specific circumstances by existing legislation– including being prohibited in or over sites of special scientific interest including wetlands.

In spring 2021, Defra asked the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare a UK REACH restriction dossier for lead ammunition. The HSE and the EA are considering the evidence of risk posed by lead in ammunition on human health and the environment and, therefore, the case for introducing a UK REACH restriction on lead in ammunition. This process will take approximately two years (from spring 2021), after which the Secretary of State, with the consent of the Scottish and Welsh Ministers, will make a decision on the basis of this review. Further information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-announced-to-phase-out-lead-ammunition-in-bid-to-protect-wildlife

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a ban of the import of animal fur as part of their proposed animal welfare legislation.

Now we have left the EU, the Government is able to explore potential action in relation to animal fur. We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses will be published soon.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a ban on the import of foie gras as part of their proposed animal welfare legislation.

The Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding raises serious welfare concerns. Now we have left the EU we are able to consider any further steps that could be taken in relation to foie gras that is produced overseas using force feeding practices, such as restrictions on import and sale. We are gathering information and will continue to speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved. This is in line with the Government’s commitment to improving animal welfare standards as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of the devolved nations regarding introducing Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) on all UK fishing fleets.

The Government has been clear that we see the potential for REM, including cameras, to support our ambitions for sustainable fisheries management and protecting the marine environment.

The enforcement of fisheries management measures and scientific monitoring of fish stocks are, however, devolved matters. It is therefore for each UK administration to decide its approach.

There are regular discussions on REM as part of the normal policy development process. We will continue to work with our colleagues around the UK to discuss our policies where it is right to do so.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what stakeholders they intend to involve when drawing up the new fair dealing Codes of Practice provided for in the Agriculture Act 2020; and in what ways those stakeholders will be involved.

The Government is committed to tackling the unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain. Powers in the Agriculture Act allow us to introduce statutory codes of conduct which increase the transparency of business relationships and protect farmers from imbalanced commercial terms. We intend to use these powers in a targeted way where there is clear evidence of unfair practices in specific agricultural sectors and statutory codes will help address the issues.

A public consultation exploring the dairy supply chain was carried out in June 2020 and we are in the process of developing regulations which we intend to introduce later this year. In the coming months we are also launching a public consultation exploring how fairness and transparency can be improved in the pork sector.

The Government will continue to work closely with all sectors to discuss any supply chain issues and any regulations will be developed alongside industry with the close involvement of stakeholders.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent small farmers being pressured into signing unfair food supply deals by large supermarkets.

The Government is committed to tackling the unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain. Powers in the Agriculture Act allow us to introduce statutory codes of conduct which increase the transparency of business relationships and protect farmers from imbalanced commercial terms. We intend to use these powers in a targeted way where there is clear evidence of unfair practices in specific agricultural sectors and statutory codes will help address the issues.

A public consultation exploring the dairy supply chain was carried out in June 2020 and we are in the process of developing regulations which we intend to introduce later this year. In the coming months we are also launching a public consultation exploring how fairness and transparency can be improved in the pork sector.

The Government will continue to work closely with all sectors to discuss any supply chain issues and any regulations will be developed alongside industry with the close involvement of stakeholders.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their timetable for introducing the sector-specific codes on fair dealing in the food supply chain as set out in the Agriculture Act 2020.

The Government is committed to tackling the unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain. Powers in the Agriculture Act allow us to introduce statutory codes of conduct which increase the transparency of business relationships and protect farmers from imbalanced commercial terms. We intend to use these powers in a targeted way where there is clear evidence of unfair practices in specific agricultural sectors and statutory codes will help address the issues.

A public consultation exploring the dairy supply chain was carried out in June 2020 and we are in the process of developing regulations which we intend to introduce later this year. In the coming months we are also launching a public consultation exploring how fairness and transparency can be improved in the pork sector.

The Government will continue to work closely with all sectors to discuss any supply chain issues and any regulations will be developed alongside industry with the close involvement of stakeholders.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Benyon on 25 January (HL Deb col 69GC), how many of the dogs recently imported from Afghanistan have been found to have serious diseases; what steps are being taken to control the spread of Brucella canis, identified among some of these dogs; and whether the dogs will remain in quarantine until full biosecurity guarantees can be given.

We have some of the strongest biosecurity and safety controls in the world to help protect people and animals against diseases coming into the country.

Whilst I am unable to comment on individual cases, I can provide reassurance that the Animal and Plant Health Agency has worked closely and constructively with Nowzad to manage rabies and other disease risks effectively. Dogs were only released to Nowzad after fully completing the necessary rabies quarantine and treatment process.

We have separately taken a number of wider actions to address the risks posed by Brucella canis. Firstly, we have required that incidences of the pathogen in dogs are now reportable under the Zoonoses Order. This will allow us to monitor the number of cases and determine whether there is a wider problem within the existing UK dog population. In addition we are working to raise the profile of the disease with public health and veterinary professionals. We have undertaken a risk review and statement on the public health risk which was published on the UK Health Security Agency website on 12 February 2021, and our Chief Veterinary Officer has written an open letter to the Vet Record to warn veterinarians about the risk and what to look for in sick dogs. We will continue to gather information on the disease risk posed by Brucella canis and will consider any further actions as appropriate.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to pass a bill to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from Great Britain, in the current parliamentary session.

This Government is committed to increasing our already high animal welfare standards. Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare lays out how we will ensure the welfare of all animals, whether that be farm, pet or wild animals is set at the highest standards, as well as encouraging similar standards abroad.

The Government introduced the landmark Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill to Parliament on 8 June 2021. The Bill will extend and strengthen protections for pets, farmed animals, and kept wild animals. Following introduction, the Bill has subsequently passed the second reading and committee stage in the House of Commons. This Bill is currently awaiting a date for report stage when parliamentary timetabling allows.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the consultation on the proposed changes to public sector food procurement policy will take place.

We will be consulting on a set of proposed changes to public sector food procurement policy, including the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF), following the publication of the Government’s Food Strategy White Paper due to launch shortly. The consultation will seek views on ways to promote local, sustainable, healthier food in the public sector, open public sector procurement to a wider range of businesses, and increase the transparency of food supply chains.

The GBSF consultation will be an exciting opportunity for producers and consumers of public sector food to have their say and make suggestions to help shape future policy. We look forward to receiving input to the consultation from the sector, and more information will be released in due course once the consultation date has been confirmed.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Benyon on 19 January (HL Deb, col 1650), whether Ofwat has powers to insist that the remuneration and bonuses of individual water company executives should be limited in cases where raw sewage is allowed to persistently pollute rivers and waterways.

The pollution of rivers and waterways is unacceptable. We have been clear that water companies must do more to tackle their pollution, and if we do not see adequate improvements we will not hesitate to take further action.

The Board Leadership, Transparency and Governance principles issued by Ofwat set out expectations on transparency of executive pay. Ofwat now requires water companies to meet the objectives of the principles, and to demonstrate the link between their performance and performance-pay for executive teams as required by their license conditions.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with Ofwat about the powers it has to take action against individual water company executives in the event of illegal sewage discharges; and whether those discussions identified (1) any request from Ofwat for greater powers to fine water company executives, and (2) any lacunae in its regulatory powers in this area.

Water companies are separate legal entities from their directors, as per company law, and it is companies which undertake most of the duties associated with treatment and discharge of sewage. However, directors of companies can be held liable for the offences committed by their companies in the event that consent, connivance or neglect on their part can be shown.

The Government has made improving water quality a priority and has introduced reforms to enable that. The Environment Act has placed our ambition on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows. The Act has also modernised water resources planning, and introduced statutory requirements on monitoring and transparency. The Secretary of State can also give general authorisation to Ofwat which will enable the regulator to take enforcement action should companies fail to meet these new duties.

The Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat sets an expectation that they will challenge water companies to demonstrate how they will deliver improvements to environmental outcomes, sets a new course so the industry can deliver more for the environment, and includes an expectation for Ofwat to 'challenge water companies to demonstrate how they will achieve zero serious pollution incidents by 2030' which will provide a clear signal to companies.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what checks are carried out by the Environment Agency to ensure that water companies report all sewage discharges into rivers and waterways.

Water companies are required to monitor their processes and emissions, and report these to the Environment Agency (EA). Water companies provide this information through annual data returns or upon request by the EA. The EA runs this through compliance checks to ensure water companies are meeting permit requirements. The Environment Act 2021 also places new monitoring duties directly on water companies requiring the publication of storm overflow spill data in near real time and monitoring upstream and downstream of all storm overflows.

The monitoring equipment and processes used by water companies are subject to scrutiny by the EA through inspection and audit and, in the case of flow measurement, by independent and accredited flow experts. These experts are commissioned by the EA to inspect sites and ensure that flow measurements are accurate to exacting quality standards.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the criteria for applying for the Local Nature Recovery Scheme and the Landscape Recovery Scheme will be published.

As set out in our payment principles document published in June 2021, we aim to support the stacking of multiple public schemes and public and private finance so long as schemes are compatible, pay for different or additional outcomes and do not pay for the same action twice.

On 6 January 2022 we published further information on both Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery.

This included the broad themes that Local Nature Recovery will pay for and more detail on how it will work. This publication also confirmed that we will continue working with stakeholders to develop the detailed scheme rules for Local Nature Recovery. We will finalise and publish these as soon as possible to allow people to plan their participation in the scheme.

The publication also included initial information on the criteria for the first round of Landscape Recovery pilot projects. It confirmed that we will launch the application process shortly including publishing full guidance for applicants. This guidance will cover detailed information on how bids will be assessed and how the scheme will work for the selected projects. Projects will have 16 weeks to prepare their applications before the application window closes. Applications will then be assessed against our selection criteria and we will confirm the chosen first round pilot projects this summer.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether applications for the new Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery Scheme will take account of whether potential recipients are already in receipt of funding from existing DEFRA payment schemes or other environmental land management schemes.

As set out in our payment principles document published in June 2021, we aim to support the stacking of multiple public schemes and public and private finance so long as schemes are compatible, pay for different or additional outcomes and do not pay for the same action twice.

On 6 January 2022 we published further information on both Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery.

This included the broad themes that Local Nature Recovery will pay for and more detail on how it will work. This publication also confirmed that we will continue working with stakeholders to develop the detailed scheme rules for Local Nature Recovery. We will finalise and publish these as soon as possible to allow people to plan their participation in the scheme.

The publication also included initial information on the criteria for the first round of Landscape Recovery pilot projects. It confirmed that we will launch the application process shortly including publishing full guidance for applicants. This guidance will cover detailed information on how bids will be assessed and how the scheme will work for the selected projects. Projects will have 16 weeks to prepare their applications before the application window closes. Applications will then be assessed against our selection criteria and we will confirm the chosen first round pilot projects this summer.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a target to retain the current levels of food grown and processed in the UK.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built by supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. This provides us with the resilience we need in the face of risks such as adverse weather, animal or crop disease, or transport and border disruption.

Our production to supply ratio remains high in comparison with historical levels. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years. The UK’s year-round production includes cereals, meats, milk and some fresh produce. We have very high production to supply ratios in poultry, turnips, carrots, swedes, eggs and beef.

The UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) recognises the contribution made by British farmers to our resilience, and the importance of strong domestic production to our food security. It considers the UK's food supply sources overall, noting that domestic production and diversity of supply are both important to our food security. The UKFSR summarises existing information and understanding. It serves as an evidence base for future policy work, and does not contain policy recommendations.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect the Environment Agency to inspect all reports of water pollution to ascertain the seriousness of the incident.

The Environment Agency (EA) receives over 100,000 incident reports a year, every one of which is recorded and assessed. The EA then focuses its efforts and resources on where they will have the most impact - so those which pose the greatest risk to the environment.

The EA's Incident Triage Project is looking at how the EA can best use its resources and maximise benefits for the environment. While it continues to attend the most serious incidents, the EA will concentrate its efforts on regulatory activities which prevent incidents from happening in the first place. Intelligence from incident reporting helps the EA plan and prioritise work to protect the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the targets for each of the coming five years for reducing (1) nitrogen, (2) phosphate, and (3) sediment pollutants, entering UK watercourses.

We have existing regimes to set ambitions for local water bodies through River Basin Management Planning, including nutrient limits in certain areas. The draft River Basin Management Plans were published on 22 October 2021 for consultation, which will end on 22 April 2022.

The Government has taken powers in the Environment Act to create new, legally-binding targets in four priority areas including water, to complement the existing framework. These new targets will be an important mechanism to drive environmental improvement and meet our ambitious objectives for clean and plentiful water in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

We plan to publish our proposed targets along with supporting evidence for public consultation shortly. I would encourage all interested parties to engage in this process.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what penalties can be applied against individual directors of water companies who recklessly or repeatedly discharge unpermitted sewage into waterways.

There is a range of legal powers available to Defra and its regulators, such as the Environment Agency, to hold company directors to account when they cause or knowingly permit a breach of environmental regulations. These powers are used regularly to hold directors to account, including where necessary bringing forward criminal proceedings.

If successful, prosecution can lead to company director(s) being fined, imprisoned, handed a suspended sentence, ordered to do unpaid community work, and disqualified from holding office as a director for a fixed period of up to fifteen years.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on public health of toxic air from landfill sites.

