Lord Greaves Portrait

Lord Greaves

Liberal Democrat - Deceased - 23 March 2021

Lord Greaves is not a member of any APPGs
2 Former APPG memberships
Land Value Capture, Local Democracy
Procedure and Privileges Committee
12th Jun 2014 - 27th Apr 2017
Draft Marine Bill (Joint Committee)
13th May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008
Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords)
14th Dec 2000 - 7th May 2005


Division Voting information

Lord Greaves has voted in 575 divisions, and 37 times against the majority of their Party.

11 Mar 2015 - Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 68 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 174 Noes - 231
4 Mar 2015 - Deregulation Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 41 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 87 Noes - 145
11 Feb 2015 - Deregulation Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 50 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 197 Noes - 208
9 Dec 2014 - Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 26 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 52 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 304 Noes - 240
9 Dec 2014 - Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 23 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 47 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 274 Noes - 205
9 Dec 2014 - Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 47 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 210 Noes - 192
26 Nov 2014 - Consumer Rights Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 36 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 124
19 Nov 2014 - Consumer Rights Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 57 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 183 Noes - 171
22 Oct 2014 - Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 9 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 50 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 186 Noes - 185
22 Oct 2014 - Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 50 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 178 Noes - 191
15 Jan 2014 - Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 31 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 28 Noes - 148
26 Mar 2013 - Growth and Infrastructure Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 54 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 217 Noes - 211
26 Mar 2013 - Justice and Security Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 27 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 158 Noes - 174
20 Mar 2013 - Growth and Infrastructure Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 51 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 232 Noes - 178
6 Mar 2013 - Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 54 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 211 Noes - 206
6 Mar 2013 - Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 56 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 163 Noes - 192
5 Feb 2013 - NHS Bodies and Local Authorities (Partnership Arrangements, Care Trusts, Public Health and Local Healthwatch) Regulations 2012 - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 46 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 113 Noes - 145
21 Nov 2012 - Justice and Security Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 16 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 36 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 25 Noes - 164
16 Oct 2012 - National Health Service (Clinical Commissioning Groups) Regulations 2012 - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 45 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 128 Noes - 161
19 Mar 2012 - Health and Social Care Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 71 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 174 Noes - 269
25 Jan 2012 - Welfare Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 16 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 30 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 270 Noes - 128
23 Jan 2012 - Welfare Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 17 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 41 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 222 Noes - 250
23 Jan 2012 - Welfare Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 25 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 38 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 252 Noes - 237
12 Oct 2011 - Health and Social Care Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 77 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 220 Noes - 354
14 Jul 2011 - Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 39 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 135 Noes - 136
15 Jun 2011 - Estates of Deceased Persons (Forfeiture Rule and Law of Succession) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 18 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 47 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 209 Noes - 203
11 May 2011 - Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 13 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 35 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 188 Noes - 176
10 May 2011 - Jobseeker’s Allowance (Mandatory Work Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011 - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 40 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 122 Noes - 155
19 Jan 2011 - Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 13 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 44 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 196 Noes - 122
21 Dec 2010 - Identity Documents Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 32 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 156 Noes - 112
29 Nov 2010 - Public Bodies Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 42 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 147 Noes - 156
9 Nov 2010 - Public Bodies Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 35 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 151 Noes - 188
6 May 2009 - Health Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 32 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 110 Noes - 204
29 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 34 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 39 Noes - 202
29 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 12 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 34 Noes - 105
15 Jan 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 42 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 96 Noes - 268
24 Oct 2006 - Education and Inspections Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Greaves voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 45 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 121 Noes - 208
View All Lord Greaves Division Votes

All Debates

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
Baroness Hanham (Conservative)
(114 debate interactions)
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(93 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(206 debate contributions)
Home Office
(134 debate contributions)
Northern Ireland Office
(69 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Greaves's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Greaves, 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.


Lord Greaves has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Greaves has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Greaves has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Greaves has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


755 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
18 Other Department Questions
26th Nov 2018
To ask the Leader of the House whether there is a protocol relating to whether letters to ministers from members of the House of Lords should receive replies; and if so, how quickly replies should be sent.

The Government recognises the importance of effective and timely handling of correspondence with members of the House of Lords. Government departments should aim to provide a substantive response to routine correspondence within a maximum of 20 working days. However, sometimes circumstances dictate that it will not be possible to provide a response within this timeframe. In such instances, departments are advised to issue a ‘holding’ response until a more substantive response can be provided.

The Cabinet Office publishes an annual report detailing departmental performance in the handling of correspondence from members of both Houses. Lord Young of Cookham set out the 2017 performance figures in a Written Statement on 26 June 2018 (HLWS771). The 2018 performance figures will be published in summer 2019.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
26th Oct 2017
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what quantity of (1) paper for recycling, (2) waste for incineration, and (3) residual refuse, was collected within the House of Lords in each of the last five years.

The Houses of Parliament do not receive a breakdown of waste by House so the figures and information below account for Estate wide totals.

(1) Since January 2012, Parliament has operated a mixed recycling scheme which captures paper, cardboard, plastics and cans as one waste stream and therefore we are not able to provide individual figures for paper collected as mixed recycling. Figures for mixed recycling (figures in kgs) are as follows:

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017 (year to date)

382,514

407,977

371,572

382,439

363,665

(2) Figures for general waste (figures in kgs) which is processed through an energy-from-waste facility are as follows:

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017 (year to date)

612,714

705,770

611,365

578,101

493,188

Parliament’s food waste from catering facilities is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility and while this is not incinerated, the resulting bio gas produced by this process can be burned directly in a gas boiler to produce electricity. Figures for catering waste (figures in kgs) are as follows:

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017 (year to date)

160,973

194,474

136,285

195,082

180,755

(3) None of Parliament’s waste goes to landfill.

25th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether persons coming to live in the UK on spousal visas are entitled to make use of existing schemes of English language tuition provided through public funds; and on what terms.

Funding for english for speakers of other languages (ESOL) provision in England is normally restricted to people who have been resident in the UK or another EEA country for at least the previous 3 years on the first day of learning. For the 3-year residency rule not to apply to a person coming to live in the UK on a spousal visa, the spouse in the UK whom they are joining would have to have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years.

Full-funding is prioritised for people who are in receipt of certain work-related benefits and are mandated to undertake skills training to improve their English in order to find work. This is funded through a provider’s Adult Skills Budget. People on other state benefits who are unemployed and where poor English skills are a barrier to finding work, may still be eligible for full funding at the discretion of the training provider. All others can be co-funded but are expected to make a contribution towards the costs of training.

Other opportunities to learn English on publicly-funded programmes include BIS supported community-ESOL programmes and DCLG community-based English language projects.

21st Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the expenditure on the provision of English courses for speakers of other languages (1) in further education colleges and other public sector bodies, and (2) in other ways, in each of the last 10 years, including the current academic year; which bodies will deliver the extra language tuition to be provided from the £20 million announced by the Prime Minister; and when that extra tuition will commence.

The table below shows estimated funding for adult skills budget ESOL provision from 2009/10 onwards. We do not hold data before 2009/10 or collect data by the status of the providers.

BIS funding for ESOL is allocated by the Skills Funding Agency as part of a provider’s adult skills budget. In addition, there are a number of ESOL courses funded through the Agency’s community learning budget, but we do not collect data which enables us to provide a breakdown of the expenditure on these. SFA-funded providers which deliver ESOL include Further Education colleges, local authorities and a few other providers. The Department for Communities and Local Government funds a range of organisations contracted to deliver their current community-based English language projects.

Our new £20 million community-based English language training offer will be informed by the findings of Louise Casey's Review and the learning from the six community projects we have funded as part of our current integration programme. In particular, we will work with Louise Casey to identify the most isolated communities in England to make sure this programme is targeted at those women who need it most and on the detail of how it will be delivered. We are working towards as early a launch date as possible for the programme in 2016-17.

YEAR

BIS ACADEMIC YEAR ESTIMATED FUNDING* (Adult Skills Budget)

DCLG FINANCIAL YEAR FUNDING FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROJECTS

09/10

£203m

10/11

£169m

11/12

£117m

12/13

£128m

£0.12m

13/14

£120m

£2.14m

14/15

£104m

£3.66m

*Funding values are estimated using data from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR). Estimated funding provides an indication of the level of government funding and should not be treated as actual spend.

18th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many ESOL classes were run by further education colleges and other public sector bodies in each of the last 10 years including the current academic year.

We do not collect data on numbers of classes, but on participation. English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) participation is published as part of a Statistical First Release. The table below shows ESOL participation since 2005/06.

It is worth noting that figures for 2011/12 onwards are not directly comparable to earlier years as a Single Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data collection system has been introduced. Small technical changes have been made in the way learners from more than one provision type are counted, leading to a removal of duplicate learners and a reduction in overall learner numbers.

Adult (19+) FE and Skills - English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Participation (2005/06 to 2015/16 Reported-to-Date)

ESOL participation

2005/06 Full Year

272,700

2006/07 Full Year

214,000

2007/08 Full Year

193,300

2008/09 Full Year

188,700

2009/10 Full Year

178,600

2010/11 Full Year

163,600

2011/12 Full Year

139,400

2012/13 Full Year

146,200

2013/14 Full Year

139,200

2014/15 Full Year

131,100

Notes:

1) The source is the Individualised Learner Record.

2) This table includes Apprenticeships, Workplace Learning, Community Learning and Education and Training provision taken at General Further Education Colleges (including Tertiary), Sixth Form Colleges, Special Colleges (Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and Art and Design Colleges), Specialist Colleges and External Institutions.

3) Volumes are rounded to the nearest hundred.

4) Figures for 2008/09 onwards are not directly comparable to earlier years as the introduction of demand led funding has changed how data is collected and how funded learners are defined from 2008/09 onwards.

Data reported so far for the first quarter of 2015/16 show that 71,500 learners participated in ESOL between August and October 2015. This is in-year data which is subject to revisions and cannot be compared with data from earlier years.

11th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what pre-application due diligence checks are made on companies which apply for petroleum exploration licences, or are associated with such applications, before those applications are accepted or granted; what checks are made on the previous records of the companies in the UK and other countries as part of such due diligence; and what criteria are applied in decisions about whether a company is accepted as suitable to bid for such licences.

In the most recent (14th) Landward Licensing Round all applicants were required to demonstrate their financial viability and the financial capacity to carry out their respective proposed Work Programmes, and that they met residence requirements. The proposed operator in each case was also required to demonstrate the organisational capability and technical and environmental competence to operate to the necessary standards. Consideration was also given to each proposed operator’s past record (in the UK and elsewhere) of compliance with environmental legislative standards or requirements, any criminal or civil action taken against them for environmental reasons, convictions for breaches of environmental legislation and pending criminal or civil action for environmental breaches. Detailed guidance explaining requirements for applicants can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/oil-and-gas-licensing-rounds


In the 14th Round, applications were invited on 28 July 2014, to be submitted by 28 October 2014. 95 applications from 71 companies were received. The Oil and Gas Authority has now offered 92 new licences and the extension of one existing licence to groups that included 43 companies. Of the companies to whom no offer was made, 12 had failed to satisfy the necessary financial criteria and five proposed operators had failed to demonstrate the necessary level of environmental awareness.


3rd Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the reasons for closing the Routes into Languages project, what research informed that decision, and what assessment they have made of the consequences of closing that project.

Routes into Languages is a Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) funded project. The project’s steering group will consider the future of the programme as part of HEFCE’s budget process, taking account of the grant letter to be provided by the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Secretary of State.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
3rd Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of (1) batteries, and (2) other waste electrical and electronic equipment, are recycled by (a) domestic households, (b) small and medium-sized commercial enterprises, (c) large commercial enterprises, (d) government departments, (e) local authorities, and (f) other public sector bodies.

The Government does not hold information in the form requested, but the overall collection and recycling rates for 2014 for these products and equipment expressed as a percentage of tonnage placed on the market is: -

36% of portable batteries;

37% of waste electrical and electronic equipment.


Industrialand automotive batteries are subject to a landfill disposal ban. Accordingly, all such batteries have to be recycled.

3rd Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current backlog of applications for land registration at the Land Registry, and how long is the average delay in registration.

There are approximately 234k applications awaiting completion at Land Registry, 93k of which cannot be processed as they are awaiting replies to queries sent to the originating conveyancer or solicitor, or notices sent to the registered proprietor(s) of the land or property. This leaves 141k applications available for Land Registry to process. Registration takes place after the transaction has been completed and the priority of all of these pending applications is protected upon receipt. Last year, Land Registry received 5.9m applications for registration.


The average number of days taken to complete all applications for registration is 11 days, with applications to update an existing register taking an average of just under 7 days, and applications that result in the creation of new registered titles taking an average of 42 days to complete.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by KPMG <i>Skills to Build?</i>, stating that housebuilding capacity could be restricted by a construction skills shortage; and whether they will take steps to increase the amount of education and training places for construction trades.

The Government has made no separate assessment of the KPMG report. There are a number of reports that provide a good indication of the skills the construction industry believes it will require between 2015 and 2019, for both housing and wider construction.


The Government values post-16 education, including construction education and training, highly. We have made substantial progress driving up the quality and rigour of the post-16 offer, and area-based reviews of 16+ provision are providing an opportunity for institutions and localities to restructure provision to achieve maximum impact.


Initiatives, by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), or flowing from the work of the Construction Leadership Council, are seeking to encourage more young people into construction careers including the launch of the GO-Construct website and work with the National Careers Service and Construction Ambassadors for schools. In addition the CITBhas developed a range of initiatives, working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, the Armed Forces resettlement service and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to encourage experienced individuals into the sector.


