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 26th October 2021
Environment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 96 Labour Aye votes vs 1 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 202 Noes - 210
Speeches
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Environment Bill

My Lords, first, I am grateful to the Minister for the discussions that he has had with us since Report. …

Written Answers
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Food: Public Sector
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that public sector food procurement policies give priority …
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 149 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Division Votes

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)
(72 debate interactions)
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(49 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Leader of the House
(5 debate contributions)
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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


104 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
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.

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.

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 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 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)
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)
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.

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.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to remove the entitlement to use red diesel in agriculture, fish farming and rail beyond 2022; and if so, what support they will provide to those industries to improve their energy efficiency or source greener alternatives.

The Government has no current plans to review the entitlement to use red diesel in agriculture, fish farming and rail.

However, the Government still expects these users of red diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, or to look for greener alternatives. To support the development of these alternatives, the Government has committed to at least a doubling of the size of the Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
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)