Operators of landfill sites are required to apply to the Environment Agency (EA) for an Environmental Permit before operations can commence. During the application process the EA assesses the impact of emissions to air from landfills on the environment and human health. The EA also assesses emissions during routine check monitoring and in response to specific incidents.

Whenever there are concerns over potential impacts on human health the relevant data is forwarded to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as the Government body responsible for protecting the health of communities. The predecessor to UKHSA, the Health Protection Agency, published advice in 2011 on the impacts on health of emissions from landfill sites. The report concluded that a well-managed modern landfill site does not pose a significant risk to human health. This advice remains consistent with the research sponsored by Defra in 2004, which was reviewed by the Royal Society. The UKHSA works with the EA to ensure that individual landfill sites do not contribute significantly to ill-health.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, how they will evaluate the requirements on water companies in the Environment Act 2021 to make progressive reductions in sewage dumping.

Progressive reduction in harm means that we expect Water Companies in England to continue to take the steps necessary to reduce the harm caused by Storm Overflows, even after the next price review period. This duty will complement the 'significant' reduction required by the draft Strategic Policy Statement (SPS). We have been clear that we want to see meaningful action in this place, and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.

The Environment Act transparency measures mean the public, stakeholders' regulators and Government will be able to proactively measure the performance of water companies in achieving this duty.

More information on ambition and timescales will be provided during the upcoming price review period - the Government, Ofwat and the Environment Agency all have roles to play in clarifying this detail. We expect to issue guidance to water companies early in 2022.

The Environment Act also commits Government to produce a Discharge Reduction Plan by September 2022. We have been clear that this Plan is the right place to set our guiding principles to reduce harm from storm overflows - including our level of ambition and this will be consulted on in Spring 2022.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, of the target of 5,000 hectares of trees planted, what proportion were planted in (1) 2020, and (2) 2021; and what the delivery target will be for 2022.

The Government committed to trebling woodland creation rates to 30,000 hectares per year in the UK by the end of this Parliament. The Government aims to at least treble woodland creation in England over that time period to contribute to that target and will maintain new planting at least at this level from 2025 onwards.

After centuries of deforestation, tree cover in the UK reached its low point in 1924, with only 5% of the UK forested after the First World War. Now, after a century of effort, we have brought woodland cover back up to 13% of our land. The areas of new planting (woodland creation) taken from the Forestry Commission’s Forestry Statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting in England (thousand hectares)

2019-20

2.34

2020-21

2.06

Since 2020-21 there are also quarterly interim reports (provisional statistics) on new planting of woodland published in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. In the first half of 2021-22 there were 856 hectares of new planting of woodland in England. We expect further trees to be planted throughout this tree planting season which ends in March 2022, and our projections show we are currently on the right trajectory to meet our commitments.

In England, we are boosting the existing £640 million Nature for Climate Fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management - above and beyond what was promised in the manifesto.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in resolving the dispute over licences for French fishermen operating in UK waters.

The Government has continued to work at pace with the European Commission as well as with the French authorities, with regular meetings held to make progress on licensing issues.

735 French vessels have been licenced to fish in UK waters since 31 December 2020, with 104 licences of those vessels also licensed to fish in the UK’s 6-12nm zone.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which public body is responsible for ensuring the welfare of farmed fish at processing sites.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency is responsible for carrying out any investigations concerning the welfare of farmed fish at processing sites.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the maximum penalty for fly tipping; and when this figure last was reviewed.

The maximum penalty for fly-tipping is 12 months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine if convicted at a Magistrates’ Court, or five years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine if convicted at Crown Court. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 was amended in 2015 to remove maximum limits on fines for fly-tipping.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Environment Agency is taking to ensure that all waste carriers are recorded accurately on their official register.

We are working to replace paper waste tracking forms with electronic waste tracking, and also on reform of the Carriers, Brokers and Dealers licensing regime. Taken together, these reforms will significantly reduce the opportunity for abuse of the waste system, whilst making it easier to prosecute waste criminals successfully. Consultations on the detail of these reforms are due to be published shortly.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents of fly tipping were reported to the Environment Agency in each of the last five years; and how many of these cases resulted in a successful prosecution.

The Environment Agency tackles a wide range of waste crime including illegal dumping, responding to those incidents which pose the most significant threat to the environment due to their scale, impact or the involvement of organised crime groups. It is the role and responsibility of local authorities to handle smaller scale fly-tipping incidents. Any caller to the Environment Agency who identifies fly-tipping at the scale or nature that we do not handle is directed to the appropriate local authority.

In terms of illegal dumping and other waste crime, in 2020/21 the Environment Agency secured 25 successful prosecutions which resulted in total fines of £475,796 and seven custodial sentences. It is everyone’s responsibility to check they only use properly licensed waste carriers – if they do not, they risk a fine if that rubbish ends up being fly-tipped.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish their response to the Consultation on Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: Second Consultation, published on 24 March.

Final details and next steps for the deposit return scheme will be presented in a Government response which will be published in due course. An impact assessment to support final proposals for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the Government response.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with relevant industries regarding the membership of the proposed Deposit Management Organisation.

The formation of the Deposit Management Organisation is still being considered and we will work with interested parties (in particular drinks producers and retailers) to ensure a structure with appropriate expertise and representation is in place to manage the operation of the deposit return scheme. No formal engagement on this has yet taken place.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish their response to the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging: Consultation Document, published on 25 March.

The Government continues to work closely with the Devolved Administrations in considering the responses to the consultation and final policy proposals. The Government consultation response is due to be published in early 2022.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the proportion of food (1) grown, and (2) consumed, in the UK.

The Government has a manifesto commitment that 'we want people, both at home and abroad, to be lining up to buy British'.

To increase both domestic and overseas demand, we will use the UK's growing reputation for high-quality food and drink produced to high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability.

We are working with the public sector to encourage them to buy seasonal and local produce, encourage variety in diets and support local businesses. This includes promoting the high standards of British produce.

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.

Farming efficiently and improving the environment can go hand in hand. This does not have to be a trade-off, as many land management activities will benefit the environment as well as productivity. Our future farming policy will not only reward a range of environmental improvements, but also support investment in technology and research to improve productivity – helping farmers to produce the high-quality food we are renowned for.

The new Farming Investment Fund will provide grants to farmers, foresters and growers (including contractors to these sectors) so that they can invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help their businesses to prosper, while improving their productivity and enhancing the environment. These grants will help producers to focus on more efficient production methods that will reduce resource costs, improve yields, and give them a better return.

These initiatives together with our new Farming Innovation Programme, a farmer-led funding programme for research and development to boost innovation and improve the productivity and prosperity of England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors, will provide a catalyst for growth for all regions of the UK.

Our food security depends on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable export routes. Overall, we produce 60% of all the food we need. That figure increases to 74% as a percentage of the food which UK conditions allow us to grow or rear in the UK, for all or part of the year. These figures have changed little over the last 20 years. UK consumers have almost constant access through international trade to food products that we cannot produce here, or can only produce for some of the year; this also supplements our excellent domestic production. Importantly, this also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many pigs have been culled as a result of the shortage of slaughterhouse staff; and what has been the take-up to date of the extended seasonal workers scheme, due to end on 31 December.

Defra has been working closely with pig producers and the processing sector in recent months. We are very conscious of the impact that the culling of animals on farm has on individual pig farmers. We announced a series of measures on 14 October that will support the pig sector and help address the current challenges it is facing. These include allowing up to 800 pork butchers to apply for a six-month working visa to the UK, a suspension on the statutory levy for pig farmers and producers during November 2021, and a private storage aid scheme which will enable meat processors to store slaughtered pigs for three to six months so that they can be preserved safely and processed at a later date.

Defra does not collect data on the number of pigs culled on farms. Producers, who are responsible for the welfare of animals on farm, are also not required to submit such data to us. However, from our engagement with the pig sector, we understand that around 7800 pigs have been culled on farms as a result of the shortage of workers in slaughterhouses. This is largely due to the backlog of pigs on farm caused by a unique combination of factors including shortages of labour in the processing sector, disruption to the export market and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced that up to 5500 poultry workers and 5000 HGV drivers transporting food and fuel will be able to enter the UK for work in the lead up to Christmas 2021. HGV drivers entering under the temporary visa scheme will be able to stay in the UK up to 28 February 2022 and poultry workers up to 31 December 2021. In addition, up to 800 temporary pig butchers will be able to enter the UK to work for six months from the point of issue of the visa.

The temporary visa scheme for poultry and HGV workers has now opened and scheme operators are working directly with the sector. Industry interest and engagement has been positive.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with Forestry England to ensure that peat free composts are used in their growing nurseries.

In the 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, and on an ambitious date for the professional sector.

All Government departments and their related organisations must make sure that they meet the minimum mandatory Government Buying Standards when buying goods and services. We also encourage the wider public sector to specify the minimum mandatory standards in tenders.

The relevant buying standards for horticultural products can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-procurement-the-gbs-for-horticulture-and-park-services and include a mandatory requirement not to purchase growing media containing peat.

Forestry England currently uses peat-based growing media only in strictly limited circumstances where there is no current alternative product and where it is necessary to continue production of some of our most vulnerable trees, including several native broadleaf species. For example, alder and birch have, historically, not grown well in peat-free media; trials are planned to understand the reasons and identify the best alternative growing medium for these species.

However, Forestry England has committed to end the purchase of peat-based growing media by the end of this Parliament, well in advance of the rest of the professional sector. In order to achieve this ambitious commitment, Forestry England is continuing to lead the way, actively testing and trialling the use of non-peat growing media alternatives and aiming to provide the wider sector with confidence in these alternatives. This is crucial to supporting these emerging products and supporting the phase out of peat from the wider industry as a whole.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to end their use of UK sourced peat-based compost.

In the 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, and on an ambitious date for the professional sector.

All Government departments and their related organisations must make sure that they meet the minimum mandatory Government Buying Standards when buying goods and services. We also encourage the wider public sector to specify the minimum mandatory standards in tenders.

The relevant buying standards for horticultural products can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-procurement-the-gbs-for-horticulture-and-park-services and include a mandatory requirement not to purchase growing media containing peat.

Forestry England currently uses peat-based growing media only in strictly limited circumstances where there is no current alternative product and where it is necessary to continue production of some of our most vulnerable trees, including several native broadleaf species. For example, alder and birch have, historically, not grown well in peat-free media; trials are planned to understand the reasons and identify the best alternative growing medium for these species.

However, Forestry England has committed to end the purchase of peat-based growing media by the end of this Parliament, well in advance of the rest of the professional sector. In order to achieve this ambitious commitment, Forestry England is continuing to lead the way, actively testing and trialling the use of non-peat growing media alternatives and aiming to provide the wider sector with confidence in these alternatives. This is crucial to supporting these emerging products and supporting the phase out of peat from the wider industry as a whole.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to ban the sale of peat based compost in the horticulture sector; and if so, when.

In the 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, and on an ambitious date for the professional sector.

All Government departments and their related organisations must make sure that they meet the minimum mandatory Government Buying Standards when buying goods and services. We also encourage the wider public sector to specify the minimum mandatory standards in tenders.

The relevant buying standards for horticultural products can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-procurement-the-gbs-for-horticulture-and-park-services and include a mandatory requirement not to purchase growing media containing peat.

Forestry England currently uses peat-based growing media only in strictly limited circumstances where there is no current alternative product and where it is necessary to continue production of some of our most vulnerable trees, including several native broadleaf species. For example, alder and birch have, historically, not grown well in peat-free media; trials are planned to understand the reasons and identify the best alternative growing medium for these species.

However, Forestry England has committed to end the purchase of peat-based growing media by the end of this Parliament, well in advance of the rest of the professional sector. In order to achieve this ambitious commitment, Forestry England is continuing to lead the way, actively testing and trialling the use of non-peat growing media alternatives and aiming to provide the wider sector with confidence in these alternatives. This is crucial to supporting these emerging products and supporting the phase out of peat from the wider industry as a whole.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the Republic of Ireland about illegal puppy breeding and smuggling.

The Government takes puppy smuggling and illegal dog breeding seriously. Now we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to manage our own pet travel and commercial importation rules. We continue to work closely with other countries and authorities, including Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in Republic of Ireland, to provide protection for those animals brought in by unscrupulous traders and to prevent the trade as much as we can.

The Government has a manifesto commitment to crack down on puppy smuggling. We are now making some significant changes to domestic law through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which includes measures to address puppy smuggling. The Bill was introduced in Parliament on the 8 June and second reading took place on 25 October. The Bill will progress through Parliament when parliamentary time allows.

While the UK Government cannot guarantee that other countries will adopt similar welfare standards to our own, we are able to encourage others to do so through membership of international organisations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will also continue its work to raise concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to counter puppy smuggling through the port of Belfast.

Defra is responsible for safeguarding animal welfare and biosecurity, including the commercial and non-commercial movement of cats, dogs and ferrets into Great Britain. However, pet travel is devolved, and we work with the devolved administrations to combat puppy smuggling.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DAERA) is the competent authority for Belfast Port.