While CITB returned over £42m last year, supporting 18,500 first, second and third year construction apprentices, it is clear that the sector is not currently offering enough apprenticeships nor opportunities for young people to train. The 17,000 apprenticeships starts in 2015/16 is still some way below the 27,000 offered in 2006. The CITB has developed a number of shared apprenticeships schemes and reformed the grant process to encourage apprenticeship take up. In addition, the Government continues to pay AGE grant, on top of its usual support for the training of young apprentices, to encourage companies to take on their first apprentices.



At the summer budget the Chancellor announced a levy on large employers across all sectors to fund apprenticeships. This will link larger employers directly to its skills investment and promote the value, and drive the uptake, of apprenticeships.


The Chancellor will announce further details of the apprenticeship levy, including the scope and rate, at the Spending Review.


2nd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the difficulties associated with the insulation of external walls of traditional terraced housing and other older properties with solid walls rather than cavity walls, and whether they are supporting, or will support, research into practical solutions for insulating such walls.

The Government has a number of ongoing projects to investigate issues surrounding solid wall insulation, including monitoring current installation practices (DECC), modelling the risks of unintended moisture-related problems (DCLG and DECC), preparing practical guidance for industry to reduce the risks of such problems (DECC) and a wider high-level study of solid wall insulation issues (BIS – the Hansford report, to be published on 12 November).


The Government recognises that it is important that we do more and that is why we have commissioned Dr Peter Bonfield to undertake an Independent Review into Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for both energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Review is due to report in March 2016 and represents a real opportunity to put energy efficiency on a more consumer-focussed and sustainable long-term path for the future.


22nd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether companies carrying out hydraulic fracturing operations in the United Kingdom must provide full details of the chemicals that they use including all the ingredients of proprietary products, and whether this information will be made available to the public.

Operators are required to disclose fully the composition of fracturing fluid additives as part of their application for environmental permits. The Environment Agency (EA) assesses the hazards presented by fracturing fluid additives or drilling muds on a case-by-case basis and will not permit the use of chemicals hazardous to groundwater where they may enter groundwater and cause pollution. The EA has the power to restrict or prohibit the use of any substances where they would pose an environmental risk.


Information on chemical substances and their maximum concentrations is included within the environmental permit. The permit is placed on the public register.


17th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Prime Minister on 11 September (HC9076), on what evidence they base the statement that "investment in shale could reach £33 billion and support 64,000 jobs in the oil, gas, construction, engineering and chemical sectors"; how many wells would be required to achieve such levels of investment and employment; and over what time period such levels would be achieved.

EY’s 2014 report, ‘Getting Ready for UK Shale Gas: Supply chain and skills requirements and opportunities’ identifies that over the period of 2016–32 c.£33bn of spend could be required to bring up to 4,000 wells into production. At peak this equates to around £3.3bn of spend and some 64,500 jobs (6,100 of which are direct roles).

The full report can be viewed at:

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Getting_ready_for_UK_shale_gas/$FILE/EY-Getting-ready-for-UK-shale-gas-April-2014.pdf

8th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government in respect of which areas (1) they have granted licences for exploratory drilling in relation to fracking, (2) applications have been made for such licences but have not yet been determined, and (3) applications have been made for planning permission relating to exploratory drilling for fracking.

Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) are not specific to shale gas. They grant exclusive rights to extract hydrocarbons, including shale gas but also other forms, within a particular onshore area. A separate consent is required before any drilling or hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can take place. So far the Government has granted hydraulic fracking consent for shale to Cuadrilla’s Lancashire operations.

The Oil & Gas Authority does not have any undetermined consent applications. Applications for new PEDLs under the 14th Onshore Licensing Round are being considered – 95 applications for 295 licence blocks have been made.

Planning permission is a matter for the local Mineral Planning Authority. However, the applications submitted by Cuadrilla in Lancashire and by Third Energy in North Yorkshire are in the public domain.

11th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the advance payment of £100,000 to local communities for every site fracked during exploratory fracking is voluntary or whether it is a condition of a licence being granted.

The shale gas industry has made a commitment to the Community Engagement Charter, co-ordinated by its representative body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, which includes a commitment to provide benefits to local communities at the exploration/appraisal stage of a minimum £100,000 per well site where hydraulic fracturing takes place.

The Infrastructure Act 2015 introduced a range of further requirements that must be met before an operator can carry out hydraulic fracturing. Once these provisions come into force, the Government will not issue a hydraulic fracturing consent unless satisfied that a scheme is in place to provide financial or other benefit for the local area.

A Sovereign Wealth Fund would ensure that revenues from shale gas and oil are put to good use. Proposals will be brought forward in the next Parliament.

26th Feb 2015
To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the expected length of time between external mail arriving at the Parliamentary Estate and its delivery to Lords’ offices; and what is the average time taken.

There are frequent deliveries of mail from the mail screening centre to the Estate. Mail received from the centre before 6.40am is delivered to Members’ offices between 9am and 10am. Mail received between 6.40am and 10am is delivered between 12noon and 1pm. Any mail received later is delivered the following working day.

Delivery of courier items received at the Parcel Office between 8am and 3pm is attempted within two hours. Items received after 3pm are delivered by 10am the following working day.

Royal Mail items requiring signature received before 1.30pm are delivered in a round beginning at 2pm; if items are delayed another round is carried out at 4pm.

29th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have communicated with Lancashire County Council over the planning applications by Cuadrilla for fracking at Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton; and if so when and by what means they did so, and what was the purport of any communication.

Communications between Her Majesty’s Government and Lancashire County Council have been carried out in accordance with the “Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues” published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in February 2012. The merits of the planning applications at Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton have not been discussed.

Officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government communicated with officials from Lancashire County Council by telephone and by e-mail in September and October 2014 to obtain factual information on the total number of representations received in relation to, and the local authority’s intended timescales for decisions on, both planning applications. Two communications were held on 20 January between officials from the Department and the local authority. One, by telephone between the Chief Executive of the local authority and the Permanent Secretary, was to inform the department of the officer recommendations that would be in the reports to be published at 9.00am the following day. The other was an e-mail from Lancashire County Council to advise when the reports would be published and where they would be made available on their website.

In developing part of the £5 million Government shale support package that was announced in the Autumn Statement 2014, there were also telephone conversations between officials, one in December 2014 and one in January 2015, to try and identify areas where local authority resources come under most pressure when processing these type of applications.

On 3 November 2014, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officials wrote to Lancashire County Council to provide comments on the relevant aspects of DECC’s regulatory role that might be helpful in considering the applications. On 17 November 2014, 19 January 2015 and 26 January 2015, DECC officials wrote two letters and an email in response to specific requests from Lancashire County Council officials, seeking views from DECC on certain comments received in the public consultation on the planning applications. DECC’s responses addressed only matters which fall under DECC’s regulatory responsibilities.

The Minister of State, Matt Hancock, met with the deputy leader of Lancashire County Council on 12 November 2014, as part of a regional visit. This meeting did not discuss the merits of the planning applications. A meeting with officials to follow up was arranged (by email and telephone) for 14 January but after further consideration was postponed until after the planning decisions.

A DECC official was invited to attend the meetings of the development control committee considering the planning applications on 28 and 29 January, to advise if necessary on DECC’s regulatory responsibilities. After due consideration of this request, DECC officials confirmed on 27 January that they would not attend.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council wrote to DECC in January asking for comments on the Health Impact Assessment, and DECC officials replied on 20 January to say they could not respond ahead of the Council’s decisions.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a local authority employee can decline to carry out duties in relation to (1) the operation of polling stations on 6 May, (2) the counting of votes in relation to elections on that day, and (3) other activities involving direct contact with members of the public.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Proxy voting rules will be changed, enabling those who need to self-isolate to request an emergency proxy vote at short notice - right up to 5pm on polling day itself. This will mean that voters who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are self isolating, can still have their say in these elections without having to leave their residence.

It is an offence to provide false information on any voter registration form or any form requesting an absent vote. Information will have to be taken at face value as not all electors will be able to produce evidence. For example, some electors will be self-isolating due to contact with others. Others may show symptoms too late to be tested or otherwise have symptoms and are unable to produce a positive test.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what instructions will be given (1) to returning officers for, and (2) to persons acting on their behalf at, the elections on 6 May on how to proceed if two or more applications to appoint a proxy are made in respect of the same elector and they purport to appoint different persons as the proxy for that elector; and whether any such instructions include guidance on what to do should multiple such applications be handed in at the same time at the last possible time for such applications.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Proxy voting rules will be changed, enabling those who need to self-isolate to request an emergency proxy vote at short notice - right up to 5pm on polling day itself. This will mean that voters who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are self isolating, can still have their say in these elections without having to leave their residence.

It is an offence to provide false information on any voter registration form or any form requesting an absent vote. Information will have to be taken at face value as not all electors will be able to produce evidence. For example, some electors will be self-isolating due to contact with others. Others may show symptoms too late to be tested or otherwise have symptoms and are unable to produce a positive test.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they plan to put in place to ensure that applications for a proxy vote for the elections on 6 May (1) are made by the person to whom the vote belongs, (2) are accompanied by clear and full information on why a proxy vote is being requested, (3) are not systematically collected by political parties or candidates at those elections or persons acting on their behalf, (4) include contact information for the applicant, and (5) ensure that late applications can be efficiently and properly processed.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Proxy voting rules will be changed, enabling those who need to self-isolate to request an emergency proxy vote at short notice - right up to 5pm on polling day itself. This will mean that voters who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are self isolating, can still have their say in these elections without having to leave their residence.

It is an offence to provide false information on any voter registration form or any form requesting an absent vote. Information will have to be taken at face value as not all electors will be able to produce evidence. For example, some electors will be self-isolating due to contact with others. Others may show symptoms too late to be tested or otherwise have symptoms and are unable to produce a positive test.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make provision for (1) the suspension, or (2) the cancellation, of polls on 6 May in the event of a local emergency, including a local surge in COVID-19 cases resulting from an outbreak of a new variant which spreads rapidly, in a particular (a) polling district, (b) electoral division, (c) local authority, and (d) mayoral or police commissioner election; and who will have the authority to make such decisions under any such plans.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Proxy voting rules will be changed, enabling those who need to self-isolate to request an emergency proxy vote at short notice - right up to 5pm on polling day itself. This will mean that voters who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are self isolating, can still have their say in these elections without having to leave their residence.

It is an offence to provide false information on any voter registration form or any form requesting an absent vote. Information will have to be taken at face value as not all electors will be able to produce evidence. For example, some electors will be self-isolating due to contact with others. Others may show symptoms too late to be tested or otherwise have symptoms and are unable to produce a positive test.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the duties of those employed to carry out the census canvass in May 2021.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Greaves

House of Lords

London
SW1A 0PW

10 February 2021

Dear Lord Greaves

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what the duties will be of those employed to carry out the census canvass in May 2021 (HL12955).

Census 2021 will be a digital-first census and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be encouraging people to respond online if they can on their mobile phones, laptops, PCs or tablets, and providing a comprehensive range of support (including paper questionnaires) for those who are not able to complete the census online. The ONS expects 70 percent of households to respond without needing a reminder letter or visit from field staff. However, where it is necessary for the field staff to be involved and carry out their assigned duties, please be assured that safety is our number one concern.

For Census 2021, due to take place on the 21 March 2021, the ONS will have up to 40,000 census field staff working across England and Wales. The majority of the field force, who are ONS staff, are due to start the main follow-up work following Census day and no field staff will be knocking on doors until after that day.

An initial tranche of field staff is due to start earlier than this, undertaking tasks that do not require them to interact with members of the public nor knock on doors of households. They will be out and about from 8 March performing duties such as checking addresses of undelivered mail, understanding the local area and understanding the access to buildings etc.

Following Census day, field staff will start following up only those households who have not yet responded to the initial invitation and reminder letters. The primary role of these field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online or on paper, and to direct them to the support services they need. Field staff will never enter people’s houses; they will be supplied with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), will always be socially distanced and will work in line with all government guidance.

All field staff will have been instructed in how to follow a precise door knocking routine to maximise safety for themselves and the public. Field officers will record the status of their visits by recording outcomes on the electronic Field Work Management Tool which has been developed for this purpose. A few examples of the many possible outcomes would be: they may record if the property is derelict, there was no answer (so they left a card), there was a hard refusal to complete. Officers can also collect paper questionnaires and post them for a household if the householder has completed one but is unable to post the return (for example, if the householder is housebound and has no family/friends to post the return for them).

There are also field officers that are responsible for encouraging census returns from communal establishments (CEs), who will start this work on 23rd February. The CEs will be sent out an information pack by post and then the CE officers will contact the managers of each of them. They will discuss with the managers of each establishment the best way to enumerate and they will request an invitation to visit in a COVID secure way, that will follow the protocols established by that establishment, to hand deliver the Census packs to a member of the CE staff, as laid out in regulations. They will always follow local and central government guidelines. There is not a need for CE officers to meet with the residents of the establishment, as the managers of the CEs will organise for the census forms to be filled in by each of the residents.

For more detailed information on ONS field staff roles, the ONS has published a Local Authority Partnership Guide[1] which includes a timeline of key activities during the Census 2021 operation (section 3), factsheets on field staff roles and responsibilities (section 7.2), recruitment allocation and dates for field staff (section 7.3).