The Government takes puppy smuggling seriously. We continue to work closely with our colleagues across the devolved administrations and non-governmental organisations to provide protection for those animals brought in by unscrupulous traders and to prevent the trade as much as we can.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the funding gap for the updating of the Ancient Woodland Inventory.

In the England Trees Action Plan (ETAP), we committed to update the ancient woodland inventory to cover the whole of England. The ETAP is our ambitious vision for trees in England, providing a framework for delivering our commitment to at least treble tree planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament, reflecting England’s contribution to meeting the UK’s overall target of planting 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament.

It is supported by over £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund, including the additional £124 million announced as part of the Net Zero Strategy, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation, and management – above and beyond what was promised in the manifesto.

For 2021/22, £250k will be used to map smaller ancient woodland sites of 0.25 hectares for Herefordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxford, Surrey, and will also specifically create a Long-Established Woodland layer for the whole of England. Plans for the next stage of the project in 2022/23 will be developed in the new year, with the support of Natural England, Woodland Trust, and local partners.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of English rivers have been assessed as being of a good ecological standard; and how has this percentage changed over the last three years.

The most recent full assessment of the ecological status of all water bodies in England was made in 2019, when 14% of rivers were reported at good ecological status. This proportion was unchanged from the previous assessment reported in 2016.

Pressures on our water environment have increased significantly in recent years, including due to population growth and climate change. The Environment Agency and Defra work together closely on addressing the pressures that prevent water bodies in England from meeting ‘good’ status. Improving water quality is a priority for the Government and we are committed to the ambition of the 25 Year Environment Plan supported by at least one legally binding water target in the Environment Bill.

Through regulation, enforcement, financial incentives and educational schemes, we are improving poor farming practices which lead to water pollution. Water improvement is also supported by significant funding from water companies, required in their statutory duties. In the current Price Review period (2020-25) they have committed £7.1 billion towards environmental improvements.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their response to the National Food Strategy: Part One report, published on 29 July.

Part One of Henry Dimbleby's independent review of the food system was published on 29 July 2020 and contained recommendations on trade and food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has already acted on these recommendations, with the announcement of the Covid Winter Support package on 8 November 2020 that ensured vulnerable households would not go hungry, and with announcements on trade last year, which included putting the Trade and Agriculture Commission onto a statutory footing.

The second and final report from the independent review of the food system was published on 15 July 2021. We would like to thank Henry Dimbleby and his team for their work over the last year examining our food system and the vital role it plays in all our lives.

We are considering the evidence Henry Dimbleby set out in both parts of his independent review, which will inform the Government’s Food Strategy that will be published in early 2022.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. We will also look to drive growth and innovation across the agri-food chain and set a direction for key players within the food system.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they estimate the cost to be of creating 30,000 hectares of woodland per year; and whether sufficient money has been allocated to meet these costs.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on 18 May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England in support of this, using more than £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

In the recently published Net Zero Strategy, we also announced we will boost the Nature for Climate Fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management - above and beyond what was promised in the manifesto.

Each hectare of woodland created has different costs depending on the condition of the site, the woodland design, location, and scale. On average, it is estimated that to plant and establish a hectare of woodland it costs landowners approximately £9,500-£12,500/ha, although some more complex delivery mechanisms may have higher associated costs.

We will continue to proactively monitor tree planting rates and take-up of grant schemes throughout this Parliament to ensure that funding allocated is both sufficient and maximizes the amount of woodland created and brought into effective management. Our goals can only be met through greater investment by the private sector in woodland creation and this means our grant offers will act to stimulate private investment, such as through payments for carbon captured by woodlands and building new markets for ecosystem services.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the promised £100 million of the UK Seafood Fund they will spend supporting (1) the UK fishing industry, and (2) the communities around the industry.

Thus far, £24 million of the £100 million UK Seafood Fund has been allocated to the Science and Innovation pillar, which includes the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme and the Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF). The Infrastructure and Skills and Training pillars will be announced in due course.

FISP will support the seafood industry to work jointly with scientists to gather new data to manage the UK’s fish stocks more sustainably, gather new data on gear selectivity and build a better understanding of the ecosystem benefits and impacts of Aquaculture.

SIF will fund projects that develop innovative ideas and technologies, such as new biodegradable packaging for chilled fish and seafood to reduce single-use plastics.

The UK Seafood Fund has been set up specifically to support the UK seafood industry. The Infrastructure pillar will prioritise applications from coastal communities and the most deprived areas across the four nations while Skills and Training will invest directly in the workforce which make up the communities built around the industry.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the promised £100 million of funding for the UK Seafood Fund they have allocated.

Thus far, £24 million of the £100 million UK Seafood Fund has been allocated to the Science and Innovation pillar, which includes the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme and the Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF). The Infrastructure and Skills and Training pillars will be announced in due course.

FISP will support the seafood industry to work jointly with scientists to gather new data to manage the UK’s fish stocks more sustainably, gather new data on gear selectivity and build a better understanding of the ecosystem benefits and impacts of Aquaculture.

SIF will fund projects that develop innovative ideas and technologies, such as new biodegradable packaging for chilled fish and seafood to reduce single-use plastics.

The UK Seafood Fund has been set up specifically to support the UK seafood industry. The Infrastructure pillar will prioritise applications from coastal communities and the most deprived areas across the four nations while Skills and Training will invest directly in the workforce which make up the communities built around the industry.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the latest cost-benefit analysis of the impact of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on (1) the UK fishing industry, and (2) coastal communities.

The UK now has greater shares of fishing quota under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), and more fishing quota available than last year. The total value of EU-UK fishing opportunities for the UK in 2021 is approximately £333 million – an increase of around £27 million on last year.

The Marine Management Organisation has recently published analysis of the quota share uplifts gained during the TCA. In November, the Government will publish a summary of UK fishing opportunities in 2021, which is the outcome of both the TCA quota share uplifts and the annual fisheries negotiations.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that public sector food procurement policies give priority to locally sourced food.

We want the public sector to lead by example, championing local food and farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), high production standards and sustainable produce.

We have a manifesto commitment to encourage the public sector to buy British, to support our farmers and reduce environmental costs. To help meet this commitment, we will be consulting on proposals to strengthen the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services early in 2022. The consultation will seek views on ways to promote greater take-up of local produce and make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.

We are also working across Government to identify and trial new approaches to public food procurement. This includes a pilot in collaboration with Crown Commercial Service, aimed at simplifying the route into the public sector for local and sustainable SME businesses. If successful, the approach will be rolled out nationally, extending opportunities to local food producers from all regions and nations of the UK.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations Brexit Balance Sheet, published on 30 September.

Now we have left the EU, we have taken back control of our waters, and we will always work hard to deliver sustainable and viable fishing opportunities for fishers across the UK.

We have greater shares of fishing quota, and the total value of UK-EU fishing opportunities for the UK in 2021 is approximately £333 million – an increase of £27 million on last year.

We have agreed a quota exchange mechanism and recently announced the first investment from our £100 million UK Seafood Fund to boost science and innovation in the industry.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will end the use of cages for animals reared on British farms.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare. We are delivering a series of ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare which was published in May this year. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare and as an attachment to this answer. One of the ways we wish to improve the welfare of farm animals is strengthening protections against animal confinement.

We have a strong track record for raising the bar when it comes to animal welfare. We want to improve and build upon that record and are currently exploring the options around introducing further cage reforms, in areas such as the use of farrowing crates for pigs and cages for laying hens. Ending the use of cages would have a significant impact on some sectors of the farming industry and so we would need to consult.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reported falls in farm incomes; and what steps they are taking to tackle the financial hardship experienced by small farmers.

The Government continues to monitor farm incomes. In the short term, farm incomes are sensitive to food prices and input costs, such as fertiliser prices, as well as exchange rates. Real output prices for grains, beef, lamb, poultry, and milk are at or above recent averages. However, real prices for fertiliser and feed are up significantly, whilst fuel price and wage data are largely within historic norms. We will continue to monitor the situation.

The Government has also considered the medium-term trajectory of farm incomes. This has included publishing a comprehensive evidence compendium, updated in September 2019. This set out the impacts of removing Direct Payments, including analysis by sector, location in England and type of land tenure. It also provided analysis on how farm businesses, across all sectors, can offset the impact of Direct Payments. We are planning to publish further analysis by the end of this year. This will analyse farm incomes and how these will change between now and the end of the Agricultural Transition.

Over the last 12 months, average output prices have risen faster than average input costs across UK farms. Data released on Thursday 21 October shows a 12.7% increase in output prices in the year to August 2021 - set against an 11.8% rise in input costs. Data on farm incomes are lagged and largely pre-date this period of output prices rising faster than input prices. Our most recent data for England shows that in real terms, farming incomes fell by 11% between 2018/19 and 2019/20. New data on farm incomes will be available in November.

We are designing our farming reforms in collaboration with those who work in agriculture, considering their personal and business resilience issues. In August, we launched the Interim Phase of the Future Farming Resilience fund; a £10.7m grant funding project that will provide resilience support to farmers and land managers in England, to help them prepare for the Agricultural Transition period.

The Agricultural Transition Plan sets out how we will maintain the same level of investment for farmers in England, which is £2.4 billion a year across this parliament. We will reinvest money saved by reducing Direct Payments into improved and new environment schemes and schemes which will help farmers get their businesses ready for the transition. These will include grants to invest in productivity measures, support to new entrants, supporting farmer-led innovation and improving farm resilience.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle the estimated 500,000 job vacancies across the food and drink sector.

Defra is working closely with the food and drink sector to understand labour demand and supply, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements.

The Seasonal Workers Pilot was expanded for 2021, from 10,000 to 30,000 visas, granted for workers to come to the UK for a period of up to six months to work in the edible horticulture sector.

Although pilot numbers have increased, it is not designed to meet the full labour needs of the horticultural sector. This workforce boost will complement the workers already resident in the UK and looking to take up farm work during the busy harvest months, following in the footsteps of those who took up positions last summer to help keep the nation fed despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the current exceptional circumstances, up to 5500 poultry workers and 5000 HGV drivers transporting food and fuel will be able to enter the UK for work in the lead up to Christmas 2021. This is a temporary, emergency measure. 800 pork butchers will also be able to enter and work in the UK for a period of six months. This additional temporary adjustment is in addition to foreign butchers already being eligible since January 2021 to apply to come to the UK through the Skilled Worker Route as part of the point-based immigration system.

In 2021 and beyond, businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.3 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Government is encouraging all sectors, including the food and drink sector, to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and to invest in automation technology.

To help with these efforts, Defra is working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and drink sector among UK workers.

All food and drink sector businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through the Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies. DWP does not charge for this service and it is available across the United Kingdom.

Defra also welcomes the Ministry of Justice’s work on the Release On Temporary Licence scheme for work across a number of sectors, including the food and drink sector. The scheme aims to help prisoners gain useful skills and work experience as they approach their release.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government into what fund the fines levied against Southern Water by (1) Ofwat on 25 June 2019, and (2) the Environment Agency on 9 July, were paid; and what consideration they have given to using this money to make reparations for the environmental damage caused by the company.

On 9 July 2021, Southern Water was handed a record £90 million fine after pleading guilty to thousands of illegal discharges of sewage which polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex. This court ordered fine, the largest ever imposed on a water company, is absolutely appropriate and welcomed. It will rightly be paid solely from the company's operating profits, rather than customer bills.

In accordance with Managing Public Money (the official guidance on government handling of finance), fines and penalties income are surrendered to the Consolidated Fund. The Consolidated Fund receives the proceeds of taxation and other government receipts which fund public expenditure.

In June 2019, Ofwat imposed a penalty package on Southern Water of £126 million for spills of wastewater into the environment from its sewerage plants and for deliberately misreporting its performance. Of the £126 million Ofwat penalty package, £3 million was paid as a fine, while the remaining £123 million was to be reimbursed to customers. Southern Water customers received a £17 rebate in 2020/21 and can expect a £11 rebate in each of the following four years.

The Government is committed to improving the water environment. On 22 July, the Government and water regulators set out an ambitious programme of reform to build back greener from the pandemic through the review of the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP). The amended WINEP will deliver greater environmental benefits for every pound invested by companies.

From 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the environment. This includes the £5.2 billion invested through WINEP.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much Amazon has paid in charges under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 in each of the last three years.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 place certain obligations on Amazon as a producer and distributor of household electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

As a UK-based producer Amazon pay an annual registration fee of £750 to the Environment Agency. Amazon meet their wider financial obligations as a UK based producer via membership of a Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS) approved by the Environment Agency. The amount charged to Amazon by their PCS for discharging obligations to finance their share of annual targets for collection, treatment, recycling, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of household WEEE is a commercial matter between the two businesses and is therefore not held by the Government.

Amazon also has take-back obligations under the regulations in respect of their role as a seller of equipment directly to household consumers. Amazon discharge that obligation via membership of the Distributor Takeback Scheme approved by the Secretary of State under the WEEE Regulations. In total, the DTS has raised nearly £1.8 million over the past three years. This money is used to fund Local Authority projects aimed at improving their collection infrastructure to ensure more electricals are being properly reused or recycled. For larger organisations, the fee is based on their volume of unit sales across the different categories of electrical equipment. The amount charged to individual businesses is not published.

The Government plans to consult on reforms to the WEEE Regulations later this year and will seek views on placing new responsibilities on Online Market Places.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice the Environment Agency has given Amazon about the need to (1) separate, (2) re-use, and (3) recycle, unwanted stock.

We are aware of the recent news regarding Amazon and the alleged destruction of unsold stock and are closely monitoring the situation.

Businesses that handle waste, including companies like Amazon, are obliged to follow the waste hierarchy, under our Waste Regulations 2011, which requires action to prevent waste as the priority option. Failure to meet the legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to apply these steps can lead to enforcement action from the Environment Agency in England. Waste is a devolved matter and SEPA is the regulator in Scotland.

The Government recently consulted on its draft Waste Prevention Programme. The consultation document outlined the potential for, and benefits of, action on waste prevention and sets out the actions that the Government intends to take. It recognised that action is required across society – by government, businesses, local authorities, consumers and others - for progress to be made. Responses to the consultation are currently being analysed.

The Government also plans to consult on reforms to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations later this year. Amongst a number of issues, we will seek views on placing new responsibilities on Online Market Places such as Amazon and reviewing existing obligations placed on retailers to ensure they play their part in maximising collections of unwanted electricals for re-use and recycling. We also want to gather views on ways in which we can make it easier for all businesses with unwanted electricals to return them under a system of producer responsibility that respects the waste hierarchy.

The Environment Agency has had no direct contact to date with Amazon over destroying, separating, re-using, or recycling unwanted stock.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Environment Agency is taking to prevent Amazon destroying unsold stock.

We are aware of the recent news regarding Amazon and the alleged destruction of unsold stock and are closely monitoring the situation.

Businesses that handle waste, including companies like Amazon, are obliged to follow the waste hierarchy, under our Waste Regulations 2011, which requires action to prevent waste as the priority option. Failure to meet the legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to apply these steps can lead to enforcement action from the Environment Agency in England. Waste is a devolved matter and SEPA is the regulator in Scotland.

The Government recently consulted on its draft Waste Prevention Programme. The consultation document outlined the potential for, and benefits of, action on waste prevention and sets out the actions that the Government intends to take. It recognised that action is required across society – by government, businesses, local authorities, consumers and others - for progress to be made. Responses to the consultation are currently being analysed.

The Government also plans to consult on reforms to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations later this year. Amongst a number of issues, we will seek views on placing new responsibilities on Online Market Places such as Amazon and reviewing existing obligations placed on retailers to ensure they play their part in maximising collections of unwanted electricals for re-use and recycling. We also want to gather views on ways in which we can make it easier for all businesses with unwanted electricals to return them under a system of producer responsibility that respects the waste hierarchy.

The Environment Agency has had no direct contact to date with Amazon over destroying, separating, re-using, or recycling unwanted stock.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reverse the decline in cheese exports to the EU.

The deal that we achieved with the EU based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, provides cheese and other dairy producers with the certainty that they require to continue trading with the EU.

The lower level of cheese exports to the EU for the start of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, needs to take account of a unique combination of factors. These include the impact of reduced demand in the EU due to Covid-19 lockdowns and businesses adjusting to a new trading relationship. The decline has also been partly balanced by a significant increase of cheese exports to the EU towards the end of 2020 compared with previous years. Provisional HMRC 2021 data on cheese exports volumes in February also indicates a notable improvement on January. This is in line with the larger recovery from the initial disruptions to overall agri-food exports between January and February.

We are providing a range of support to help businesses adjust to our new trading arrangements with the EU and to seize the fantastic opportunities to trade around the world. The majority of businesses are adapting well to the new requirements. Our focus is now on making sure that any business that is still facing challenges gets the support they need.

The Government is also stepping up delivery of its manifesto commitment to build demand and promote British food both home and abroad. We are working with the sector to raise domestic and international awareness of the UK’s reputation for high-quality food and drink produced to high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability. This will provide a catalyst for growth for all regions of the UK and increase global recognition of the UK as an innovative food nation.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to ban the sale of horticultural garden peat; and if so, when.

We are committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England. The biggest user of peat is the amateur sector, and this is an important part of our policy focus. We signalled to the industry that if we have not seen sufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020, then we would look at further measures that could be taken. We are working towards publishing a formal consultation this year on further measures to end the use of peat in horticulture.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the deadline of January 2026 for the registration of new public rights of way under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

Defra intends to lay legislation this year to streamline the process of recording and changing rights of way. A deadline for recording unrecorded historic rights of way will be brought into force which will finalise the legal record of rights of way. This will bring about certainty for users and landowners about where rights of way exist.

Whilst the cut-off date is currently 2026, this could be extended by regulation for a maximum of five years. Defra is working closely with stakeholders to understand different views and will take these views, along with the delays which this project has experienced, into account when reaching a decision.

After the cut-off date it will still be possible to record newly created rights of way on to the definitive maps.

14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the farm trials taking place to prepare for the implementation of the Agriculture Act 2020 are focused on improving public access to the countryside.

To support the development of the future environmental land management schemes, we are undertaking a number of tests and trials. We are working with a range of stakeholders to facilitate the tests and trials, including farmer groups, representative bodies and non-governmental organisations. Six tests and trials are focusing on access; details on each are provided below.

  • Kent Downs AONB, Enhancing access opportunities

The Kent Downs AONB is working with two farmers and land manager groups to enhance access to landscapes and nature for public benefit and co-develop a template of practical ways that the future schemes can support better and more diverse access. Local trusted experts will be used to work with farmers and land managers and their representative organisations and explore existing best practice; experts in access health and wellbeing will be involved to understand benefits and barriers. This test will run until June 2021.

  • National Trust, Payments for Outcomes

The National Trust have produced a manual of outcome-based measures, for a ‘payments for outcomes’ scheme. It focused on upland priority habitats, pollinator health and soil health. It reviewed and refined these measures considering lessons learned to date, drawing on current work on natural flood management, public access and historic and landscape features in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The test has now concluded.

  • Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels Catchment Partnership, Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels Land Management Pilot

The Cuckmere and Pevensey Level Catchment Partnership is a well-established partnership which brings together 55 different farmers, the local authorities, the water board, artists, and other stakeholders in the area. The trial developed a landscape scale plan for the Cuckmere and Pevensey Catchment with a wide range of partners, including local planning authorities, farmers and the local community, aimed at delivering public goods including access. The plan was then used to develop farm holding management plans. The trial has now concluded.

  • The Trails Trust, How to incentivise green infrastructure access and biodiversity creation

The Trails Trust is exploring the opinions and potential solutions to creating, upgrading and maintaining infrastructure networks. The trial will involve 50 farmers and land managers; facilitators will examine existing data to identify access opportunities on the farmers’ holdings. The trial aims to identify barriers to delivering access; potential solutions, including incentives and mechanisms; what payment levels and mechanisms would be required to enable collaboration across holdings; how could access be included as part of a land management plan. The test is due to conclude in June 2021.

  • South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Farm Clusters

The South Downs National Park Authority held a series of workshops to identify the format of land management plans; what outcomes should be prioritised; what advice farmers and land managers require; and what role farm clusters could play in scheme design and delivery. This test concluded in December 2019. In the final report, public access was cited as an area where farmers and land managers may require specialist advice.

  • Forestry Commission, Urban Woodland Creation

The Forestry Commission’s Urban Woodland Creation test seeks to develop and test a support package aimed at encouraging community woodland creation and the management of urban community woodland. The test will focus on establishing what public goods can be delivered by urban and peri-urban forestry; assessing the benefits of public engagement and access; and testing methods, activities and payment mechanisms for planting and managing trees and woodland in an urban and peri-urban setting. The test is due to conclude in May 2021.

14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether payments made under the pilot Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme will reward initiatives to support public access to the countryside.

We are piloting the Sustainable Farming Incentive in order to test how it works in practice, learn from that and apply what we learn in future phases of the pilot and the full scheme offer from late 2024.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme is based on sets of standards covering different activities producing desired environmental benefits. In the first phase of the pilot we are working with the first 8 standards that have been developed and will add to these over the course of 3 years of piloting.

We are exploring the development of a standard covering public access to the countryside. The current Countryside Stewardship offer is open now to applications and includes options supporting public access to the countryside.

14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the first date by which farmers can receive payments for improving public access and enjoyment of the countryside as set out in the Agriculture Act 2020.

The Agriculture Act allows us to introduce schemes that reward farmers and land managers for providing public goods, including access to and engagement with the environment.

In addition to Countryside Stewardship, open now to applications for 2022, we are introducing three schemes that do this: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme.

An early version of the Sustainable Farming Incentive is being progressively rolled out from 2022, with full offers of all three new schemes being available from 2024.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Dogs Trust Puppy Smuggling, published on 4 December 2020; and what steps they are taking to address the illegal trade in puppies.

Defra takes the abhorrent trade in puppy smuggling seriously. We operate a rigorous pet-checking regime, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency works collaboratively with other agencies and bodies to share intelligence, disrupt illegal imports and seize non-compliant animals.

The end of the transition period has created new opportunities for cracking down on puppy smuggling, and in line with our manifesto commitment the Government is considering a range of options. These options will take into consideration the results from our latest disease risk assessments for GB, the recommendations of stakeholders such as the British Veterinary Association and Dogs Trust, and recent Parliamentary work from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the report by Amanda Blanc Independent Review of Flood Insurance in Doncaster, published on 14 April 2020, which found that flood risk insurance is not available to households that need it most.

The Independent Review of Flood Insurance in Doncaster was published on 5 November 2020. The report examined the level of insurance cover held by those affected in Doncaster, the barriers they may have faced in obtaining cover and whether there are any systemic issues in the provision of flood insurance.

The report identifies that 95% of homeowners were able to confirm that they had both buildings and contents insurance that covered flood risk. This compares with 94% of households at risk of flooding in Defra’s national looking at the availability and affordability of flood insurance. This shows the sustained availability of home insurance for homeowners, especially in this area of high flood risk. The report signals that around 7% of insurance policies held by Doncaster homeowners did not cover floods and 45% of tenants said they did not have contents insurance.

The reviewer made 12 recommendations addressing the accessibility and affordability of flood insurance, which government is considering and will respond in due course.

Research has found that since the launch of the joint government and industry initiative Flood Re in 2016, availability of flood insurance has increased. Around 96% customers with prior flood claims can now get five or more quotes from insurers ad four out of five householders with a prior flood claim saw price reductions of over 50%. More than 300,000 properties have benefitted since the Scheme’s launch.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Interim Office of Environmental Protection will be able to receive complaints and issue provisional decisions in advance of its statutory empowerment.

The Interim Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will be able to receive complaints from members of the public about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law, as the Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat has been doing since 1 January 2021.

The Interim OEP will check the complaints it receives to determine if they will fall within the remit of possible investigation by the OEP once it is established as a legal body. This will involve, for example, establishing whether a complaint concerns compliance with environmental law by a public authority. On the basis of this assessment the Interim OEP will make and issue provisional decisions on this question of whether complaints will fall within the OEP’s statutory remit, informing complainants and the relevant public authorities.

The Interim OEP will not be able to take any formal decisions or enforcement action pending the necessary legislative provisions taking effect. However, as part of its work before it has statutory powers, the Interim OEP may enter into dialogue with specific authorities about complaints against them. It will be for the Interim OEP, once its Board has been appointed and assembled, to determine how to approach this.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what compensation is available for perishable foods in just-in-time supply chains which have been delayed at the EU border and had to be destroyed as a result.

The Seafood Disruption Support Scheme provided support to seafood businesses exporting highly perishable fresh and live seafood which lost value or were destroyed as a result of export delays in January. The scheme closed on 28 February. The Marine Management Organisation is assessing claims and will make payments during March.

We are working closely with traders to identify and unblock issues as quickly as possible to avoid the need for disposal.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated timetable for producing electronic certification to replace paper documentation for foodstuffs being exported from the UK to the EU.

The majority of export health certificates have been digitised so can be completed online and they are now hosted on EHC Online, replacing the manual process that was previously required to request and certify a certificate. Further progress in the digitisation of EHCs will be made later this year with electronic signatures and the removal of Crown Gold paper being phased within EHC Online. As part of the broader strategy for 2025, we want to work towards full end to end development of electronic signatures and certificates, including the exchange of these with trading partners' IT systems.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the required official veterinarians have been recruited to ensure that food standards border checks on products of animal origin can be maintained.

When the next phase of border controls start from 1 April 2021, Defra estimates that we will have 100% of the required OVs in place.

Defra has provided £14m funding to local authorities in England to support Port Health Authorities (PHAs) with the recruitment and training of over 500 new staff, including Official Veterinarians, to conduct the new checks on EU imports of animal products, including physical checks. The readiness team in DEFRA continue to engage regularly with all PHAs who have received funding to provided support on isolated challenges and ensure that this funding is used as effectively as possible.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban the live export of animals for consumption overseas.

Leaving the European Union has enabled us to take a major step forward in delivering on our commitment to end excessively long journeys for animals going for slaughter or fattening.

We are currently consulting in England and Wales on proposals to end the unnecessary practice. This is a key priority for the Government, and we hope to have legislation in place by the end of the year.