The health and safety of census field staff and the public are of the utmost importance to the ONS. Prior to going out into the field, all field staff will be given comprehensive COVID-19 training. This will include detailed guidance on how to use the PPE provided, in addition to the other control measures the ONS has established to ensure everyone’s safety. Full details of the safety measures are available on the Census 2021 jobs website.[2] As set out on that web page, the items of PPE issued to field staff will include, but is not limited to, face coverings, hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://census.gov.uk/assets/Census2021_A4_English_LocalAuthorityGuideVersionTwo_LAGD1-A.pdf

[2] https://www.censusjobs.co.uk/covid-19-update/

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the costs related to holding the elections on 6 May, including the additional costs of measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, will be refunded to local authorities.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

To support the smooth running of the Police and Crime Commissioner and local elections, there will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections. Of this, £31 million is an uplift to address costs associated with making the polls covid-secure.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of local authorities (1) to support the administration of elections scheduled to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) to enable the provision of staff to administer such elections on 6 May.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

The Government is also bringing forward additional measures to extend the ability to appoint a proxy, so that those that are affected by Covid-19 in the days before the poll are still able to make their voice heard.

Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation they have undertaken in relation to holding local and other elections in England on 6 May with bodies representing (1) schools, (2) school staff, and (3) parents; and what representations they have received from such bodies.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing. We are also working to ensure that disruption to children’s education is kept to an absolute minimum. Schools and local authorities should consider relevant public health advice.

We are providing for voters to be able to appoint a proxy at short notice if they need to isolate shortly before or on the day of the polls. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications for schools that would be used as polling stations in elections on 6 May for (1) the number of days they would need to close for extra cleaning and other management arrangements (a) before, and (b) following, polling day, and (2) the costs of such cleaning and management arrangements.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing. We are also working to ensure that disruption to children’s education is kept to an absolute minimum. Schools and local authorities should consider relevant public health advice.

We are providing for voters to be able to appoint a proxy at short notice if they need to isolate shortly before or on the day of the polls. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proportion of the people who volunteer on a regular basis to staff polling stations and count votes at elections who will not be available to do so on 6 May as a result of (1) having contracted COVID-19, (2) self-isolating, (3) working at home, (4) being unwilling for other perceived safety reasons, and (5) other reasons; and what assessment they have made of the ability of local authorities (a) to recruit other people, and (b) provide them with the necessary training, to support such polling stations.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing. We are also working to ensure that disruption to children’s education is kept to an absolute minimum. Schools and local authorities should consider relevant public health advice.

We are providing for voters to be able to appoint a proxy at short notice if they need to isolate shortly before or on the day of the polls. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on (1) the annual canvass of electors, and (2) the accuracy of the electoral register.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) remain subject to the statutory duties placed on them to deliver the annual canvass and electoral registration. They continue to deliver these essential services despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabinet Office officials have actively engaged with EROs throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to identify and mitigate any possible effect of the pandemic on the annual canvass. The reforms the Government had already introduced to the annual canvass process for this year allowed EROs to make more use of online and telephone communications than previously, meaning a canvass that was safer for both Electoral Services teams and the general public. In addition, the Representation of the People (Electoral Registers Publication Date) Regulations 2020 has also provided EROs with additional flexibility to conduct this year’s annual canvass by allowing them an additional two months in which to publish their final revised register, if required - thus helping to safeguard the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for staffing problems at the local elections in England in May 2021 as a result of (1) reluctance among potential workers to volunteer to carry out duties at polling stations, and (2) the need for extra staff at polling stations to act as (a) ‘greeters’, and (b) cleaners.

The Government appreciates the issues around using schools as polling places and asks that returning officers consider other venues where possible to minimise disruption to education. Where schools are designated as polling places, it should be with due consideration and for sound practical reasons. It can be the case that schools represent the most suitable and accessible locations and, in some instances, provide the only appropriate location for the situation of a polling station. Schools and local authorities should follow public health advice with regard to necessary cleaning and consider how this can be undertaken efficiently to ensure minimal disruption.

The Government has considered issues around staffing at the May 2021 elections with the electoral sector and Public Health England, and the Electoral Commission has included reference to this in recent guidance.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of using schools as polling stations for the local elections in May, in particular if those schools are required to close (1) for polling day, and (2) to undertake a deep clean following polling day.

The Government appreciates the issues around using schools as polling places and asks that returning officers consider other venues where possible to minimise disruption to education. Where schools are designated as polling places, it should be with due consideration and for sound practical reasons. It can be the case that schools represent the most suitable and accessible locations and, in some instances, provide the only appropriate location for the situation of a polling station. Schools and local authorities should follow public health advice with regard to necessary cleaning and consider how this can be undertaken efficiently to ensure minimal disruption.

The Government has considered issues around staffing at the May 2021 elections with the electoral sector and Public Health England, and the Electoral Commission has included reference to this in recent guidance.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to delaying the local elections due in England in May 2021 to a later date.

Many elections have taken place globally since the beginning of the pandemic, including the recent US Presidential and associated elections. The Government keeps international practice under regular review. The UK Government is working with the election sector and public health bodies to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections. This includes supporting Returning Officers to ensure polling stations are safe and covid-secure places to vote. Voters will be able participate in the May 2021 elections safely, and in a way of their choice, whether in-person, by proxy or by post.

It is the Government’s view that polls can be delivered safely and securely if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. The Government is clear that the expectation is for polls to take place next May.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the operation of the United States Presidential elections on 3 November with a view to informing their methods of running multiple elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in relation to the (1) mayoral, (2) London Assembly, (3) Police Commissioner, (4) county, and (5) borough, elections that are due to occur on 6 May 2021.

Many elections have taken place globally since the beginning of the pandemic, including the recent US Presidential and associated elections. The Government keeps international practice under regular review. The UK Government is working with the election sector and public health bodies to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections. This includes supporting Returning Officers to ensure polling stations are safe and covid-secure places to vote. Voters will be able participate in the May 2021 elections safely, and in a way of their choice, whether in-person, by proxy or by post.

It is the Government’s view that polls can be delivered safely and securely if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. The Government is clear that the expectation is for polls to take place next May.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are monitoring the conduct of local government by-elections in Scotland in order to assess the feasibility of holding such elections in England.

Parliament legislated to delay the May 2020 elections and subsequent local by-elections in location to May 2021. We are not changing that legislation, meaning no-one should expect elections to take place in England before May 2021. This decision was made to give Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers certainty on the timing and combination of elections at the start of the year.

This was outlined in the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution’s letter to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost of the Boundary Commission reviews of the boundaries of UK parliamentary constituencies since 2011.

Figures for expenditure over each financial year are published by the Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as part of their annual reports. These are available online.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statistics for deaths from COVID-19 in local authority areas are based on the home addresses of the people who have died or the location in which they die.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Dear Lord Greaves,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the statistics for deaths from COVID-19 in local authority areas are based on the home addresses of the people who have died or the location in which they die (HL5296).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing mortality statistics for deaths registered in England and Wales. The most recent annual figures published are for deaths registered in 2018[1]. However, we do publish provisional weekly deaths registrations, which are currently published for deaths registered up to 29 May 2020[2]. We publish information at the local authority and health board regional levels as a dataset[3] alongside the weekly deaths bulletin.

ONS mortality statistics are based on information recorded when deaths are certified and registered. Details of the usual residence of the deceased are supplied by the informant to the registrar. In our publications, the local authority breakdowns are based on the place of usual residence of the individual. Therefore, if the death occurred in a different geographical location to the deceased’s usual residence, their death would be included within the number reported for the local authority relating to their usual address. The place of death (hospital, care home, home, etc.) is reported as recorded on the death certificate. More information is available in our Mortality Statistics User Guide[4].

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsregisteredinenglandandwalesseriesdrreferencetables

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/latest

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/datasets/deathregistrationsandoccurrencesbylocalauthorityandhealthboard

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/methodologies/userguidetomortalitystatisticsjuly2017#area-coverage

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to ensure that future appointments of members to the House of Lords help to improve representation (1) of the four nations of the UK, and (2) of each of the regions of England, in the membership of the House.

The House of Lords has a key role in scrutinising the executive and as a revising chamber. It is important that the way it is constituted reflects that role and the primacy of the House of Commons as the elected chamber. The Government has an aspiration that all parts of the United Kingdom should feel connected to politics and indeed to politicians.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, where the COVID-19 restrictions on the movement and activities of people differ in any of the countries of Great Britain, the rules applying to individuals living in the border regions will be those that apply to the country in which they (1) reside, (2) work, or (3) are present at a given moment.

Where a matter is devolved, UK Government guidance available on GOV.UK is clear that measures apply in England-only and should be considered alongside local public health requirements, guidance and legislation.

The UK Government continues to work with the devolved administrations to take a coordinated approach to decisions and guidance related to the current measures.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the consideration they have given to postponing local elections on 7 May, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic; and if so, what is their assessment of the last day on which a decision must be announced in order for any such postponement to take place.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement HLWS169 which I laid on 19 March 2020, the Government has confirmed that the scheduled local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place on 7 May this year will be postponed until the next ordinary day of election on 6 May 2021.

Other polls that had already been set for dates from 16 March 2020 and which arise over coming weeks and months will also be addressed in legislation being brought forward as part of the Coronavirus Bill.

The decision was taken following advice from the Government’s medical experts in relation to the response to the Covid-19 virus and the advice of those delivering elections.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local elections on 7 May could be postponed after the publication of the notices of election; and if so, what procedures would be required in order to do so.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement HLWS169 which I laid on 19 March 2020, the Government has confirmed that the scheduled local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place on 7 May this year will be postponed until the next ordinary day of election on 6 May 2021.

Other polls that had already been set for dates from 16 March 2020 and which arise over coming weeks and months will also be addressed in legislation being brought forward as part of the Coronavirus Bill.

The decision was taken following advice from the Government’s medical experts in relation to the response to the Covid-19 virus and the advice of those delivering elections.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of the all-party consensus, reached in 1999 when the House of Lords Act was passed, that no single political party would in future have a majority of the politically declared membership of the House of Lords.

The House of Lords has a key role in scrutinising the executive and being a revising chamber. It is important that the way it is constituted reflects that role and the primacy of the House of Commons. The Conservative manifesto committed to looking at the role of the House of Lords and reviewing the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission recommends individuals for appointment as non-party-political life peers. In line with established convention, the number of nominations to be offered to individual political parties is a matter for the Prime Minister. All appointments are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission to ensure the highest standards of propriety.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the email account ideasfornumber10@gmail.com has been approved as an official means of recruiting staff to work as special advisers or civil servants; and what are the approved person specifications for the “super-talented weirdos” and “misfits with odd skills” who are invited to apply.

The blog invites people to get in touch to discuss opportunities. The blog post does not set out proposed recruitment processes.

Recruitment to the Civil Service is through fair and open competition following section 10 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.

Special Adviser appointments are made by Ministers in accordance with section 15 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, and if so when, they intend to lay orders for new parliamentary constituency boundaries before Parliament; and if not, what other proposals they intend to make on constituency boundaries.

The final reports of the four Boundary Commissions in the 2018 Boundary Review were submitted to the Government and laid before Parliament in September 2018.


The Government will continue to monitor closely the current legal proceedings in relation to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland’s final report.


As we set out in our manifesto, the Government will ensure we have updated and equal parliamentary boundaries, making sure every vote counts the same.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to include election funding within the scope of the proposed Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Commission will examine the broader aspects of the constitution in depth and develop proposals to restore trust in our institutions and in how our democracy operates. We are carefully considering the composition and focus of the Commission.


I am unable to offer further detail at the moment, as the precise scope of the Commission’s remit and programme has not yet been decided. Further announcements will be made in due course and I would be happy to provide further information at that time.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
23rd May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many European Union citizens whose names appear on the register of electors with a right to vote in the European Parliament elections were turned away from polling stations on 23 May.

Data on people who are turned away from polling stations is not collected centrally.

25th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of each of the electoral integrity and voter ID pilots in the local elections on 2 May in England this year; what is the estimated overall cost of running those pilots; and whether they will reimburse local authorities for any extra costs that they incur.

Voter ID is part of a body of work this Government is delivering to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

As was the case for the 2018 pilots, the 2019 pilot costs will be confirmed when they are known which will be after the pilot authorities have completed their work. That will be as soon as possible after the elections on 2 May. Funding for the additional cost of piloting voter ID will be provided to each local authority by the Cabinet Office.

15th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the change of name of the Department of Health to the Department of Health and Social Care, whether there have been any changes to the responsibilities of (1) that Department, and (2) any other department.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) held responsibility for social care policy before the name change and will continue to do so. DHSC has taken on additional responsibility for delivering the forthcoming Social Care green paper. The team who have been leading the work on the green paper have moved from the Cabinet Office to DHSC. Responsibility for Local Authority funded social care will remain with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. There has been no change in responsibilities to any other department.

28th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government whether the timetable for the changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries is proceeding as previously planned, and if so, what the next stage will be; and when it will take place.

The Government's manifesto re-affirms the commitment to deliver equal and updated boundaries and reduce the size of the House of Commons.

The conduct of the current boundary review, which is proceeding in accordance with the laws already passed by Parliament, is a matter for the independent and impartial Boundary Commissions. Further information can be found on the websites for each of the four Boundary Commissions.

3rd Feb 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Lord Young of Cookham on 9 January (HLWS400) concerning the Government response to <i>Securing the ballot</i>, what is their definition of "postal vote harvesting"

The handling of completed postal ballot packs by campaigners is unacceptable. The Electoral Commission already strongly advises against the practice, and as part of the wider reform package outlined in our response to Sir Eric’s review, the Government is considering how a ban on this activity could be implemented.

23rd Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate (1) of the proportion of persons living in the United Kingdom who do not possess a photo identity document of any kind, or evidence of their address such as a utility bill; and (2) of the number of people who are in consequence unable to open an ordinary bank account.

The Government does not hold this information.

Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of the present design of ballot papers for persons with difficulties of sight.

The design of ballot papers used in elections and referendums in the UK was revised by the last Government to make them clearer and easier to understand for voters. The changes were subject to a programme of user-testing involving representative samples of the voting public. RNIB, who were consulted on the changes, considered that they did not raise significant issues for blind and partially sighted people


Returning Officers are required to display an enlarged version of the ballot paper in each polling station and provide upon request a large hand-held sample copy to assist visually impaired electors to vote. They must also ensure each polling station is equipped with a tactile voting device to assist blind / partially sighted electors. This device has raised numbers and numbers in Braille and fits over the ballot paper. When the Presiding Officer or a companion reads out the list of candidates or parties to the voter, it enables them to cast their vote independently and in secret.

25th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether it is permissible for the ballot papers sent to postal voters to be a different colour to the ballot papers issued in a corresponding polling station.

Ballot papers for any given poll have a consistent appearance in order to reduce the risk of completed votes being identifiable as having been submitted by a particular voter or voters when they are verified and counted. That could happen if, for example, coloured ballot papers were used for postal voting (but not voting in person) and there was low use of them. Different coloured ballot papers are already used to help voters distinguish between different polls where polls are combined, and further use of different colours could lead to confusion.

14th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have commissioned or have plans to commission a review of the activities and achievements of the Big Society programme since its inception; if so, who is conducting this review and when it will report and to whom; and if not, why not.

The Big Society programme remains a key manifesto commitment for the Government. The 2015 Spending Review saw this commitment reaffirmed with, for example, funding for the National Citizen Service increased to over a £1 billion creating the next generation of community minded volunteers. An additional £100 million in funding for Social Impact Bonds has also been pledged to reduce demand on public services. These programmes are helping to create a stronger, more engaged nation where people and neighbourhoods are able to take greater responsibility with improving the country.

These programmes are regularly reviewed and reports are publicly available.

14th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current status of the Big Society programme; which department and Minister is responsible for it; what projects are currently active; what is the budget for each of those projects; what changes have taken place to the programme since the general election; and what procedures are in place to report to Parliament on the programme.

The Big Society programme remains a key manifesto commitment for the Government. The 2015 Spending Review saw this commitment reaffirmed with, for example, funding for the National Citizen Service increased to over a £1 billion creating the next generation of community minded volunteers. An additional £100 million in funding for Social Impact Bonds has also been pledged to reduce demand on public services. These programmes are helping to create a stronger, more engaged nation where people and neighbourhoods are able to take greater responsibility with improving the country.

These programmes are regularly reviewed and reports are publicly available.

29th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new rules for English Votes for English Laws relating to votes on matters that have been returned from the House of Lords to the House of Commons during parliamentary ping-pong will allow for amendments to, and substitution of, Lords amendments, as well as the rejection of Lords amendments.

Members of the House of Commons will continue to be able to table amendments to, and suggest the substitution or rejection of, Lords amendments, as they can now.

28th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimate of the number of people registered as parliamentary electors in more than one constituency in the United Kingdom; and what proportion of those are so registered (1) because they are students, (2) because they occupy more than one home, (3) because they work away from their main residence, and (4) for other reasons.

It is not possible to provide an estimate of the number of people registered as parliamentary electors in more than one constituency as this information is not held centrally.

22nd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many citizens of each European Union member state, other than the United Kingdom and Ireland, aged 18 or over are resident in the United Kingdom; and of those, how many have been resident in the United Kingdom for more than five years, broken down by their country of citizenship.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

14th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to the names, addresses and other personal information, in whole or in part, that forms part of a petition that has been delivered to a public authority to which that Act applies.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to all information held by a public authority. However the Act contains an exemption that would protect the names, addresses and other personal information within petitions submitted to and held by public authorities.

8th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what role the police played in the prevention of electoral fraud at the General Election in (1) areas identified as being at particular risk of fraud, and (2) other areas.

At elections in the UK, the police are responsible for ensuring that electors’ democratic rights are upheld. The police are also responsible for investigating all allegations of electoral fraud.

The previous Government made an additional £500,000 available to 17 local authorities identified as being at greater risk of electoral fraud and the majority of these worked with the police in some capacity. Initiatives included police analysis of data to identify potential issues and providing a greater police presence before and during the poll. Feedback from Returning Officers has been positive.

29th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the number of electors registered in each constituency on the new electoral registers; what is the change compared with the registers as first published in the previous year in (1) numbers, and (2) as a percentage change; and whether they are taking further action to increase the number of people registered before the General Election.

We are only mid-way through the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) and so the current electoral registers offer only an initial and partial snapshot of the registration landscape. Electoral statistics based on the last electoral registers published under the previous household system are available on the Office for National Statistics website:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/electoral-statistics-for-uk/2013/stb---2013-electoral-statistics.html

ONS plans to publish statistics for England and Wales on 26 February based on the registers as at 1 December 2014 and on 16 April for the Scottish registers as at 2 March 2015.

The Government has provided funding of over £14 million between financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15 to support the costs of activities aimed at increasing the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register. We have also provided all Local Authorities and Valuation Joint Boards in Great Britain with a share of £30m resource funding, across this financial year and the previous financial year, to support them in making the transition to IER.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will issue new exploration licences for the potential extraction of gas by fracking, and what advice they provide to the holders of existing exploration licences.

The Oil and Gas Authority operates the licensing regime that gives companies exclusive rights to search, bore for and get petroleum and it stewards existing onshore exploration licences to ensure they fulfil agreed work commitments.

The Government’s position on hydraulic fracturing is set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 4 November 2019 [HLWS68]. As set out in the Statement, the shale gas industry should take the Government’s position into account when considering new developments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their most recent assessment of (1) the contribution that the Bowland Shale Formation can make to meeting the energy requirements of the UK, and (2) the proportion of such requirements during the next 10 years that will be met by shale gas fracking.

BEIS and Ofgem’s joint annual Statutory Security of Supply Report provides an assessment of the current availability of secure, affordable electricity, gas and oil for meeting the needs of consumers. The latest report, published on 18 December 2020, does not use hydraulically fractured shale gas in any of its security of supply assessments. Please see attached.

In October 2017, BEIS published a report summarising gas security over the next 20 years, including consideration of the role of shale gas in general. Please see attached.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they are providing (1) to owners, and (2) to occupiers, of older terraced houses and similar properties on ways of insulating external walls to modern standards.

Access to accurate and up-to-date information tailored to occupants and owners is a key part of improving the energy performance of homes effectively.

The Simple Energy Advice Service (SEA), launched in 2018, is a digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners, landlords and tenants with impartial and tailored advice on energy efficiency measures. This includes advice on insulating external walls.

At a local level, the Government is also supporting skills development and advice provision through a number of local supply chain demonstration pilots, which are testing new approaches to delivering home energy retrofit in the able-to-pay sector and recognises the importance of locally provided advice.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the performance of Royal Mail in providing a universal postal service during the COVID-19 pandemic; how many instances they have recorded of a failure to provide such a service in specific areas; and (1) where, and (2) when, any such failures have occurred.

Royal Mail, a private company, has well-established contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services which are overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator responsible for monitoring the delivery of the universal postal service.

In its statement of 14 January 2021, Ofcom recognises that the pandemic is an emergency under its regulatory framework and that it is continuing to monitor Royal Mail’s performance carefully, remaining in close contact with the company to ensure it is providing the best service it can to customers. The full statement is available on Ofcom’s website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for including emissions from military sources in targets for carbon emission reductions; and what plans they have to support their inclusion in international agreements during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

There is no exclusion for reporting emissions from military sources under the Paris Agreement. The UK sets its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory in accordance with international guidelines and emissions from some military sources (e.g. aircraft and shipping) are already included.

At COP26, Parties will develop the products required for full implementation of the Enhanced Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement. This includes the tables and formats Parties will use to report their GHG emissions in accordance with international guidelines.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of large-scale offshore windfarms on (1) the ecology of the seabed, (2) the ecology of the sea, (3) birdlife, and (4) maritime geomorphological processes whether undersea or coastal.

Offshore wind developers are required to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of any planning application. The Environmental Impact Assessment affords protection to the environment by ensuring that the planning authority considers any significant effects as part of the decision-making process and that the local community are informed of any impacts.

Planning applications for offshore wind projects in England and Wales above 100MW capacity are determined by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime. In respect of these, details are publicly available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/

In addition, DEFRA has undertaken strategic assessments of the environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, including assessments of the marine environment and ecology, potential compensatory measures, and net gain. Given the Government’s ambitions for offshore wind, BEIS and DEFRA are working closely with other Government bodies, the Crown Estate, industry and wider stakeholders. This work will prepare for and mitigate against the environmental impacts of growth in this sector. Included in this is the Offshore Wind Enabling Actions programme, a £4.3m action programme to be jointly run by DEFRA and BEIS and the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme (a partnership between BEIS, DEFRA, The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland) to deliver upon its aims.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement by Rolls-Royce that it plans to move aero engine manufacturing overseas, what action they plan to take to maintain advanced manufacturing at Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick.

The Government understands that Rolls-Royce do not intend to close the site at Barnoldswick but will continue production of fan blades for some of their engines and retain a fan blade product development and technical support centre. Rolls-Royce has also announced proposals to bring back work into the UK. For example, it is proposing to withdraw from its Singapore Assembly & Test facility for widebody engines, consolidating all widebody engine Assembly & Test capability in the UK. It has also closed a site in the US consolidating any future workload in the UK.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK's departure from the EU on the decision by Rolls-Royce to transfer production of aero-engine manufacturing from Britain to Spain.

Rolls-Royce has made clear that the restructuring and global site review reflects the change in medium-term market conditions which have been impacted by the global COVID19 pandemic. Rolls-Royce has announced proposals to consolidate work into the UK including consolidating all widebody engine Assembly & Test capability in Derby, as well as closing a site in the US and consolidating the advanced manufacturing capabilities into Derby and Washington, Tyne & Wear.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have given to local authorities in relation to the use of antisocial behaviour legislation to reduce local nuisances caused by the use of fireworks; whether they have received representations that other legislation has been assessed by such authorities as not being effective in doing so; and what their response has been to any such representations.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (‘the 2014 Act’) provides the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour. The powers in the 2014 Act are deliberately local in nature, and it is for local agencies to determine whether their use is appropriate in the specific circumstances.

We receive representations from a wide range of stakeholders, all with a broad range of views on the issues and what action they would like to see. This includes representations from Local Authorities and Councillors and we are engaging with them to understand the issues they face with regards to fireworks.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Rolls-Royce led consortium over the proposals to build mini nuclear power plants; what assessment they have made of their (1) level of involvement, and (2) commitments, required to implement those proposals; what would be the requirements for planning and other regulatory approvals; and what timescale is envisaged.

The Government has regular engagement with the nuclear industry, including with Rolls-Royce, and has discussed the Rolls-Royce-led UK Small Modular Reactors (SMR) Consortium’s work to design and deploy SMRs.

In November 2019, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) awarded an initial £18 million, matched by the UK SMR Consortium, for the development of a UK SMR under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The UK SMR Consortium is aiming for the design to be ready for operation in the early 2030s.

UKRI is monitoring progress closely, including the level of involvement of the UK SMR Consortium’s members, as well as progress against milestones and value for money. Decisions on further funding will be taken in due course.

The requirements for planning approvals are set out in the Planning Act 2008. New nuclear power stations are also subject to nuclear licensing and environmental permitting as regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the relevant environment agencies.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the industrial action by employees of Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick in response to the announcement by the company that they will move some production to Singapore; and what plans they have to meet representatives of the workforce at Barnoldswick to discuss the proposed move.

The Government believes that disputes are best handled through negotiation between the parties. Strikes and other forms of industrial action should be regarded as a last resort after attempts to resolve differences through dialogue have been exhausted. The independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), which is funded by the Government, stands ready to assist the parties in reaching an agreement, where they both accept its involvement. We would encourage the parties to avail themselves of Acas’ conciliation and mediation services.

The Department has regular bilateral dialogue with Unite and Union representatives involved in the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which is our main method of engaging with the UK aerospace industry.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total funding they have given to Rolls-Royce this year for their operations in the UK; what is the purpose of any such funding; and what additional funding they have offered.

The Government’s financial support for Rolls-Royce is provided via various routes, including support for their exports and research and development (R&D) in areas such as civil aerospace, civil nuclear, and defence. This year, the Government’s support has included funding through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and a partial guarantee by UK Export Finance of a 5-year, £2 billion commercial term-loan facility.

One of the Government’s key funding streams is through Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. For the 2019/2020 competition year of the Aerospace Technology Institute programme, Rolls-Royce have had grant offers totalling £63,374,303 to support total project costs of £143,203,408. This money will be paid out across the life of the projects.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the withdrawal by Aurora Energy Resources of their planning application for fracking at Altcar Moss, Lancashire; and what advice they will give to companies about future fracking projects in the light of this withdrawal.

The Government cannot comment on individual planning applications. The Government’s position on shale gas policy remains unchanged, as set out in a Written Ministerial Statement on 4 November 2019, Official Report, HLWS68[1] . Planning authorities should continue to take national planning policy and guidance into account in considering any relevant applications.