The consultation period closes on 25 February 2021. Further details can be found at the document attached.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £23 million promised for the fishing industry affected by disruption following the UK’s departure from the EU has so far been distributed.

The Government has provided up to £23 million to deliver the Seafood Disruption Support Scheme. This will provide financial support to seafood businesses that have experienced a verifiable loss due to disruption during the movement of goods to the single market. The scheme opened for applications on 9 February and will close on 28 February, after which we will begin communicating the outcome of applications to applicants and processing payments. Data on the amount of funding distributed through this scheme will therefore not be available until mid to late March.

Drawing on the existing £23 million, the Government announced enhanced support on 21 February to provide cash grants for more fishing and shellfish aquaculture businesses affected by a reduction in demand from the hospitality sector in the UK and abroad.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their report Landscapes Review, published in September 2019, what plans they have to introduce a National Landscape Service.

The independent Landscapes Review, led by Julian Glover, set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The Landscapes Review included recommendations for long-term structural changes, such as creating a new National Landscape Service and changing National Park and AONB statutory purposes, that would require legislation were they to be taken forward.

We are taking time to consider carefully the recommendations and working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the statutory instrument to protect peatlands will be laid before Parliament; and whether it will be subject to the affirmative procedure.

We intend to lay the relevant statutory instrument as soon as parliamentary time allows. It will be subject to the negative procedure.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish further details of the National Pilot for Environmental Land Management Schemes for farm support.

We will be publishing more information about how we will be piloting the new environment schemes in spring 2021. Around that time, we will be inviting expressions of interest from farmers who want to take part in the first phase of piloting covering the Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme. Following that call for interest, around 1,000 farmers will be invited to join piloting in early summer.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional funds are being allocated for agricultural research and development; and how applications for such funds will be administered.

As part of green growth, the Government is committed to investing in research and development to unlock innovation and drive up agricultural productivity, whilst enhancing the environment and helping the sector achieve net zero carbon emissions.

As highlighted in the recently published Agricultural Transition Plan, we will build on previous R&D funding, such as the £160m 2013 Agri-tech Strategy and the £90m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund 'Transforming Food Production' initiative, to provide additional investment. This will be administered through a new R&D funding package for England as part of proposed productivity measures to stimulate innovation and boost sustainable productivity in agriculture.

Application guidance will be published prior to scheme launch, including a summary of application deadlines, funding criteria, timetable and themes. Competitions are expected to open in early 2022, with communication to farmers and growers in advance, and projects are expected to begin later that year.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to announce the 2021 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs budget allocations for national parks.

The Government announced some £75m of funding to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as part of the 2020 Spending Review. Defra is currently finalising its business planning for 2021/22 and will inform national parks of their individual budget allocations shortly.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to bring forward legislation to increase penalties for animal cruelty.

The Government remains committed to animal welfare and fully supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. This will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Chris Loder MP on 5 February and Committee stage took place on 3 February. The Government will continue to support it as it makes its way through Parliament.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Climate Change Committee Sixth Carbon Budget, published on 9 December 2020, what plans they have to plant 440,000 hectares of mixed woodland by 2035.

We are considering the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) advice ahead of setting the sixth carbon budget in legislation this summer. It is right that we take time to consider the recommendations carefully and in full. We have committed to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025 – in line with CCC advice. We are also considering whether setting longer-term statutory targets for trees in England would be appropriate. To help meet our commitments we announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to increase planting in England over this parliament and will publish a new England tree strategy in the spring.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any hauliers carrying live exports of animals have been held up at the UK borders as a result of the UK's departure from the EU; and what welfare provisions they have put in place to protect any such live exports.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has not been advised of livestock or horses being held up at the UK border.

For an export consignment of live animals to be approved a completed contingency plan must be submitted by the haulier to APHA. These plans include the details of welfare provisions that have been put in place by the individual transporter.

There have been no ‘Journey Logs for Exports’ approved since the UK’s departure from the EU.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the fishers on the distant fishing fleet are eligible for the financial support for fishing businesses that export to the EU, announced on 19 January.

The £23 million announced for the fishing industry will provide financial support towards verifiable losses incurred by seafood exporting businesses that are registered in the UK. We will assist such businesses with losses that occur during movement of live and fresh seafood goods from the UK to the EU due to events outside their control. Fishers on the distant fishing fleet who meet the scheme conditions may be eligible for funding. Each application will be individually reviewed and assessed against the scheme criteria.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the distant fishing fleet can continue to operate.

The Fisheries Framework Agreements secured with Norway and the Faroe Islands provide for annual negotiations on fishing opportunities and access. The UK’s bilateral negotiations for fishing opportunities in 2021 with the Faroes Islands have commenced, whilst we expect bilateral negotiations with Norway to begin imminently.

The UK’s overriding priority in these negotiations is to agree the right deal, which is balanced in the best interests of the entire British fishing industry.

Ahead of the conclusion of those annual negotiations, the UK’s distant water fleet already has access to Norwegian waters to fish in the waters around Svalbard, by separate arrangement with the Norwegian authorities. The details of these opportunities were published on 14 January in the Secretary of State determination of fishing opportunities for British fishing boats covering the period to 31 March 2021.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to increase warehouse capacity for food being imported and exported between the UK and EU from 1 January 2021.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain based on strong domestic production and supply from a diverse range of sources. The availability of certain fresh seasonal produce, such a salad products imported from the EU may be temporarily impacted by reduced border flow rates but there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK. Many such products are short shelf-life and imported on a just-in-time basis, and increased storage capacity would not effectively mitigate this risk.

The UK Government has published on Gov.uk planning assumptions on border flows for imported goods at the end of the transition period.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920675/RWCS_for_our_borders_FINAL.pdf

To support the smooth flow of food goods across the border from January 2021 onwards, we have put in place traffic management mitigations such as Operation Brock, published the Border Operating Model which prioritises border flow in the early months of 2021, and worked with ports to provide additional inland sites for customs checks. The Government is carrying out ongoing work to help businesses and traders get ready for the 1 January including potential border disruption, this includes extensive engagement with agri-food supply chain stakeholders.

Changes to consumer food prices depend on several factors including agri-food import prices and currency exchange rates and energy prices. Many food sub-sectors are accustomed to short-term fluctuations in supply chain costs, and this does not necessarily translate into consumer price rises.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect to see price increases in salad goods imported from the EU from 1 January 2021; and, if so, how much they expect the rise in such prices to be.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain based on strong domestic production and supply from a diverse range of sources. The availability of certain fresh seasonal produce, such a salad products imported from the EU may be temporarily impacted by reduced border flow rates but there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK. Many such products are short shelf-life and imported on a just-in-time basis, and increased storage capacity would not effectively mitigate this risk.

The UK Government has published on Gov.uk planning assumptions on border flows for imported goods at the end of the transition period.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920675/RWCS_for_our_borders_FINAL.pdf

To support the smooth flow of food goods across the border from January 2021 onwards, we have put in place traffic management mitigations such as Operation Brock, published the Border Operating Model which prioritises border flow in the early months of 2021, and worked with ports to provide additional inland sites for customs checks. The Government is carrying out ongoing work to help businesses and traders get ready for the 1 January including potential border disruption, this includes extensive engagement with agri-food supply chain stakeholders.

Changes to consumer food prices depend on several factors including agri-food import prices and currency exchange rates and energy prices. Many food sub-sectors are accustomed to short-term fluctuations in supply chain costs, and this does not necessarily translate into consumer price rises.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what delays they expect to the import of fresh salad products from the EU from 1 January 2021; and what contingency arrangements they have put in place to keep any such delays to the minimum.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain based on strong domestic production and supply from a diverse range of sources. The availability of certain fresh seasonal produce, such a salad products imported from the EU may be temporarily impacted by reduced border flow rates but there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK. Many such products are short shelf-life and imported on a just-in-time basis, and increased storage capacity would not effectively mitigate this risk.

The UK Government has published on Gov.uk planning assumptions on border flows for imported goods at the end of the transition period.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920675/RWCS_for_our_borders_FINAL.pdf

To support the smooth flow of food goods across the border from January 2021 onwards, we have put in place traffic management mitigations such as Operation Brock, published the Border Operating Model which prioritises border flow in the early months of 2021, and worked with ports to provide additional inland sites for customs checks. The Government is carrying out ongoing work to help businesses and traders get ready for the 1 January including potential border disruption, this includes extensive engagement with agri-food supply chain stakeholders.

Changes to consumer food prices depend on several factors including agri-food import prices and currency exchange rates and energy prices. Many food sub-sectors are accustomed to short-term fluctuations in supply chain costs, and this does not necessarily translate into consumer price rises.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered the introduction of additional controls on the use of flea treatments for domestic pets to help prevent the contamination of rivers and waterways by insecticides.

Medicines containing imidacloprid and fipronil are accompanied by advice to users to keep treated animals out of watercourses for 2 to 4 days after treatment. If these measures are followed, it is expected that exposure to the environment should be negligible.

Due to concerns and uncertainties raised by previous research and monitoring data, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) commissioned research in 2019 to investigate the potential environmental exposure pathways for dog and cat flea and tick products, to assess the significance of the use of neonicotinoids (e.g. imidacloprid) and other parasiticides (e.g. fipronil) on the aquatic environment. This research is ongoing. In addition, the relevance of other sources and exposure routes of these parasiticides, which could be significant, is yet to be elucidated.

Pending the findings from this commissioned research, and other available evidence, currently we do not have any plans to change the existing regulatory controls on veterinary medicines, including the use of flea treatments for pets and the existing risk mitigation warnings, which protect animal health, human health and the environment.

The VMD is committed to continuing to consider the evidence to inform any policy decisions or other interventions such as reinforcing the message not to wash animals for the period stipulated.

28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps (1) they, and (2) the Environment Agency, are taking to ensure that surface water bodies in England meet a ‘good’ standard under the Water Framework Directive.

The Environment Agency (EA) and Defra work together closely on addressing the pressures that prevent water bodies in England from meeting 'good' status.

Through regulation, enforcement, financial incentives and educational schemes, we are improving poor farming practices which lead to water pollution. We are also working with water companies to tackle head-on, sewage discharge from storm overflows. A new Taskforce has been set up between Defra, the EA, Ofwat and water companies which will meet regularly and set out clear proposals to reduce the frequency and volumes of sewage discharges.

In 2019 the EA issued, monitored and enforced 4,263 water quality permits, protecting water quality. In the last five years the EA has undertaken 44 prosecutions against water companies, securing fines of £34 million. Since 2008 the EA made changes to over 300 abstraction licences that have returned 47 billion litres of water a year to the environment, improving river levels and flows.

Water improvement is also supported by significant funding from water companies, required in their statutory duties. In the current Price Review period (2020-25) they have committed £4.6 billion towards environmental improvements.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address (1) low pay among those living in rural areas, and (2) the gap in average earnings between those living in rural and urban areas.

There is no gap in median earnings between those living in rural and urban areas. Indeed, on a residence basis, in 2019 median gross annual earnings of £24,300 in predominantly rural areas were on a par with those in predominantly urban areas excluding London, which were £24,200.

Government policy is based on economic prosperity and helping people out of poverty wherever they live. The National Living Wage was increased by 6.2% to £8.72 per hour from 1 April 2020, above inflation and average earnings. Rates for younger workers were also increased. These increases were estimated to raise the pay of over 2 million workers across the UK.

Universal Credit promotes work as an effective route out of poverty. The Government has made significant investment to improve Universal Credit through the reduction in the taper rate from 65% to 63% in 2017, and an extra £1.7 billion a year put into Work Allowances by 2023/24, increasing them by £1,000 a year for working parents and disabled claimants from April 2019. This has put an extra £630 a year in the pockets of 2.4 million of the lowest paid households.

27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have conducted an environmental impact assessment of the disposal of single use face masks; and if so, what was the outcome of any such assessment.

We have not carried out an assessment on the environmental impact of the disposal of single-use face masks.

Face coverings required indoors are not the same as the single-use surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of their PPE. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Instead, the latest Government advice on face coverings provides instructions on how people can make and care for reusable face coverings at home using scarves or other washable textiles. This is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Reusable cloth face coverings are also available to buy from a wide range of retail outlets, including online.

The Government has published guidance on the disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish annual league tables of the performance of water companies in tackling leakage.

Water company performance data is already published annually on the Discover Water website at www.discoverwater.co.uk, including leakage, and companies provide data to the Environment Agency on water losses.

Our 2018 Water Conservation Report sets an ambitious target of 50% reduction in leakage by 2050, endorsing the industry’s existing commitment to this reduction. We will continue to hold the water industry to account on this and to support measures taken to reduce leakage.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the target date for the completion of the planting for the Northern Forest; and whether they are on target to meet that date.

As part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, we provided a kick-start investment of £5.7 million to support the Northern Forest Partnership (NFP) of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust. The partnership’s long-term ambition is to plant 50 million trees across the North. Our initial investment is funding at least 1.8 million new trees by 2022, and through further investment in tree planting in this parliament we will go above and beyond that.

We continue to work with the NFP to identify, develop and implement delivery plans to ensure new trees are planted in the places of greatest need and that these trees are well managed and maintained for current and future generations to enjoy.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 19 October (HL8726), whether the interim Office of Environmental Protection will have the resources to begin to investigate complaints prior to the granting of formal powers to do so when it is established in law.