[1] Energy Policy Update: Written statement - HLWS68: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Lords/2019-11-04/HLWS68/

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement of the package of initiatives to encourage cycling and running to work, what plans they have to assist in providing showers, washrooms and changing facilities at places of work.

The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, and this includes looking at any existing or new communal facilities such as showers and changing facilities. Employers are responsible for taking all reasonably practical steps to address health and safety risks; however, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

People should only be going into work if they cannot work from home, and we encourage employers to agree alternative or flexible working hours with their employees. Whilst we have always said that those who cannot work from home can travel to work, we are giving those who have not been working the confidence to return to work and those businesses who suspended operations the guidelines they need to reopen safely.

Walking, running and cycling help to reduce pressure on the public transport system and the road network, which is why they are recommended as more people return to the workplace. We are also encouraging people to avoid rush hour if they can, to help maintain social distancing. This will also reduce peak demand on the transport system.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 9 January (HL Deb, col 302), whether those who hold a licence from the Oil and Gas Authority which allows them to undertake exploratory drilling in relation to shale gas, such as those in East Lancashire, can still apply for (1) drilling licences, and (2) planning permission in relation to such drilling, during the current moratorium on fracking; and what advice they have given to the owners of such licences.

The Government set out its position in the Written Ministerial Statement of 4 November 2019, confirming that it will take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, creating a moratorium. Future applications for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent will be considered on their own merits by the Secretary of State, in accordance with the law.

Companies may still apply for drilling licences and planning permission for development which includes hydraulic fracturing. However, the shale gas industry should take the Government’s position into account when considering new developments.

No further advice has been issued to licence holders subsequent to the Written Ministerial Statement.

9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to revoke the moratorium on fracking.

The Government have no plans to revoke the moratorium on shale gas extraction.

The Government has always been clear that we will take a precautionary approach and only support shale gas exploration if it can be done in a safe and sustainable way, and that we will be led by the science on whether this is indeed possible.

It remains our policy to be guided by the evidence and to minimise disturbance to those living and working nearby to shale gas exploration sites, and to prevent the risk of any damage.

The moratorium will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide local licensing authorities with greater powers to control the use of fireworks by members of the public at all times of day and all days of the year.

Existing laws are in place to control firework availability and use, to reduce the risks to people and disturbance to animals. Included are age related restrictions, a curfew, and a noise limit.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. This includes looking at data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a fuller picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether further action is appropriate.

28th Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the (1) requirements, (2) regulations, and (3) responsibilities, in connection with (a) the decommissioning of onshore fracking wells in particular where an operator is no longer able to carry out the necessary work, (b) monitoring of a well for any leakages or emissions, or other environmental damage following its closure and decommissioning, and (c) liabilities for any damage caused by the well after that time.

When operations finish at shale gas sites, the licensees are responsible for safe decommissioning of their well(s) and for restoring the well-site to its previous state or a suitable condition for re-use. As set out, in the joint Written Ministerial Statement of 17 May 2018, as a matter of policy the financial resilience of all companies looking to hydraulically fracture is now assessed, including their ability to cover decommissioning costs.

Only three onshore wells have been hydraulically fractured in the UK and one of these, Cuadrilla’s site at Preese Hall, has been decommissioned and the site fully restored to its previous state. The groundwater at Preese Hall has been monitored post decommissioning in April 2015 and results have been supplied to the Environment Agency and the other regulatory bodies. There has been no evidence of environmental harm. The remaining two wells are at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire. As part of its application for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, Cuadrilla was required to undergo a financial resilience check to ensure that it had sufficient funding to cover the full decommissioning of their site.

If, in the unlikely situation there was an issue with the well in the longer term, the Environment Agency would seek to identify the person(s) responsible for any pollution and has powers it can apply in specific circumstances, to remediate the issues.

The Department is considering whether any further mitigations might be appropriate.

13th Dec 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Mayor of London's new climate change plan in response to what he has described as a climate emergency; what discussions they have had with him on that matter; and what steps they intend to take in relation to that plan.

We agree with the Mayor of London on the importance of climate change - it is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges we face today. We welcome the action that London and other cities across the country are taking to cut emissions and seize the economic opportunities of clean growth.

BEIS officials are in frequent contact with colleagues from the Greater London Authority to discuss issues relating to climate change. Our Governments action builds on the UK’s strong performance to date, reducing emissions by over 40% since 1990 while growing the economy by more than two thirds.

11th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make changes to the traffic light system for monitoring induced seismic activity resulting from drilling and fracking for oil and gas; and what is the procedure for making such changes.

There are no plans to make changes to the traffic light system for monitoring induced seismicity.

17th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential overall cost effectiveness and environmental impact, including carbon footprint, of the process of pyrolysis of waste plastics into synthetic gas and oil within a closed system.

Pyrolysis is an advanced conversion technology (ACT). We recognise that ACT has the potential to play an important role in helping us to decarbonise. To date we have not undertaken any assessments by feedstock type and therefore do not have data on the cost effectiveness and environmental impact of the pyrolysis process of waste plastics into synthetic gas and oil.

11th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the criteria are for the provision of grants under the Faraday Battery Challenge, established under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for the development and production of battery technology; and, in particular, what emphasis is given, if any, in those criteria, to the improvement of environmental and working conditions in those regions involved in the mining and production of lithium and other battery components, both now and in the future.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is a competitive fund delivered coherently by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, joining up the stages of technology development from fundamental research, through innovation to industrial scale-up. Its focus is on the development of new and improved battery technology to address the challenges of future electric vehicles and other applications. The scope of the programme includes the environmental challenges of longer first life, recyclability and reuse of batteries. Upstream issues such as mining are out of scope of the programme.

27th Feb 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of (1) the contribution of soot particles in the atmosphere as agents of global warming, and (2) removing soot from the atmosphere as a means of combating climate change due to global warming; and what action they are taking to reduce soot particles and other short-term climate pollutants from the atmosphere and prevent an increase in such pollutants in (a) the short term, and (b) over a longer period.

Soot particles, also known as black carbon, exert a warming influence on the climate through their enhanced ability to absorb sunlight. They also affect the climate through their impact upon cloud formation and upon the reflectance of the Earth’s surface. These effects make the overall impact of black carbon on the climate less certain.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report in 2013 showed that soot ranks third behind carbon dioxide and methane as a climate warming agent, excluding its influence on clouds. Recent work by the Hadley Centre found that the elimination of soot emissions between 2010 and 2100 could lead to an approximately 0.15 degree centigrade decrease in global mean surface temperature. However, as several measures that reduce black carbon emissions also reduce other emissions of cooling pollutants such as sulphate and brown carbon it may not be technically possible to realise this benefit in full, even if measures could be fully deployed globally.

The government is taking a number of actions to reduce emissions fine particles (PM2.5) for air quality and health reasons which will lead to decreases in emissions of black carbon and reduce wasted energy resources. These include measures to reduce vehicle particle emissions, increasing the efficiency of wood burning stoves through product standards and raising awareness of the benefits of using quality fuel and the implementation of the Non Road Mobile Machinery Regulations.

Other short lived climate pollutants include methane and tropospheric ozone. Reductions of emissions of methane and precursors of ozone are occurring through measures on vehicle and combustion plant emissions and through the natural gas mains replacement programme. In the longer term we have agreed, in the revised Gothenburg Protocol to the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, stringent emission ceilings which constrain total UK emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) and oxides of nitrogen from 2020 onwards. Methane is included in our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Climate Change Act 2008.

9th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps will be taken to mitigate the effects of sand used in the fracking process being released into the atmosphere.

Sand is used in the hydraulic fracturing process to keep the tiny fractures in the shale open. Sand itself does not pose a risk to health, but in some situations where sand is used on well sites the risk of occupational exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) should be considered by the employer. Occupational Health and Safety is under the remit of the Health and Safety Executive, who have issued guidance and advice to help employers manage risks and to raise awareness of the importance of controlling exposure to harmful materials at work.

9th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report from the Dutch Safety Board in February 2015 into the man-made earthquakes in Groningen proven to be a result of shale gas extraction; and what assessment they have made of the parallels that can be drawn in relation to UK geology and the safety of the UK's shale gas operations.

Extraction of shale gas has not induced any earthquakes in Groningen.

The UK has over 50 years’ experience in regulating onshore oil and gas, and strong controls are in place to mitigate seismic risks. Operators have to use all available geological information to assess the location of faults before wells are drilled to avoid hydraulic fracturing near faults. They must then monitor seismic activity in real time, before, during and after operations, and halt injection if seismic activity exceeds a predefined level.

Operators must immediately stop injection if a tremor of magnitude 0.5 or greater is detected, reduce pressure of fluid in the well and then monitor seismicity for 24 hours to determine whether any later events are recorded before any further activity can take place.

This 0.5 threshold has been adopted as an initial precautionary level set on the basis of a report by a group of independent experts, and a tremor of this magnitude would only be detectable at the ground’s surface through the use of sensitive equipment.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of local newspapers' (1) importance to local communities and towns, and (2) economic health and future viability; and what plans they have to provide support to local newspapers.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information. They also play a key role in democratic engagement - last year, government-commissioned research into the importance of newspapers to local communities found that changes in news provision and consumption over time had significant effects on participation in local elections in England, underlining the vital importance of a sustainable local news industry to a properly functioning democracy.

However, as the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism identified, society is increasingly moving online and local news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models. The government agreed with the majority of the Review’s recommendations for supporting the sector, and has already taken steps to implement many of them. Most recently, the government response to the CMA market study into online platforms and digital advertising accepted the case for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. At the heart of this will be a mandatory code of conduct to govern the relationships between dominant firms and those that rely on their services, including news publishers. The code will be a significant intervention in the government’s effort to support the sustainability of the news publishing industry, helping to rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely.

In addition, local newspapers have benefited from a number of other recent interventions, including the extension of business rates relief for local newspapers in England for an additional five years; the investment of £2 million in the Future News Fund; and the zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers. During the pandemic, many newspapers have also benefited from a unique and unprecedented government advertising partnership, designed to deliver important messages to UK citizens. Newspapers received up to £35 million additional government advertising revenue as part of the first phase of our coronavirus communications campaign. The campaign has subsequently been extended with at least 60% funding going to smaller regional and local titles.

We will continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining high-quality news journalism at a local level.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the importance of public swimming pools for the promotion of recreation, health and public safety, (2) the extent of the threat to many of them due to COVID-19 and funding shortfalls, and (3) the need for Government intervention to prevent their closure.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this as soon as we can.


The Government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance. The income scheme announced on Thursday 2 July by the Secretary of State for Local Government, aims to support local authorities who have incurred irrecoverable loss of income from sales, fees and charge which they had reasonably budgeted for. Further guidance will follow on the principle of the scheme.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by ukactive and Community Leisure UK that nearly half of all public leisure centres could close permanently between now and the end of the year due to an estimated shortfall of over £800 million; and what steps they will take to prevent this from happening.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health.

The Government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to reopen sports venues. Grassroots sports facilities like leisure centres are also important parts of their communities and deliver vital health and wellbeing benefits.

The income scheme announced on Thursday 2 July by the Secretary of State for Local Government, aims to support local authorities who have incurred irrecoverable loss of income from sales, fees and charge which they had reasonably budgeted for. Further guidance will follow on the principle of the scheme.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of regional broadcasting in the process of levelling up the regions of England; and what discussions they (1) have had, or (2) intend to have, with the BBC about proposed cuts to English regional television.

Broadcasting plays an important role in reflecting and representing people and communities from all over the UK. The BBC has a particular role to play here. The BBC’s Royal Charter requires the BBC to represent, reflect and serve audiences, taking into account the needs of diverse communities of all the UK nations and regions.

The BBC’s proposed cuts to English regional television were debated in the chamber on 22 June 2020 with unanimous support for regional broadcasting. However, the BBC is editorially and operationally independent of government, and regional programming is a matter for the BBC.

Under the new regulatory system introduced by the government in 2017, the BBC Board must ensure the BBC complies with its Charter duties, and the government established Ofcom as the BBC regulator to ensure the BBC is robustly held to account.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the role of professional and semi-professional football and other sporting clubs in the community life and economy of small and medium-sized towns, and (2) the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial position and future of such clubs; and whether they have plans to provide support to such clubs.

Football clubs form an integral part of this country, with many holding great social and economic value to their local communities. The generosity and care shown by football clubs of all sizes never ceases to amaze with many volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.

Their presence will continue to be vital as we emerge from the pandemic and it is therefore important they are given as much support as possible.

In light of this, the Government announced a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support.

It is also crucial that the football community comes together at this time, and I have underlined our expectation that the resumption of the Premier League and the Championship will benefit the entire football pyramid.

The Government will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities to further understand the difficulties clubs are experiencing.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the requirements for (1) elected councillors, (2) police and crime commissioners, and (3) elected mayors to register under the General Data Protection Regulations.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, those defined as data controllers, which may include elected councillors, police and crime commissioners and elected mayors, are no longer required to notify and register with Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Data controllers are however required to pay an annual charge to the ICO and provide the information necessary to determine that charge unless a relevant exemption applies. The Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, which came into force on the 25th May 2018, introduced a new data protection charge, replacing the previous notification fee, which was associated with the previous legal requirement on data controllers to register with the ICO.

Currently, data controllers do not have to pay the annual data protection charge if they process personal data without an automated system, such as a computer, or if they only process personal data for one (or more) of the following purposes: staff administration; advertising, marketing and public relations; accounts and records; not-for-profit purposes; personal, family or household affairs; maintaining a public register; and judicial functions. Charities and small occupational pension schemes are also automatically subject to the lowest tier of charge.

On 17th December 2018 an amendment to the Regulations was laid in Parliament to introduce a new exemption for the payment of the annual data protection charge for (i) members of the House of Lords; and (ii) elected representatives, as defined in paragraph 23(3) of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 2018 (“the DPA 2018”) in connection with the discharge of their respective functions; and (iii) relevant processing undertaken by candidates (prospective and validly nominated) seeking to become elected representatives. This new exemption would apply specifically to elected councillors, police and crime commissioners and elected mayors.

Subject to Parliamentary processes (and a vote in each House), the exemption will come into force from 1 April 2019.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
7th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential effects of involving social media providers in educating children on the use of social media.

We believe that protecting children online is everyone's responsibility and that social media providers can positively contribute to our aim of making Britain the safest place in the world to be online.

By incorporating online safety messages and highlighting safety tools within their platforms, social media providers can remind children about how to stay safe and help parents understand the best ways of protecting their children.

As part of the work on the Digital Charter announced in the Queen's Speech, the Government is considering a range of options to counter internet harms.

This includes an Internet Safety Strategy which will look at how we can support users so that everyone can access the benefits of the Internet safely. The Strategy, which was published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 11 October, considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government's role in supporting users. The Strategy also considers the role that technology companies can play in awareness and education for users, including children.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
7th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the practice of certain online gambling providers contacting infrequent users via email in order to advise them to return to the service or risk having their accounts frozen and winnings removed; and what assessment they have made of the likely effect of that practice on gambling addiction.

All licensed gambling operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain are required to ensure that the terms on which gambling is offered are fair and open.

As part of a joint programme of work to tackle unfair terms and practices in the gambling industry, the Gambling Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority are investigating the obstacles people face when trying to withdraw their money after gaming or betting online, including ‘dormancy’ charges on players’ accounts after a period of inactivity, or terms which remove all funds from inactive accounts.

It is a further licensing requirement that marketing should be socially responsible, and should not be sent to those who have self-excluded. A new online self-exclusion scheme called ‘Gamstop’ is due to be launched by spring of next year. The scheme will allow customers to self-exclude from all British licensed operators in a single step and will significantly strengthen the self-exclusion arrangements available for online gamblers.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government whether the Community Organisers programme is still in place; if so, (1) to which Government department or agency it is accountable, and (2) in which places it is in operation; if not, when it was brought to a close and on what authority; and for each year in which it has operated, what was the cost.

The Community Organisers programme contract ran from 2010 - 2015. A new Community Organisers Expansion Programme was launched in March 2017 and will run until 2020.

1) The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) contracted the delivery of the Community Organisers Expansion Programme.

2) 20 Social Action Hubs will be appointed across England to train Community Organisers as part of the Expansion Programme. The first 10 hubs have been publicly announced (http://www.corganisers.org.uk/news/launch-2nd-round-funding) and the second 10 will be announced later in 2017.

3) The Community Organisers programme costs for 2010 - 2015 are published in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts which can be found at the link below. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-annual-reports-and-accounts. The Community Organisers Expansion programme costs for the financial year 2016/17 will be published by DCMS in mid July 2017 on the Gov.uk website.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
21st Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the implementation of the concept of the Big Society is still part of their programme, and if so, which initiatives remain and where departmental and ministerial responsibility now lies.

The Big Society programme remains a key manifesto commitment of the government and is a responsibility of all departments.

The government’s vision is to have a more engaged nation where we take greater responsibility for ourselves and for our neighbours.

Programmes such as the National Citizen Service are helping to build a more responsible and more engaged society along with programmes such as Community Organisers, which is bringing local people together to take action on issues they care about. These are two examples of the current initiatives that are taking place.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Feb 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the National Media Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Photographic Society, Bradford City Council, and any other relevant bodies, about the move of 400,000 items from Bradford to London; and whether they have offered any advice on that matter.

DCMS museums operate at arm’s length from government and the transfer of objects between national museums is a matter for the boards of the museums. The transfer of part of the Royal Photographic Society’s collection has been carefully considered by the Trustees of the Science Museum, who approved the transfer of the objects to the V&A, with the Royal Photographic Society also approving the transfer. The Department was informed of this in December 2015. Bradford City Council was regularly consulted while the matter was under consideration.

The National Media Museum took this decision in order to focus its offering more effectively, while ensuring that the Royal Photographic Collection is preserved.The V&A intend to store, digitise and make the photographic collection available as part of its planned International Photography Resource Centre, which will provide the public with a world-class facility to access the consolidated collection.

18th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the role of (1) the Department for Culture, Media And Sport, (2) the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (3) the Department of Health, (4) the Department for Education, and (5) the Department for Communities and Local Government, in the promotion of non-competitive outdoor activities; the provision of, and access to, outdoor green spaces, and the development of healthier life styles by involvement in such activities and the use of such spaces; what priority they give to the promotion of such activities; and which is the lead department in this area.

Government recognises the importance of cross-government cooperation in considering policies which impact on the provision, access and promotion of outside spaces. There is not one single government department, which that leads on the promotion of healthier lifestyles through non-competitive outdoor recreation activities. Instead, Government departments jointly recognise the value of outdoor recreation to health, environment and education. Outdoor recreation is referenced in the Government’s new sport and physical activity strategy, which was published on 17th December 2015. Government will submit a formal annual report to Parliament, which sets out progress in implementing this strategy later this year. Individual government department’s involvement in outdoor activities is outlined below:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The importance of outdoor recreation is reflected in our new sport and physical activity strategy, published in December 2015. Sport England is currently working with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) on the ‘Getting Active Outdoors’ insight report - the largest ever of its kind - to get the nation active - particularly children, pensioners and women. In the meantime, Sport England is investing over £68 million in outdoor recreation sports, including £3 million invested in the Britain on Foot campaign, to get more people hillwalking, trail running and mountaineering.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs holds policy responsibility for the legal and land-use aspects of access to the countryside (in forests, protected landscapes, on public rights of way, commons, town and village greens, open access spaces and on waterways).

The Department of Health

The Department of Health acknowledges the health benefits of being in a natural environment are significant and that it is important that children have opportunities to play in clean, secure outdoor environments. The department recognises the importance of outdoor activities and they have included an indicator on use of green space for exercise and health purposes in the Public Health Outcomes Framework. The health promotes outdoor physical activity through a variety of channels, which includes: Change4Life Sports Clubs - a programme providing indoor and outdoor non-competitive physical activity to the least active children; the 10 Minute Shake Up campaign - Change4Life teamed up with Disney to inspire children to get active with over the summers of 2014 and 2015; providing funding of over 1million to Play England for a three year project ‘Street Play’ to promote outdoor play activities; and National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) guidance to promoting outdoor physical activity.

The Department for Education

The Department for Education are is determined that all children lead healthy active lives. Physical Education is compulsory at all four key stages in the national curriculum for maintained schools. The programmes of study at key stages 2, 3 and 4 sets out the expectation that pupils should take part in outdoor adventurous activities. At key stage 4 these activities should take place in a range of environments and present intellectual and physical challenges. Independent research on the primary PE and sport premium demonstrates that some schools are using their funding to provide enhanced opportunities for their pupils in this area – including rock-climbing, surfing and sailing. The Department does not specifically promote non-competitive outdoor activities as teachers have the freedom to organise and deliver the curriculum to ensure it is challenging and effectively meets programme of study.

The Department for Communities and Local Government

The Department for Communities and Local Government role in outdoor recreation is community focussed. It recognises that Parks, sports grounds and other green spaces, which are shared by lots of people, holds great benefits to the health and wellbeing of local communities. We want local communities to be empowered to play a significant role in maintaining and protecting green spaces of most importance to them. The Department owns the Green Flag Award scheme, a recognised accreditation setting the national standard for parks and green spaces across the UK, which is currently run under licence by Keep Britain Tidy. The scheme awards well-managed green spaces run by the local authority and has a separate category for community managed green spaces. The Department is currently running a Pocket Parks programme to establish up to 100 pocket parks – small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from city streets. It is expected that an announcement of the successful projects will be made in February. Through the Community Right to Bid, communities are listing the parks and green spaces that are important to them. Hundreds have been listed including allotments and playing fields.

8th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what statutory duties local authorities have to provide library and library-related services.

The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 places a duty on local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. It is for individual local authorities to determine how best to provide this.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their requirements for the continuation of the UK's participation in the Erasmus+ programme beyond the 2021/22 academic year; whether they have any plans for a UK-only scheme if an agreement for such participation is not reached; and if so, what are the (1) principles, and (2) requirements, of any such scheme.

As part of our negotiations with the EU about our future relationship, the government considered the EU programmes with which the UK was involved and decided whether or not we should continue to seek participation in these programmes.

Our public mandate set out that we would consider options for participation in elements of Erasmus+ on a time-limited basis, provided that the terms were in the UK’s interests. Unfortunately, the only terms on offer would have meant that the UK would have been likely to pay in around £2 billion more than we would get out over the term of the next programme. The government decided that that would not have provided value for money and be in the interests of the UK taxpayer.

Instead, as an independent and sovereign country, we will proceed with the introduction of a new international educational exchange scheme which has a genuinely global reach and which increases social mobility.

The newly announced Turing scheme, which replaces the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, will allow thousands of students to study and take part in work placements in the EU and beyond. The scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

The new scheme will also target students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus+, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country.

The programme will provide similar opportunities for students to study and work abroad as the Erasmus+ programme, but it will include countries across the world, and it aims to deliver greater value for money to taxpayers.

The government will set out further details in the coming weeks.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether having (1) settled status, or (2) pre-settled status, is a sufficient qualification for an application for a student loan; and if not, why not.

We have agreed with the European Union (EU) that current EU principles of equal treatment will continue to apply for those people covered by the citizens’ rights provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement. This means that EU nationals resident in the UK before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will be eligible for support on a similar basis to domestic students.

EU nationals with settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme must meet the relevant residency requirements when they start their course in order to access home fee status and student financial support.

Other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals benefiting from citizens’ rights under the EEA European Free Trade Association Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively, and meeting the relevant residency requirements, will continue to have access to student finance on the same basis as now.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require all schools to ensure that children know the Countryside Code and the need to adhere to it.

Maintained schools are required to teach the national curriculum as part of their wider school curriculum. Details of the national curriculum subjects and content of programmes of study for each can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum.

Academies are not required to follow the national curriculum, though they are expected to teach a curriculum that is similar in breadth and ambition, and are required by their funding agreements to teach English, mathematics, science and religious education.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

While it is not a prescribed topic in the national curriculum, all state-funded schools have the flexibility within their school curriculum to teach about the Countryside Code if they choose to do so, through for example:

  • Citizenship teaches young people about their responsibilities as adults also includes opportunities for active citizenship, for example, forms of volunteering to support a cause or their local community.
  • As part of the science curriculum, children are taught about the scientific concepts that relate to the environment. In primary science, pupils are taught about habitats of plants and animals and about how environments can change. This can include positive and negative impact of human actions, such as nature reserves or littering. This is further developed in secondary science, where pupils are taught about ecosystems and biodiversity.
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they are giving to schools in England on the process for reopening for the autumn term.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their wellbeing to have social interactions with their teachers and friends. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September.

Within the next two weeks, we will publish further information and guidance to help schools prepare for September. We will be guided by the latest scientific advice and are working with the sector to ensure our guidance provides schools with the further details they need, including any protective measures that may be necessary to keep children and teachers as safe as possible, staffing advice and transport considerations.

18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how the ability of schools in England to reopen in September will be affected by (1) social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures, (2) staffing levels, (3) accommodation capacity, and (4) financial resources; and whether responsibility for these matters lies with (a) schools, (b) the Department for Education, (c) local authorities, (d) regional schools commissioners, or (e) academy trusts.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their wellbeing to have social interactions with their teachers and friends. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September.

Within the next two weeks, we will publish further information and guidance to help schools prepare for September. We will be guided by the latest scientific advice and are working with the sector to ensure our guidance provides schools with the further details they need, including any protective measures that may be necessary to keep children and teachers as safe as possible, staffing advice and transport considerations.

19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the physical and operational requirements for the safe return of all students to schools at the start of the autumn term; and what discussions they have had with (1) school authorities, and (2) school staff, (3) trade unions representing teachers and other staff, (4) local authorities,(5) representatives of academies and academy chains, and (6) representatives of independent schools, about those requirements.

The department’s approach to facilitating the safe return of all students at the start of the new 2020-21 academic year is underpinned by the government’s assessment of the latest scientific advice that indicates a need to take a phased approach to their return. This is why we have limited numbers of children returning before the summer break into nurseries and schools, with numbers only to increase as the science permits.

To help support nurseries and schools to plan and prepare for the return of their children, the department has recently published a range of detailed guidance for each type of setting on how to implement protective measures. This includes effective infection protection and control for direct and indirect transmission as well as a list of actions for settings to complete before reopening, in addition to guidance on actions for childcare and educational settings to prepare for wider opening. All of the department’s COVID-19 guidance for nurseries and schools, including that on implementing protective measures and preparing settings to reopen, can be found in one place on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

We continue to keep this guidance under review so any operational issues arising in nurseries and schools are addressed, key lessons to be learnt are captured and acted on, and best practice is actively shared.

Leading up to and since the commencement of the wider opening of nurseries and schools on 1 June (the latter to children in Reception and, years 1 and 6), and in preparation for the return of years 10 and 12 students to secondary schools with effect from 15 June, the department’s Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) have been, and remain, in regular contact with local authorities (Directors of Children’s Services and/or their representatives) and academy trusts in England to discuss local plans and issues, and to offer them support.