Members of the public will be able to submit complaints about alleged failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law to Defra's interim environmental governance secretariat from the start of next year until the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) begins its statutory functions. The secretariat will assess complaints received against the criteria specified in the Environment Bill to determine if they will fall within the remit of possible investigation by the OEP.

The secretariat will have the resources to conduct these processes, interacting with the complainants and public authorities in question to gather further information where needed. It will assess the information received and pass it on to the OEP once established, so that the OEP can determine which complaints to consider further through the exercise of its legal functions including formal investigations and, where necessary, enforcement.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 19 October (HL8726), whether the Office of Environmental Protection will be granted additional resources to deal with any backlog of complaints occuring following the delay in its establishment.

As specified in the Environment Bill, the Secretary of State will provide the OEP with the resources that he considers reasonably sufficient to enable the OEP to carry out its functions. This will include consideration of what resources the OEP will need to handle complaints, including those passed to it from the interim arrangements. Defra will agree the OEP’s resourcing with HM Treasury through a budget that will be announced after the Environment Bill achieves Royal Assent.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 19 October (HL8726), what will be the status of environmental complaints involving the UK currently under consideration by the EU if they are unresolved when the transition period ends on 1 January 2021.

Unresolved environmental complaints that are currently under consideration can continue to be considered by the EU after the transition period. As specified in the Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, with limited exceptions the Commission will continue to be competent for administrative procedures initiated before the end of the transition period, and the EU Court of Justice will continue to have jurisdiction over such cases. In addition, the withdrawal agreement includes a further four years from the end of the transition period, during which the Commission may bring cases before the Court of Justice for alleged infringements of EU law that occurred before the end of the transition period.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 20 October (HL Deb, col 1471), what is the timetable for the consultation on the update to the UK National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides.

The revised UK National Action Plan or the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (NAP) is currently under ministerial review. The public consultation is due to be published in November. This will be a full public consultation lasting 12 weeks and we are actively encouraging a range of stakeholders to provide their views. All responses will be carefully considered.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides has conducted a review into the effectiveness of regulatory enforcement of pesticide spraying in fields adjoining residential areas.

The UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) has not conducted such a review.

Pesticides are only authorised for use in situations where scientific assessment finds that this will not harm human health, including that of local residents, and will not pose unacceptable risks to the environment. Those using pesticides are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment and to confine the application of the pesticide to the area intended to be treated. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) considers reports of non-compliance in line with its published enforcement policy.

Incidents in which people may have been affected by pesticides are monitored, including through work carried out by the National Poisons Information Service. HSE uses the intelligence gathered to inform decisions on enforcement priorities and the ECP regularly reviews the data produced.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the regulatory gap that would occur as a result of the Environment Bill not being enacted by 1 January 2021; and what steps they plan to take to ensure there is continuity in the transfer of EU protections into UK law during any such gap.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will make sure all existing EU environmental law continues to operate in UK law at the end of the transition period, providing businesses and stakeholders with certainty. We have a long history of environmental protection supported by a strong legal framework which predates membership of the EU, and we will safeguard and improve on this record.

As regards scrutiny of the implementation of environmental measures, the Government intends to bring the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) into operation in 2021. The delay to the Environment Bill due to Covid-19 means it will not be formally established by the beginning of the year. However, an interim secretariat will support the OEP Chair and will receive complaints about alleged failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law from the start of next year. This will be in place until the OEP can begin its statutory functions. Once established, the OEP will then be able to use its legal powers to investigate complaints reported to the interim team from 1 January 2021, and could take enforcement action against serious failures if necessary. As a result, there will be no gap in time where public authorities cannot be held to account.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect that the Office for Environmental Protection will be fully operational; and what its budget allocation will be from 1 January 2021.

The Government still intends to bring the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) into operation in 2021, but due to the pause in the Environment Bill’s passage and the wider context of Covid-19, we cannot yet confirm exactly when the OEP will start. We will implement transitional arrangements, with a secretariat to support the OEP chair currently being sought in a public appointment campaign. This will be in place from the start of next year until the OEP can begin its statutory functions.

Defra will agree with HM Treasury a budget that will be ring-fenced for each spending review period, giving the OEP greater certainty over its finances. The budget will be announced as soon as possible after the Environment Bill achieves Royal Assent.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include legally binding targets to restore populations of wild species to a 1970’s baseline, including binding interim targets, in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

Domestic biodiversity is a devolved matter in the UK. In England, our 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) marked a step change in ambition for wildlife and the natural environment. We are already taking steps to meet this ambition, including bringing forward the Environment Bill, investing in woodland expansion and peatland restoration, and developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental public goods.

We are exploring the use of powers in the Environment Bill to strengthen our commitments. The Bill requires us to set at least one biodiversity target in law, as set out in our recently published policy paper on environmental targets. The Government will also be required to set interim targets that set out the trajectory for progress and help to ensure the Government stays on track to achieve long-term targets.

For biodiversity, the objectives under consideration for targets include the populations of species in the wider countryside, alongside the condition of our protected sites, and habitats outside of protected sites. All targets will be based on scientifically credible evidence, as well as economic analysis, seeking advice from independent experts and stakeholders. The public will also have an opportunity to provide input. When developing targets, we will consider any relevant best practice and commitments, including new international biodiversity targets expected to be finalised under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) next year. We are not yet able to commit to the specific targets we will set or the metrics we will use. It would be premature to do so without further evidence gathering, public consultation and international processes.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK–Norway Fisheries Framework Agreement includes a guarantee that neither country will fish above the minimum sustainable yield, as set by UK scientists, from year one of the agreement.

The agreement enters in to force on 1st January 2021. It will require the Parties to cooperate to achieve the sustainable use of marine living resources. This will be underpinned by using the best scientific evidence available to both parties and the further requirement that due account is taken of the need to preserve marine biological diversity.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in reaching agreement between the devolved nations that Remote Electronic Monitoring will be enforced on all fishing fleets in UK waters.

We have launched a call for evidence on expanding the use of Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) on English registered vessels and other vessels operating in English waters. The call for evidence is available on GOV.UK and closes on 30 November.

The Government has been clear that we see benefits of expanding the use of REM, but we must develop the right policy for our industry and the marine environment.

Many of the objectives a REM programme could help to deliver are devolved matters, including control and enforcement and fisheries science. Defra will continue to work with the other administrations to make sure we have a coherent UK approach on REM but one that recognises the different needs of each administration.

19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to bring forward amendments which would include the World Health Organisation’s guideline air pollution limits in the Environment Bill.

Government is committed to tackling a diversity of pollutants which harm human health and the environment. We already have ambitious and statutory emission reduction ceilings in place for five key air pollutants, as well as legally binding concentration limits. However, the case for even more ambitious action on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is especially strong, as it is the pollutant that has the most significant impact on health.

The Environment Bill establishes a legally binding duty to set a target for PM2.5, in addition to a long-term air quality target. We are committed to setting challenging targets and following an evidence-based process, seeking advice from a range of experts, in addition to giving consideration to the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines. The targets will be set in secondary legislation at the end of this process. It would not be an effective approach to commit in primary legislation to achieving a target, without giving due consideration to its achievability and the measures required to meet that target. Stakeholders, Parliament and the public will have the opportunity to comment on, and input into, the process of developing this target.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have put in place for blind and partially sighted people to have priority for supermarket online delivery slots.

The Government has been working closely with local authorities, retailers, food businesses and charities to ensure that blind and partially sighted people have access to the food and essential goods that they need.

We have published guidance online that explains what steps people can take if they are unable to access food. This guidance has been shared with local authorities, retailers and charities to help them respond to enquiries from those seeking help. The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-accessing-food-and-essential-supplies.

Various sight loss charities are working directly with some of the major supermarkets to take forward some practical initiatives to help people with sight loss to access supermarkets.

This crisis has seen a surge in community spirit not seen in many decades, with grassroots support networks springing up all over the country. There are many local community groups who can help, as well as local shops which may be able to provide orders for delivery (by phone or by email). Many local authorities are now publicising such initiatives on their Covid-19 websites and through their Covid-19 helplines.

In addition, over 600,000 people are now registered as NHS Volunteer Responders. Verified volunteer responders can receive tasks to help those in their communities, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies. Health and care professionals and approved charities (including Citizens Advice and Age UK) are now able to refer vulnerable individuals into the system to receive support from volunteers.

Further, it is now possible for individuals to self-refer for assistance from the NHS Volunteer Responders, if they consider themselves to be vulnerable and in need of support.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 7 May (HL3400), what plans they have (1) to encourage more flexible and part time seasonal employment on farms, and (2) to encourage more British workers to apply for vacancies through the Pick for Britain scheme.

There are already a number of recruitment efforts under way by industry and we encourage as many people as possible to take up seasonal work on farms. We took the decision to allow thousands of furloughed staff to take additional jobs and top up their income.

We know people are signing up for extra work and we are working with industry to highlight these jobs and encourage recruitment. We are working with industry to encourage farmers, growers and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) licensed businesses with vacancies to add their websites to the Pick for Britain (PfB) website through the ‘Are you an employer’ page. We are also working with industry recruiters to encourage them to post vacancies on the GOV.UK Find A Job digital platform so farmers can access a broader number of jobseekers.

Jobs will continue to be added by these recruiters as more workers are needed and we will be working with industry to promote the PfB website throughout the summer. Further communications on PfB will be released based on the needs of the sector- this may include regional variations and targeting towards specific audiences such as students.

We are in regular contact with the industry and current sentiment is that labour demands are being met for May. But we will monitor this across the picking season and work with growers and industry to join up potential sources of labour, including highlighting the benefits of a diverse and flexible workforce.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many current seasonal farm workers are (1) Eastern European, and (2) UK recruits through the Pick for Britain scheme.

Defra does not hold details of the number of seasonal farm workers from eastern Europe versus those recruited through the Pick for Britain (PfB) scheme, but we understand that this year’s workforce is likely to be more diverse than in previous years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry tells us that demand for seasonal workers in May is currently being met, but we know that demand will rise from June onwards. A number of workers from within and outside of the UK have already been recruited and trained and will continue to work on our farms throughout the season.

There are already brilliant recruitment efforts underway by industry and there has been a strong response with thousands of British people expressing their interest in agricultural work in the upcoming months.

The PfB website acts as a central hub to signpost people to recruiters of seasonal agricultural workers and jobs will continue to be added to the website by these recruiters as more workers are needed. We will be working with industry to promote the PfB website throughout the summer.

We will continue to work closely with industry to ensure our food supply chain remains resilient and to help our world-leading farmers and growers access the labour they will need over the busy harvest months.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the UK’s negotiating position on a future fisheries agreement with the European Union.

The UK published its approach to fisheries negotiations on 27 February and has since published its draft Fisheries Framework Agreement legal text, as set out in a Written Ministerial Statement laid before the House on 19 May.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment will be made of the adequacy of their financial package of support for the dairy industry during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Government has continued to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain throughout this difficult period to assess the challenges facing the industry and to ensure that appropriate financial support is provided. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at or around the usual price. Approximately 5% of total milk production, however, goes to the service trade. A small proportion of farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a reduction in demand with the closure of food service. A small proportion of suppliers have therefore seen a reduction in demand. We have provided a range of support to help these affected farmers.

At the outset of the pandemic, the Government announced a number of emergency measures to support farmers, processors and retailers. These include designating the food sector as critical to the response, with people working in the production, processing, sale, distribution or delivery of food categorised as key workers and granting derogations on drivers’ hours limitations.

In addition, to support milk producers, the Government announced on 17 April a temporary easing of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This Statutory Instrument was laid on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April.

On 6 May we announced a new scheme specifically to provide support to eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May because of coronavirus disruptions. This will provide farmers with funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during the qualifying period, enabling them to continue to operate and to sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Defra and the devolved administrations are also jointly contributing towards financing the new £1 million campaign by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign is highlighting the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis.

Our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and processors. Responding to industry feedback on this scheme, Defra held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which applies to businesses operating in agriculture, ensures that the smallest businesses can access loans up to £50,000. To give lenders the confidence they need, we have provided them with a 100% guarantee on each loan and will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter continues to be available in the UK. Alongside this we have also ensured the availability to UK dairy processors of private storage aid for cheese, butter and SMP. These measures will help to underpin prices, providing a floor in the market by reducing the volume of product coming on to the market.

We will continue to engage with the dairy industry throughout this period of disruption to monitor the impact of the range of financial and other measures we have implemented, ensuring that the sector continues to have the support that it needs.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest estimate of the timetable for the conclusion of negotiations with the EU on fisheries.

Negotiations on a potential future fisheries agreement are ongoing after a brief pause due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The UK and EU have committed to use best endeavours to agree a new fisheries framework agreement by 1 July this year.

As negotiations progress the government will ensure that Parliament is kept updated.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to update Parliament on the progress of the talks with the EU on fishing access to UK coastal waters.

Negotiations on a potential future fisheries agreement are ongoing after a brief pause due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The UK and EU have committed to use best endeavours to agree a new fisheries framework agreement by 1 July this year.

As negotiations progress the government will ensure that Parliament is kept updated.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the timetable for distributing the £10 million of financial support for fishing businesses in England affected by COVID-19; and what additional resources will be made available to the Marine Management Organisation to ensure applications for the grants to fishers whose business has suffered market disruption are processed in a speedy manner. [T]

The Fisheries Response Fund (FRF) is the first part of a £10 million funding package for the English fishing and aquaculture industries which was launched into operation by Marine Management Organisation (MMO) within two hours of receiving approval on 20 April 2020. In the first nine days 1200 fishing businesses have been contacted, 750 have responded and so far 550 payments have been made direct into business’ bank accounts. To date a total of £2.3 million has been paid out under the fund with more payments continuing to be made each day.

The second part of the fund is a grants scheme, the Direct Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS), for projects that will support the sale of locally caught seafood in domestic markets as well as supporting the consumption of locally caught seafood. This scheme was launched on 29 April 2020 and will close on 11 May 2020. A panel of industry representatives will meet to review applications and MMO will announce the grants to be made from 15 May 2020.

MMO used its current resources to design and develop the processes for both funds within days of their announcement. MMO has trebled the size of its grants team (redeploying colleagues from other MMO teams) and extended its opening hours to include evenings and Saturdays to support applicants for both schemes and ensure payments are issued as quickly as possible.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that UK meat and dairy products are properly labelled from farm to fork.

In the UK we maintain high standards on information provided to consumers about their food, including the labelling of our high quality meat and dairy products. This is done through our legislation on the provision of food information and although food is a devolved matter, the same rules currently apply across all of the UK

The rules are based on the fundamental principle that information must not mislead consumers as to a food’s characteristics, including its place of provenance and method of manufacture or production. Rules on traceability are in place through various regulations such as General Food Law 178/2002 which require businesses to be able to identify from where they have received food and to where they have supplied it (‘one step forward and one step back’). It also requires food to be adequately labelled or identified to facilitate its traceability, including relevant documentation to support any claims about the food’s origin or characteristics later made to consumers.

Rules on the marketing of milk and milk products, including those which reserve dairy terms including “milk” and “cheese” specifically for the marketing of dairy products, are included in the Common Organisation of the Agricultural Markets (Regulation 1308/2013). Rules requiring origin labelling of fresh and frozen meat are included in our food information regime.

New rules were introduced across the UK in April of this year that require the origin of the primary ingredient of a food to be made clear to the consumer. The rules require that labels inform consumers if the country or place of origin of the primary ingredient of a food product is different to that of the origin stated, or implied, for the product as a whole, or at least a statement that the origin of the ingredient is different. This will further help UK consumers to identify whether foods have been wholly or only partly produced here in the UK. These rules augment existing legislation requiring the origin labelling of a range of foods including most fresh and frozen meats, the origin of which must be traceable under the regulations. There are no plans for information permitted or required on labels to change when the Transition Period ends.

Consumers are further informed about the provenance of their UK produced foods by a number of voluntary assurance schemes. Any such scheme or retailer providing such assurance must be able to show a proven chain of provenance supporting such claims.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage UK consumers to support UK farmers by buying their meat, dairy and vegetable products during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Half of the food that the UK population consumes is home-grown, once we take account of food production that is exported, and is renowned for its quality and high standards of food safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. 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.

The Government is aware that coronavirus represents a very significant challenge, affecting daily life and farming businesses up and down the country. We are supporting British farmers and the UK food and drink industry through this crisis and beyond.

We are working closely with the sector as they develop consumer-facing marketing campaigns. Specifically, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Dairy UK are launching a £1 million campaign, supported financially by Defra and devolved government partners, to encourage consumers to reconnect with milk.

Separately, Quality Meat Scotland, AHDB and Meat Promotion Wales have launched a £1.2 million ‘Make It beef’ campaign, aimed at showing consumers how they can recreate easy to cook restaurant-style meals with high-quality cuts, like steak.

We will continue to engage with and support similar initiatives that highlight the qualities of British meat, dairy, and vegetable products.

23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to recommending the re-opening waste and recycling centres to alleviate the increased incidence of fly-tipping on agricultural land.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We are aware of reports of an increase in fly-tipping and that, anecdotally, this may be a result of the closure of household waste recycling centres. However, this does not appear to be consistent across the country.

It is legal for household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) to remain open during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, we know that some local authorities are finding this challenging, which is why on 5 May Defra published some guidance to help local authorities do this.

We worked with industry, local authorities and other Government departments, including Public Health England, on developing the guidance which includes a section on workforce safety. The key principle of the guidance is that human health must be protected while maintaining safe systems of working. Social distancing must also be observed by both staff and visitors to HWRCs wherever possible. The guidance makes it clear that residents must only visit HWRCs if they cannot store safely at home the items they wish to dispose of.

The guidance was published this week after close consultation with the police. The guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-to-local-authorities-on-prioritising-waste-collections/managing-household-waste-and-recycling-centres-hwrcs-in-england-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage more flexible and part-time seasonal employment on farms in order to encourage more British workers to apply for the vacancies.

We know how important seasonal workers are to our farmers and we are aware of the impact that restrictions on travel from other countries, as a result of Covid-19, is having on the number of seasonal workers coming to work in the UK. We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people's plates over the summer months.

The Pick for Britain (PfB) website is a recently launched joint Defra and industry initiative to support this effort. The website acts as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available. It provides guidance and resources so growers, workers and industry can have a single place to go, available at https://pickforbritain.org.uk/. The website also provides links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The PfB website includes links to the Government’s ‘Find A Job’ website, giving access to a wide reach of potential applicants. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users and is available here: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/.

Our farmers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time. To help our farmers, industry Best Practice Guidance for employers of seasonal agricultural workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus has also now been published, which has been endorsed by Public Health England: https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing-farm-businesses.

23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that supplies of imported food are not delayed at UK ports.

The UK is working with national governments across the globe to ensure supply chains remain open and businesses have access to the information they need to keep goods moving. We have been monitoring the impacts of the coronavirus on supply chains from as many sources as possible, including our ongoing dialogue with business.

Defra and the Food Standards Agency have been developing a range of temporary easements for application in the UK for both intra-EU movements and third country imports to ensure that trade continues to flow during the Covid-19 outbreak. We consider that these temporary measures will not compromise biosecurity and public health. Separately, the European Commission has adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466 that provides a number of discretionary, temporary official control easements, some of which overlap with the ones we have been developing. We have written to Border Control Posts to confirm the temporary easements that can be put in place, and will keep these under review to ensure that trade continues without compromising biosecurity and public health.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the Pick for Britain initiative, which aims to fill vacancies on fruit and vegetable farms.

We know how important seasonal workers are to our farmers and we are aware of the impact that restrictions on travel from other countries, as a result of Covid-19, is having on the number of seasonal workers coming to work in the UK. We need to mobilise the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people’s plates over the summer months.

The Pick for Britain (PfB) website is a recently launched joint Defra and industry initiative to support this effort. The website acts as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available. It provides guidance and resources so growers, workers and industry can have a single place to go, available at https://pickforbritain.org.uk/. The website also provides links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The PfB website includes links to the Government’s ‘Find A Job’ website, giving access to a wide reach of potential applicants. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users and is available here: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/.

Our farmers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time. To help our farmers, industry Best Practice Guidance for employers of seasonal agricultural workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus has also now been published, which has been endorsed by Public Health England: https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing-farm-businesses.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support and guidance they have provided to local authorities, volunteer groups and supermarkets to ensure efforts to provide food to vulnerable people are coordinated.

We are working closely with other Government departments and Local Government representatives to provide a coordinating and supporting function to support local authorities, supermarkets and the voluntary and community sector to provide access to food to vulnerable people.

To date we have arranged for considerably more than 500,000 food parcels to be delivered to the most vulnerable and at risk. We are working with major retailers to prioritise delivery and click & collect slots for those who are most vulnerable and at risk. We have shared with supermarkets the details of those who have registered as extremely clinically vulnerable and needing to shield, and who need help accessing food. Supermarkets have matched these names against their own customer databases and offered people the option of priority access to online delivery. Most supermarkets are also offering prioritised delivery or click and collect slots to those they have identified as vulnerable from their own customer database.

We are working closely with local authorities, retailers, food companies and charities to enable those vulnerable people outside the most vulnerable and at risk to access food through a variety of ways, including: volunteers shopping for them, deliveries from local retailers and food companies, as well as accessing supermarkets for a priority delivery or click and collect slot.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is available to help support people who are struggling to access food. In addition to health and care professionals, a number of approved Voluntary and Community Services organisations are now able to refer vulnerable individuals into the system to receive support from the volunteers. And we have been supporting the NHS with working with retailers on payment solutions for paying volunteers.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the £304 million announced in the 2020 Budget for local authorities to improve air quality will be allocated, and what time period the fund covers.

The 2020 Budget allocated an additional £304 million to support delivery of the NO2 plan, bringing the total amount of funding committed to tackling NO2 to £880 million. This further funding covers the years 2020-2022 and will be used to support those local authorities identified in the NO2 plan to deliver and mitigate the impacts of measures to tackle exceedances of legal limits for NO2.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on imports of (1) wheat and (2) rice.

The Government has been regularly meeting industry and utilising our global diplomatic network to identify and monitor global supply issues across agricultural commodities, including wheat and rice. The Government is also engaged with the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), an international body established in the wake of the 2007/08 food price hike to promote policy dialogue and market transparency.

In addition, the UK made a joint statement with G20 Agriculture Ministers at the G20 Extraordinary Agriculture meeting to affirm the importance of the continued flow of food, products and inputs for agriculture and food production. To date, we have seen only a few small-scale export restrictions announced by our trading partners, some of which have already been eased. We are aware industry are currently facing logistical challenges sourcing basmati rice as an indirect consequence of COVID-19 restrictions in some countries and will continue to explore options to support them in the short and medium term. While there are challenges around basmati rice, other rice varieties are continuing to trade although at a higher price.

AMIS estimates suggest that global cereal production is currently close to historic highs and stocks of rice and wheat are considered to be at comfortable levels. We will continue to work closely with industry, the international community and across our network to monitor markets and respond to emerging issues as they arise.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the Budget 2020’s commitment to provide £304 million to help local authorities improve air quality, what assessment they have made of the likely annual reduction in overall nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) reduced by 33% from 2010-18[1] and we are projecting a further 12% reduction in emissions between 2018 and 2020[2], ensuring that we comply with the 2020 NOx emissions target under the Gothenburg Protocol. We are currently working with local authorities with the worst air pollution concentrations to ensure that they take robust action to accelerate air quality improvement. The financial commitment awarded in the Budget will provide local authorities with the funds to take the necessary action and support individuals and businesses that are impacted by local air quality plans.

[1] https://naei.beis.gov.uk/resources/Annex_I_Emissions_reporting_2020_GB_v2.0.xls

[2] https://cdr.eionet.europa.eu/gb/un/clrtap/projected/envxmo40w/index_html

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the Budget 2020's commitment to plant enough trees to cover an area the size of Birmingham over the next five years, how many trees they intend to plant in each financial year.

The Budget announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to increase tree planting in England. This will contribute to the UK-wide planting commitment of 30,000 hectares per year by 2025 set out in the Government’s manifesto. We are working with the devolved administrations to ensure we all deliver towards this UK commitment over this Parliament.

We have not set annual targets but are developing an ambitious programme to deliver the manifesto commitment. Working with key delivery partners and stakeholders, we are developing policies for a new English Tree Strategy, which we will consult on this spring.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of their plans to introduce a new Plastic Packaging Tax from April 2022, they will also introduce consistent national guidelines for the recycling of such packaging.

The Government is committed to increasing the amount of packaging collected for recycling. The Environment Bill, which is currently going through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons, includes legislation so that all collectors of waste must collect a core set of materials from households, businesses and other organisations such as schools. The core set of materials will be paper and card, plastic, metal, glass, food and garden waste. The core set will have to be collected separately from residual waste and the dry recyclable materials must not be mixed with food and garden waste. We will consult on the detail of the policy later this year. As stated in the Resources and Waste Strategy, we expect consistency in recycling to be in force from 2023.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their ability to deliver urgent repairs and upgrades to flood defences.

Following this winter’s flooding the Environment Agency (EA) is completing inspections of impacted assets and prioritising repairs to those assets that are below required condition. The COVID-19 outbreak may impact the EA’s ability to deliver the asset repair programme as quickly as planned, but it will continue to prioritise the repair of assets that pose the most significant risk to lives and livelihoods.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how Parliament will be informed of progress made in their negotiations with the EU on fishing rights.

On 20 December 2019 the Prime Minister, at the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Act, committed to keeping Parliament fully informed of the progress of negotiations.

11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following reports that the voluntary target to reduce the use of peat in horticulture will not be met, what plans they have to legislate for a ban on the use of such peat.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

We are working with the industry to make the transition to peat alternatives and to overcome barriers to their use. This includes, for example, jointly funding research with the industry on peat replacements in professional horticulture.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to deal with the containers of plastic waste returning to the UK from Malaysia; and how they intend to police any further offshore waste contracts.