The department also continues to engage with education unions, professional associations and those other national representative bodies who represent headteachers and college principals, teachers and lecturers, school and other education setting support staff, school and college governors and local authority chief officers.

Additionally, the Independent Schools Council and the Boarding Schools Association have been, and remain, actively involved in discussions with both Department for Education officials and with ministers on the opening up of their members’ schools to more students.

19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the implications of resetting the last academic year so that the 2019–20 curriculum starts again at the start of the autumn term this year, in the event of most students in schools not being able to return until that time or later; and whether any advance planning for such a reset is taking place.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). This is the first step in a cautious and phased approach to fully reopening schools.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

The department has issued guidance on remote education during the COVID-19 outbreak and has supported The Oak National Academy, an initiative led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and online resources to be used by any teacher in the country for every year group from Reception to year 10. Additionally, the BBC has developed resources as part of a comprehensive new education package available on TV via the red button, on iPlayer and online.

The department continues to work with the education sector on how best to make up for time spent out of school. We are not, however, expecting children and young people to have to restart the academic year in the autumn term.

16th Jul 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the (1) funding, and (2) operation, of the Erasmus+ programme; and what guidance they have provided to UK organisations which participate in that programme about preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit.

We recognise that institutions and individuals are concerned about the impacts of EU exit on staff and student mobility. Following the extension of Article 50, the European Commission has made clear that the UK continues to participate fully in the current programme and has reiterated that ‘the future withdrawal of the United Kingdom cannot be invoked as a justification to cancel a Key Action 1 mobility started (or planned to be started) while the United Kingdom is still a Member State’. This should provide welcome reassurance to participants, providers and our partners in the EU.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK entities' right to participate in EU programmes during the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), such as Erasmus+, will be unaffected by the UK's withdrawal from the EU for the lifetime of projects financed by the current MFF.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the government will engage with the European Commission with the aim of securing the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ until the end of 2020.

The HMG guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ bids submitted before the end of 2020 and it commits the government to underwriting funding for the entire lifetime of the projects. Successful bids are ones that are approved directly by the Commission or by the UK National Agency and ratified by the Commission. Attached guidance for Erasmus+ beneficiaries on how to register for the guarantee was published in April on GOV.UK at https://bit.ly/2HimZlD. Attached latest news on the possible impact of Brexit on the programme is available on the UK National Agency website at https://bit.ly/2ItnGaE and this includes the UK Government's Frequently Asked Questions relating to the guidance.

Furthermore, the Commission’s Erasmus+ contingency Regulation establishes that students abroad on exit day will not see their mobilities disrupted, even in a no deal scenario. The Regulation applies to mobility activities starting at the latest on the date of withdrawal (31 October 2019) and which take place in the United Kingdom or involve entities or participants from the United Kingdom.

Data on number of Erasmus+ participants by participating organisations is only available for Higher Education mobility. Figures for the last 5 academic years can be found in Table 2 in the ‘Erasmus+ UK Higher Education Statistics 2017’ attached, available on the ‘Project Mobilities and Outputs’ section of the website at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics. Figures for the number of people from the UK participating in 2019-20 will be published by the National Agency in due course.

Data on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme as well as participation from outside the UK is available on the European Commission’s website. Figures for the last 5 academic years have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available at the following links:

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/4e5c3e1c-1f0b-11e9-8d04-01aa75ed71a1 (‘Statistical annex 2017’, pages 20 – 51);

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/49350560-0d56-11e8-966a-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (‘Statistical annex 2016’, pages 22-47);

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/sites/erasmusplus2/files/erasmus-plus-annual-report-2015-annex-1_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2015’, annex 5A – 10B);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/ar-statistical-annex_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2014’, table 3.7);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/erasmus-plus-facts-figures_en.pdf. (‘Statistical annex 2013-2014’, page 34).

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jul 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people (1) from, and (2) outside of the, UK have participated in the Erasmus+ programme at participating organisations in (a) the UK, and (b) other countries, in each of the last five academic years; and how many such people are expected to participate in 2019–20.

We recognise that institutions and individuals are concerned about the impacts of EU exit on staff and student mobility. Following the extension of Article 50, the European Commission has made clear that the UK continues to participate fully in the current programme and has reiterated that ‘the future withdrawal of the United Kingdom cannot be invoked as a justification to cancel a Key Action 1 mobility started (or planned to be started) while the United Kingdom is still a Member State’. This should provide welcome reassurance to participants, providers and our partners in the EU.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK entities' right to participate in EU programmes during the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), such as Erasmus+, will be unaffected by the UK's withdrawal from the EU for the lifetime of projects financed by the current MFF.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the government will engage with the European Commission with the aim of securing the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ until the end of 2020.

The HMG guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ bids submitted before the end of 2020 and it commits the government to underwriting funding for the entire lifetime of the projects. Successful bids are ones that are approved directly by the Commission or by the UK National Agency and ratified by the Commission. Attached guidance for Erasmus+ beneficiaries on how to register for the guarantee was published in April on GOV.UK at https://bit.ly/2HimZlD. Attached latest news on the possible impact of Brexit on the programme is available on the UK National Agency website at https://bit.ly/2ItnGaE and this includes the UK Government's Frequently Asked Questions relating to the guidance.

Furthermore, the Commission’s Erasmus+ contingency Regulation establishes that students abroad on exit day will not see their mobilities disrupted, even in a no deal scenario. The Regulation applies to mobility activities starting at the latest on the date of withdrawal (31 October 2019) and which take place in the United Kingdom or involve entities or participants from the United Kingdom.

Data on number of Erasmus+ participants by participating organisations is only available for Higher Education mobility. Figures for the last 5 academic years can be found in Table 2 in the ‘Erasmus+ UK Higher Education Statistics 2017’ attached, available on the ‘Project Mobilities and Outputs’ section of the website at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics. Figures for the number of people from the UK participating in 2019-20 will be published by the National Agency in due course.

Data on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme as well as participation from outside the UK is available on the European Commission’s website. Figures for the last 5 academic years have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available at the following links:

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/4e5c3e1c-1f0b-11e9-8d04-01aa75ed71a1 (‘Statistical annex 2017’, pages 20 – 51);

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/49350560-0d56-11e8-966a-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (‘Statistical annex 2016’, pages 22-47);

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/sites/erasmusplus2/files/erasmus-plus-annual-report-2015-annex-1_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2015’, annex 5A – 10B);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/ar-statistical-annex_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2014’, table 3.7);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/erasmus-plus-facts-figures_en.pdf. (‘Statistical annex 2013-2014’, page 34).

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jul 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of uncertainties relating to the UK leaving the EU and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on the Erasmus+ programme; and which organisations which participate in the Erasmus+ programme in (1) the UK, and (2) other countries, have withdrawn from that scheme for 2019–20 for people coming (a) to, and (b) from, the UK.

We recognise that institutions and individuals are concerned about the impacts of EU exit on staff and student mobility. Following the extension of Article 50, the European Commission has made clear that the UK continues to participate fully in the current programme and has reiterated that ‘the future withdrawal of the United Kingdom cannot be invoked as a justification to cancel a Key Action 1 mobility started (or planned to be started) while the United Kingdom is still a Member State’. This should provide welcome reassurance to participants, providers and our partners in the EU.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK entities' right to participate in EU programmes during the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), such as Erasmus+, will be unaffected by the UK's withdrawal from the EU for the lifetime of projects financed by the current MFF.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the government will engage with the European Commission with the aim of securing the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ until the end of 2020.

The HMG guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ bids submitted before the end of 2020 and it commits the government to underwriting funding for the entire lifetime of the projects. Successful bids are ones that are approved directly by the Commission or by the UK National Agency and ratified by the Commission. Attached guidance for Erasmus+ beneficiaries on how to register for the guarantee was published in April on GOV.UK at https://bit.ly/2HimZlD. Attached latest news on the possible impact of Brexit on the programme is available on the UK National Agency website at https://bit.ly/2ItnGaE and this includes the UK Government's Frequently Asked Questions relating to the guidance.

Furthermore, the Commission’s Erasmus+ contingency Regulation establishes that students abroad on exit day will not see their mobilities disrupted, even in a no deal scenario. The Regulation applies to mobility activities starting at the latest on the date of withdrawal (31 October 2019) and which take place in the United Kingdom or involve entities or participants from the United Kingdom.

Data on number of Erasmus+ participants by participating organisations is only available for Higher Education mobility. Figures for the last 5 academic years can be found in Table 2 in the ‘Erasmus+ UK Higher Education Statistics 2017’ attached, available on the ‘Project Mobilities and Outputs’ section of the website at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics. Figures for the number of people from the UK participating in 2019-20 will be published by the National Agency in due course.

Data on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme as well as participation from outside the UK is available on the European Commission’s website. Figures for the last 5 academic years have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available at the following links:

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/4e5c3e1c-1f0b-11e9-8d04-01aa75ed71a1 (‘Statistical annex 2017’, pages 20 – 51);

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/49350560-0d56-11e8-966a-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (‘Statistical annex 2016’, pages 22-47);

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/sites/erasmusplus2/files/erasmus-plus-annual-report-2015-annex-1_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2015’, annex 5A – 10B);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/ar-statistical-annex_en.pdf (‘Statistical annex 2014’, table 3.7);

http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/library/statistics/erasmus-plus-facts-figures_en.pdf. (‘Statistical annex 2013-2014’, page 34).

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether schools are allowed to provide different food to those in receipt of free school meals compared to other pupils; whether children of immigrant parents whose passports are stamped “no recourse to public funds” are entitled to free school meals if the family income would otherwise qualify; and whether children of asylum seekers are entitled to free school meals.

Compliance with the attached School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014, we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements. All meals provided must meet the School Food Standards.

It is not acceptable for schools to stigmatise pupils by limiting choice for free school meal pupils at lunchtime. The vast majority of schools and caterers already make use of cashless systems and other methods to ensure that children who are eligible for free school meals are not identified separately.

Free school meals are available to disadvantaged families in receipt of certain qualifying benefits. Decisions as to whether immigrants or refugees have recourse to public funds are made by the Home Office. Those granted refugee status can access full mainstream benefits, and asylum seekers receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act (1999) are also entitled to free school meals.

The Home Office is able to exercise discretion to grant recourse to public funds where the family would otherwise be destitute. Where this entitles the family to receive certain benefits they may also be able to claim free school meals.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current position of the Erasmus+ scheme (1) in this year, and (2) in future years; and in what ways Brexit has affected that scheme.

The government values international exchange and collaboration in education and training as part of its vision for a global Britain. Irrespective of the outcome of Article 50 negotiations with the EU, the government wants UK and European countries to continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities post-exit.

Under the terms of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, UK organisations and participants will continue to be able to take part in the Erasmus+ Programme this year and in the future up to the end of the current Multiannual Financial Framework.

While securing a negotiated deal remains the government’s top priority, we are committed to ensuring that organisations, students and participating staff are prepared in the event of a no deal EU exit. To provide more clarity, we published a new technical notice at the end of January, which provides detailed guidance to organisations and students on the UK’s anticipated participation in the current Erasmus+ programme (2014-20) in the event of no deal. The technical notice, attached, can be found at: https://bit.ly/2GaP28y.

As is set out in this notice, the government’s underwrite guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK organisations for all successful (those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the National Agency and ratified by the European Commission) Erasmus+ bids. This includes projects and participants that are only informed of their success, or who sign a grant agreement, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and commits to underwrite funding for the entire lifetime of the projects.

The UK is open to participating in the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27). We have been considering the draft regulation for the successor scheme carefully and have been actively participating in discussions on this. Ultimately, participation in the successor programme is a matter for negotiations to come about our future relationship with the EU.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
14th Mar 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether free sanitary products will be made available in primary schools.

No one should be held back from reaching their potential because of their gender or background. That is why my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Spring Statement on 13 March 2019 that the Department for Education will lead a scheme to provide access to free sanitary products in all secondary schools and colleges in England. As we develop the plans, we will consider options for supporting primary school children.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
7th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, independently of any input from the main providers of social media, to educate young people on (1) the potential dangers of social media, and (2) the appropriate and potentially socially beneficial use of social media.

The new computing curriculum, introduced in September 2014, sets the expectation that children in England are taught how to use technology safely, responsibly and securely.

From key stage 1 onwards, children in maintained schools are taught how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies such as social media apps. From key stage 2, this includes how to recognise acceptable or unacceptable behaviour. Additionally from key stage 2, children in maintained schools are taught how to be discerning in evaluating digital content.

Central to the aims of the computing curriculum is that pupils become digitally literate and are able to use, express themselves and develop their ideas, through information and communication technology. The curriculum sets the expectation that children understand computer networks, about the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration; and to recognise common uses of information technology beyond school.

Furthermore, as provided in the Children and Social Work Act 2017, the Department for Education is progressing work on making Relationships Education for all primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education for all secondary schools, mandatory through regulations. We have begun a process of engagement with stakeholders to determine the right, age-appropriate content for these subjects. We will consult on draft regulations and guidance next year. The guidance for both subjects will consider safe online relationships.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
26th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to expand the provision of courses in organic and agroecological practices in agricultural colleges and other appropriate institutions.

The Government is not responsible for deciding which courses further education institutions deliver. This is the responsibility of the institutions themselves who will take account of Government priorities as well as skills demands identified by local stakeholders and employers.