The Government is deeply concerned about the illegal trade in waste, including reports of illegal plastic waste exported from the UK to Malaysia. Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste the Queen’s Speech on the 19 December included a commitment to ban the export of polluting plastic wastes to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Environment Bill includes a power which will enable us to deliver on this commitment and we will consult this year on the date by which this should be achieved. The Bill also includes a power to introduce electronic tracking of waste to help tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

The Environment Agency (EA), as competent authority of England, is overseeing the voluntary return of all 42 improperly documented containers of plastic waste from Malaysia and subsequent lawful recovery or disposal of the waste in the UK. Currently, 35 of the containers have already arrived in England and the remaining 7 are scheduled to be returned shortly. The return of these containers is being managed and financed by the parties involved in the original export to Malaysia as it is their responsibility.

In addition, the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is currently supporting the Malaysian government in tackling the wider plastic waste problem. This includes sharing UK experience as well as collaborating with the Malaysian government in developing a Malaysian version of a Plastics Pact (a cross stakeholder grouping) to drive more effective management of plastic and plastic wastes. My department and the British High Commission also facilitated a technical meeting in Kuala Lumpur between UK and Malaysian enforcement authorities to improve plastic waste export/import protocols.

Compliance with the legislation on waste shipments is monitored by the UK’s four environmental regulators[1]. In England in 2018/19 the EA inspected almost 1,000 shipping containers at ports and returned over 200 of those to sites. During this period, the EA also prevented 12,000 tonnes of waste from reaching ports which may have otherwise been exported illegally. Any operators found to be illegally exporting waste can face severe sanctions – from financial penalties to imprisonment for a period of up to two years.

[1] The Environment Agency in England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new trees have been planted in the UK in each of the last five years.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on new planting of woodland by area, but not by tree numbers, in the UK. These are Official Statistics produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Woodland area statistics can be found on the Forest Research web site together with background information at:

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics/

The area of new planting (woodland creation) for the UK in each of the last five years, taken from the published statistics (which are reported in hectares) is shown below.

Woodland Area (thousands of hectares)

Year (ending 31 March3)

New planting

UK

2014-15

10.30

2015-16

5.65

2016-17

6.51

2017-18

9.09

2018-19

13.40

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated value per annum of New Zealand lamb that will be imported to the UK as the result of the recent trade deal.

New Zealand is already able to export its lamb to the UK tariff free via a sizeable World Trade Organisation tariff rate quota. Usage of this quota has been declining, and in 2020 less than half of this quota was filled. It is therefore unlikely there will be an increase in lamb imports from New Zealand as a result of a new deal.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to scrutiny by Parliament. This will present the results of economic impacts of the agreement, including on UK sectoral output.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic impact of the trade deal with New Zealand on the Welsh lamb industry.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to scrutiny by Parliament. This will present the results of economic impacts of the agreement, including on UK sectoral output and employment. It will provide an assessment of the potential implications for the UK nations and English regions.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the National Farmers' Union about the impact on UK farmers of the recent trade deal with New Zealand.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has established an extensive engagement framework and has consulted regularly with the UK agricultural sector throughout the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with New Zealand.

Prior to the start of talks, the Government carried out one of the largest consultations ever undertaken to inform its approach to FTAs, including New Zealand. Throughout negotiations, the UK negotiating team has continued to closely consult experts, including in dedicated trade groups set up by DIT such as the Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs). The National Farmers Union (NFU) have formed part of these consultations throughout, and in May 2021 DIT Ministers held discussions with the NFU across the UK.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a framework for national food and farming standards against which any proposed Free Trade Deal could be measured, as proposed by the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

The Government published its response to the report of the Trade and Agriculture Commission on 21 October.

The Government response explicitly upholds and affirms the manifesto commitment to not compromise on the UK’s high food production, animal welfare and environmental standards for which our country is rightly renowned.

Our response makes clear that we will not pursue any trade deals that would undermine UK farmers unfairly or compromise these high standards and that all food imports must comply with our high standards. Nor will we put consumers at risk from unsafe food which does not meet those high standards.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of low emission zones as a means of tackling air pollution in urban areas.

The 2017 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) plan sets out the actions Government is taking to deliver compliance with legal limits for NO2 in the shortest possible time. This includes a national-level assessment of the potential impact of charging Clean Air Zones in achieving this objective.

As a result of the plan, Government continues to support a number of local authorities to produce local plans that identify and implement measures to tackle NO2 exceedances in their areas. These plans must be supported by suitable evidence to demonstrate the type of intervention required, and whether this needs to include a Clean Air Zone.

Local Authorities have existing powers to implement charging zones as a means of achieving air quality and other environmental objectives where they deem this to be appropriate.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the Budget 2020’s commitments on electronic vehicle charging infrastructure and consumer incentives for ultra-low emission vehicles, what assessment they have made of the likely annual reduction in overall domestic transport emissions.

The Budget 2020 commitments are an integral part of our strategy for decarbonising road transport. The commitments are a key part of a package of measures that will enable a mass transition to zero emission vehicles and see the carbon emissions from road transport reduce between now and 2050. The benefits of this funding from a climate change perspective go considerably further than the direct emissions savings generated by the resulting higher short-term uptake of zero emission vehicles.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents of adverse impacts from exposure to pesticides have been considered by the Health and Safety Executive, in each of the last three years.

The Health and Safety Executive has investigated a number of cases related to the use of plant protection products notified to their Concerns and Advice Team or through the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Year

Number of cases investigated by HSE

2019-20

23

2018-19

47

2017-18

49

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents of adverse health impacts from exposure to pesticides have been reported to the National Poisons Information Service by (1) trained operatives, and (2) members of the public, in each of the last three years.

The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) provides advice to health professionals across the United Kingdom on the management of poisoned patients. Since 2004, the NPIS has conducted a pesticide surveillance study, collecting data on all pesticide exposures for which they are notified in the UK. NPIS annual reports describe the incidence and character of pesticide exposures in the UK that result in contact with health professionals. Enquiries are not reported directly by members of the public or trained operatives.

During the financial year 2019/2020 the NPIS were notified of 282 exposures where adverse health effects were reported, 272 reported minor symptoms and 10 reported moderate or severe symptoms.

In 2018/2019, 311 exposures reported adverse health effects, 303 of these reported minor symptoms, seven moderate or severe symptoms and the NPIS was notified of one fatality.

During 2017/2018, 320 exposures reported adverse health effects, 301 reported minor symptoms, 16 reported moderate or severe and there were three fatalities.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the nutritional standards for the food parcels that they are delivering to those in priority health categories; and what oversight is in place to ensure that the standards are maintained.

The food parcels delivered to those at highest risk from COVID-19 contain a basic selection of food and other essential items. They are a standardised package designed to be suitable for the majority of people and deliver the nutritional requirements for one person for one week, as reviewed by nutritionists and key industry groups.

Substitutions of various items can be made to provide variety from one week to the next. Those receiving the boxes are advised, via a letter in the box, to contact their local authority if they have any particular dietary requirements, including cultural and religious needs that are not met through the contents of the box.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include clarifications for drinks producers on the application of VAT on deposits in their response to the consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme, which closed on 4 June 2021.

It is a fundamental principle of VAT that all amounts paid for the purchase of goods are subject to VAT, including amounts under drinks deposit return schemes (DRS). The Government is committed to making DRS work effectively and is exploring how the VAT regulations may be amended to support the schemes. HMRC will issue guidance on the application of VAT to deposit refunds in advance of the introduction of any scheme.
Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that VAT laws would have on the rollout of a Deposit Return Scheme.

It is a fundamental principle of VAT that all amounts paid for the purchase of goods are subject to VAT, including amounts under drinks deposit return schemes (DRS). The Government is committed to making DRS work effectively and is exploring how the VAT regulations may be amended to support the schemes. HMRC will issue guidance on the application of VAT to deposit refunds in advance of the introduction of any scheme.
Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations to amend VAT law to accommodate the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme.

To ensure that new drinks deposit return schemes (DRS) being introduced across the UK operate effectively, the Government is exploring how VAT regulations may be amended to support the operation of new DRS and will continue to work closely with stakeholders.
Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Financial Conduct Authority about enforcement action against the food delivery company Just Eat over its failure to comply with the mandatory requirement to disclose climate change risks to investors in its annual report.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not generally confirm or deny whether it is investigating a particular firm or individual.

The FCA has powers to take a variety of enforcement actions against firms that breach its rules. It is the responsibility of the independent regulator to investigate and decide upon the appropriate course of action in a particular case. The Treasury has no general power of direction over the FCA and cannot intervene in individual cases.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many customs border points will be in place between Northern Ireland and Britain at the end of the transition period of the UK's departure from the EU; where any such border points will be sited; and how many trained inspectors will be employed at each border point.

The Government has been clear that it does not see the need to construct any new bespoke customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland (or in Great Britain ports facing Northern Ireland) in order to meet its obligations under the Protocol.

As set out in the Command Paper on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Government guarantees unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the UK market. This means no declarations, tariffs, new regulatory checks or customs checks. There will be only very limited exceptions to this, for example in upholding international obligations (such as in the movement of endangered species).

Goods moving from GB into NI will be subject to very limited additional processes such as electronic import declarations and traders can receive assistance for these from the free-to-use Trader Support Service.

16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the £9.2 billion funding to invest in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals announced in the Queen's Speech is new money that has not already been allocated.

The Government takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is committed to meeting net zero by 2050.

Any spending decisions are for future fiscal events. This year’s Budget and Spending Review will confirm multi-year budgets including those commitments made in the Queen’s speech.

We are considering what further fiscal and other policy measures are needed to meet our net zero target and HMT Net Zero Review will be looking at how to pay for net zero over the course of this year.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new customs agents have been recruited to staff the UK's borders in the light of the UK's departure from the EU; and what is their eventual target for the recruitment of such agents.

Since 2018-19, Border Force has been building its staffing to meet the requirements of exiting the European Union and the end of the transition period.

By the end of the transition period, over 1,350 permanent staff were in post. Whilst recruitment and training continues, Border Force is also using contingency resources to provide additional short-term coverage where required.

Border Force anticipates requiring a total of 2,000 additional operational staff by July 2021, when full customs import controls are implemented on movements of goods from the EU to Great Britain but continues to keep the position under review based on operational requirements.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they consider that people designated as "no recourse to public funds" under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 will have access to food during the lockdown.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), through this crisis.? Departments are sharing what they are learning from other bodies and charities with each other to ensure we continue to take a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the Government has put in place, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-employment Income Support Scheme and rental and mortgage protections are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with NRPF.

Local authorities can provide basic safety net support if it is established there is a care need which does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question. The Government has provided more than £3.2 billion of funding to local authorities in England, and additional funding under the Barnett formula to the devolved administrations to enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including services helping the most vulnerable. In addition, on the 8th April the Chancellor announced an additional £750m package of support for charities across the UK to ensure they can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More information on the support available for migrants affected by Covid-19 can be found on Gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk.

We will keep the situation under review and consider further measures if needed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their statement that “there is a shortage of affordable housing, particularly for local workers” in rural areas in their response on 2 July 2019 to the report by the Select Committee on the Rural Economy Time for a strategy for the rural economy (HL Paper 330, Session 2017–19), what is the net increase in affordable homes in rural areas since July 2019.

This Government believes that meeting the housing needs of rural communities is important and nearly 165,000 affordable homes have been provided in rural local authorities in England between April 2010 and March 2019.


We are investing £12.2 billion in affordable housing over 5 years from next year (2021-2026). This represents the highest single funding commitment to affordable housing in a decade.

This investment includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme which will be delivered over 5 years from next year (2021-2026), providing up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. Homes England’s funding prospectus for this supports the delivery of rural housing, with the commitment of 10% of the housing delivered to be in settlements with a population fewer than 3,000. Furthermore, Homes England has dedicated rural housing champions in each of their operating areas and they remain active across the rural housing sector.

The department collects annual data on new affordable housing supply but does not collect all the data required on disposals of affordable housing that would allow to calculate the net change in affordable housing in rural areas.

The latest available official statistics on new affordable housing supply are for 2018-19. The publication of the statistics for 2019-20 has been provisionally pre-announced for 3rd December 2020.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to require all new-build properties to be built to high energy efficiency standards of a minimum of Energy Performance Certificate C.

The Government is committed to meeting its of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it


By 2025, the government will introduce a Future Homes Standard for new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating to create healthy homes that are fit for the future, with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency


As a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard we are proposing a meaningful but achievable strengthening in these requirements in 2020.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the of the speed of recovery in the communities affected by the November 2019 floods.

The Government has been supporting local authorities from the outset of the November flooding. The Flood Recovery Framework was swiftly activated, to ensure that local authorities could implement local recovery schemes. In partnership with BEIS, the framework provides funding for local authorities to help affected residents and businesses to recover from the flooding, as well as reimbursements to local authorities for providing 100% council tax and business rates to these affected properties.

The Government also committed to matching up to £1 million of funds raised by the South Yorkshire Flood Disaster Relief Appeal Fund. We have pledged a further £300,000 of match-funding for other eligible areas affected by recent flooding, where the Flood Recovery Framework has been activated.

Government continues to engage with local partners to wholly understand the local situation and provide adequate support.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)