As part of our reforms to technical education, we are establishing a common framework of 15 technical education routes that encompass all employment-based and college-based training. The implementation of the routes will be phased, and the Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care route will be rolled out in September 2022. Within the routes will sit new T level qualifications. As with all the routes, the content of T levels within the Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care route will be determined by advisory groups of employers, professionals and practitioners.

On 11 October the government published a T level Action Plan, which set out progress on the technical education reforms. Later this year, the Government will hold a public consultation on the new T level qualifications.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the report Locked out of learning published by Refugee Action in March; and in what ways they have responded to its recommendations.

The Government welcomes the report published by Refugee Action earlier this year, highlighting for example, the need for a dedicated fund to support refugees to learn English.

The Government will provide up to £10 million over five years to support refugees learning English who have come to the UK as part of the Vulnerable People’s Relocation Scheme. This is in addition to the funding provided to local councils as part of this scheme, which also covers English language training.

Since September this year all local councils resettling Syrian families are required to provide a minimum of eight hours formal tuition a week within a month of arrival, for a period of 12 months or until the individual reaches English for Speakers of Other Languages entry level 3.

In addition, all adults who are granted refugee status or humanitarian protection are eligible for the same skills funding as any other English resident.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Apr 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to safeguard the future of nursery schools in the UK and ensure that they can continue to provide the education and social skills needed for early years development, whilst offering a safe environment for children.

Maintained nursery schools make a valuable contribution to improving the lives of some of our most disadvantaged children.

We are providing local authorities with supplementary funding of £55 million per year to enable them to maintain existing levels of nursery school funding at least to the end of this Parliament. Details of the funding can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-national-funding-formula-allocations-and-guidance

We have recently completed a data assurance exercise that will ensure that local authorities receive the correct amount of supplementary funding, and we will consult on the future of maintained nursery schools in due course.

11th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what instructions, guidance, or other advice, they are giving to primary schools about the promotion of silent reading, reading for pleasure, and reading novels, and about teachers reading books to younger classes.

In the next five years, the Government wants children in this country to become the best readers in Europe. We are determined to make sure that every child, no matter where they live or what their background, learns to read well and read widely. We have made improving the teaching of reading a priority, and reforms to the education system have been designed to help every child become a confident, fluent and enthusiastic reader.

We have placed phonics at the heart of the early teaching of reading.The result from this year’s phonics screening check show that, three years on from its introduction, 120,000 more six-year-olds are now on track to become excellent readers.

In March 2015 the Department published ‘Reading: Next Steps’ which sets out the Government’s approach to reading and how we will support schools to improve reading standards and promote reading for pleasure. A copy of the document can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reading-supporting-higher-standards-in-schools

The reformed national curriculum for English introduced in 2014 clearly states that teachers are expected to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. Within the national curriculum, programmes of study for English have been developed to emphasise the importance of reading for pleasure, including reading whole books. Teachers at key stage 1 should make sure that pupils listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, poems, plays and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently to help develop pupils’ pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding. Programmes of study in English at key stage 2 set out that pupils should be able to read silently with good understanding. The programmes of study for English can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study

To inspire thousands more pupils to develop a love of literature and improve their spoken language skills, we are a funding The Reading Agency during 2015-16 to help 200 primary schools set-up book clubs. The book clubs are being established in primary schools where reading attainment is currently low and there are high numbers of disadvantaged pupils. These schools will also enrol their Year 3 pupils with a public library.

In addition, we are funding The Poetry Archive during 2015-16 to produce teaching resources to help primary teachers to introduce poetry recitation to their pupils at an early age.

We are also getting behind the ‘Read On. Get On.’ campaign of corporate, public and charitable sector organisations working together to drive improvement to children’s literacy.

4th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what role Sure Start Children’s Centres will play in the implementation of their policy to double free childcare for working parents of three and four year-olds.

We expect to consult on the extended entitlement for three- and four-year-old children of working parents; and we will consider the role that Sure Start Children’s Centres might play. Further details will be announced in due course.

4th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent any further closures of Sure Start Children’s Centres.

It is up to local authorities to decide how to organise and commission services from children’s centres in their areas. They are best placed to understand local needs and the different ways they can be supported locally. Local authorities must demonstrate that they have devised ways to ensure that services continue; what matters is the quality and impact of services, and how local needs are being supported.

We are clear in statutory guidance that there is a presumption against closure, and local authorities have a duty to consult where changes are planned to local children’s centre provision.

1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the two per cent increase in the number of fly-tipping incidents dealt with by local authorities in England in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19; and what plans they have to address fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is a crime which blights local communities and the environment, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable behaviour.

We have not made an assessment of the 2019/20 fly-tipping statistics for England published by Defra. A detailed breakdown of the incidents reported by local authorities is however available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

We continue to work with partners to tackle this crime. In recent years we have bolstered local authorities' powers to tackle fly-tipping, such as by introducing the power to issue fixed penalty notices and to stop and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.

Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime. We committed to strengthen sentences for fly-tipping and to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle this crime. We also committed to increasing penalties for fly-tipping in our manifesto.

Budget 2020 allocated up to £2million to support innovative solutions to tackle fly-tipping. We are exploring funding opportunities and priorities at this stage, including considering the role of digital solutions.

We are also preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, which will help to tackle fly-tipping. We are taking forward the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult later this year. We also intend to consult on the introduction of mandatory electronic waste tracking. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and to reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to issue a new version of the Countryside Code; if so, when; and what plans they have to launch a publicity campaign directed at people who are likely to use the UK countryside and coast for holidays in 2021, to offer advice on appropriate activities and behaviour.

Natural England is working on a refresh of the Countryside Code alongside stakeholders, and a relaunch of advice to the public is planned for Easter. The launch at Easter will mark the beginning of a year-long piece of work with stakeholders and partners to promote the Code more widely and look at how we can best encourage positive behaviours. We want to make the code inclusive and welcoming, to make sure that people are aware that nature is available to all, and that they understand how they can respect and protect the countryside.

25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the planned schedules for the completion of the England Coast Path.

Restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in some delays to the England Coast Path programme. It is still Defra’s intention, however, to have all stretches either open or with establishment works started by the end of 2021.

By the end of April, proposals for 99% of the path will have been published by Natural England. To date 1,483 miles (55%) of proposals for stretches of the England Coast Path have been approved by Secretary of State, 401 miles (15%) of which are already open to the public.

As further stretches are ready for opening, this will be published.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Great North Bog Initiative.

The Government is committed to the restoration and sustainable management of England's peat. England's peatlands store around 580 million tonnes of carbon but are emitting around 9.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year. Restoration, through initiatives such as the Great North Bog, is a crucial tool in combating climate change and achieving the Government's aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

We have engaged with the development of the Great North Bog from an early stage. Restoration of these habitats can achieve multiple natural capital benefits, including havens for rare wildlife and flood protection. We have already invested a significant amount of our early Nature for Climate funding in peatland restoration projects in Great North Bog areas, including the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and the North Pennines AONB.

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 forthcoming England Tree Strategy will include support for rewilding schemes based on natural regeneration in appropriate areas.

Natural regeneration has the potential to be a powerful and cost-effective approach for woodland creation when enabled on appropriate sites, as an alternative to or complementing conventional planting. We will publish more detail on our plans to support natural regeneration and colonisation to help create and expand our woodlands when we launch our England tree strategy in the spring.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their proposed schemes to encourage new entrants into farming will provide new funding for county and unitary authorities to acquire more land to add to existing county farm estates; and whether they are discouraging local authorities from any further disposal of county farms.

This Government values the role that county farm estates play in providing a route into farming for new entrants. We want to encourage local authorities to retain and invest in their farm estates. That is why we are developing a new entrant funding scheme to create lasting opportunities for new entrants to access the land, infrastructure and support they need to establish successful and innovative businesses.

We want to encourage applications from local authorities, cooperative and community land organisations, local partnerships, and private and institutional landowners who have innovative ideas and the capability to provide long-term opportunities for talented new entrants.

The details of the scheme including the funding criteria are being developed through a consultative co-design process with stakeholders which includes representatives of local authorities with county farm estates. We aim to report more details about the scheme in the summer of 2021 and launch the scheme in 2022.

12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission Farming for Change—Mapping a route to 2030, published on 7 January.

Defra has not yet assessed the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission's report in detail. However, we will certainly digest it fully in due course and consider the impact on our work of its findings and recommendations.

Our future policy will help farmers continue to provide a supply of healthy, home-grown produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards. Furthermore, our plans for future farming must tackle climate change. This is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. So, as we design our future agricultural policy, we can deliver the pace of change on land management for environmental benefits that the EU has never managed to achieve. Our farmers and land managers will play a crucial role in the national effort to reach Net Zero and our policies will help them do that.

Domestically, reaching our Net Zero target is one of this Government's top priorities. We know that reaching Net Zero will be a challenge, requiring action across the economy. This will mean changes to the way land is managed to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. We will support the sector to make these changes through the schemes set out in this plan. Simultaneously, we need to protect and increase our carbon stores, increasing afforestation and peat restoration rates across England, whilst supporting the adaptiveness and resilience of these ecosystems to risks which may arise under a changing climate. All three components of our new Environmental Land Management scheme will help deliver on this.

Our Environmental Land Management scheme is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. It is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Farmers and land managers will be paid to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.

The Government is committed to taking action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impact. Defra is looking at ways to reduce agricultural emissions controlled directly within the farm boundary, considering a broad range of measures including improvements in on-farm efficiency. Improvements in agricultural practice mean that since 1990 we are producing a kilo of pork with 37% less emissions. Efficiency gains in dairy farming mean that we are now producing 9% more milk than we were in 2000 with 23% fewer cows. The Government recognises the importance of reducing emissions further in these sectors.

12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) whether they plan to reduce the amount of food imported to the UK, (2) if so, what their target is for such a reduction, and (3) how they plan to achieve any such reduction.

Our food security depends on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports from stable sources. We produce 64% of our entire food supply need, and that increases to 77% for indigenous food that we can grow or rear here in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have been steady over the past 20 years.

UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements our excellent domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK’s overall security of supply.

30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the England Peat Strategy.

In the 25 Year Environment Plan, we committed to publishing an England Peat Strategy to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England. It will set out a holistic plan for the management, protection and restoration of our upland and lowland peatlands so that they deliver benefits for climate and nature. We expect to publish the strategy in early 2021.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the rate of (1) erosion, and (2) widening, of footpaths in upland, coastal and other popular areas due to any increased usage during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to provide extra funding to national parks and other relevant authorities for any resulting extra costs for the repair and maintenance of such footpaths.

The maintenance of public rights of way is a local issue and local authorities are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) to plan improvements to the existing rights of way network in their area.

Local authorities receive most of their rights of way funding from central Government through the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) to deliver various duties, including ROWIPs. It is not ring-fenced, and we cannot say how much of the RSG authorities should spend on ROWIPs. It is up to local authorities to manage their own budgets and decide how much they should spend on their different duties and for local people to hold them to account.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on the eradication of Japanese Knotweed; and what programmes of action they are proposing for 2021.

Our research into an effective method of controlling Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) continues. The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) has successfully collected better climatically matched populations of the psyllid, Aphalara itadori, from Japan, and is currently evaluating it as a biological control agent for Japanese knotweed in the UK.

In 2021 we will continue to work closely with the CABI on researching and developing biological control methods for this species. Until such a method is found, long term management, using physical and chemical methods, and good biosecurity, to prevent spread, will remain essential.

10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the The State of the Planet address by the United Nations Secretary-General at Columbia University on 2 December.

The Secretary General's speech was the latest of a number of clarion calls he has made for action to address the biodiversity and climate change crises we face today.

The Government shares the Secretary General's concern. That is why the UK helped drive discussions to deliver the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, which was signed by 77 countries (including the UK) at the UN General Assembly in September, setting out urgent actions to tackle the international biodiversity and climate crises. In addition, as the Secretary General highlighted, the UK has already put in place commitments to deliver on many of his imperatives domestically. These include our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050 and the replacement of existing area based agricultural payments so that farmers will in future be paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife.

The need for a green and resilient recovery from the current pandemic is something which the UK is firmly committed to and the ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which we published in November, will be central to delivering that. Whether in terms of delivering more renewable energy and lower emissions or additional protection of our natural environment, our plan will deliver on many of the Secretary General's calls and demonstrates UK leadership in doing so.

As the Secretary General outlined, 2020 was meant to be a "super year" for both biodiversity and the climate. That focus has now shifted to next year and we are committed to using the opportunities provided by our G7 Presidency and our Presidency of the UNFCCC CoP26, as well as opportunities provided by the CBD CoP 15, the UN Food Systems Summit and the UN Decade of Ecosystem restoration which will be launched in 2021, to demonstrate UK leadership and to drive global actions, not just words to address the crises.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to establish, and (2) to publish, a register of participants of the Environmental Land Management Scheme; if so, where any such register will be published; and whether any such register will include detail on the scheme (a) requirements, and (b) participant’s (i) land holdings, (ii) land area, (iii) land managers, (iv) joining date, and (v) other relevant matters.

Section 2(8) of the Agriculture Act 2020 provides the Secretary of State with the power to make regulations requiring the Secretary of State or another person to publish specified information about any financial assistance that has been given under the Act.

In August 2020, Defra conducted a targeted consultation inviting the views of stakeholders on a proposed Financial Assistance Statutory Instrument which would require the publication of detailed beneficiary information of those participating in the Environmental Land Management National Pilot. Defra is currently considering the responses submitted during the consultation ahead of introducing the Statutory Instrument for Parliament to consider ahead of the launch of the National Pilot in 2021. A response to the views received on the consultation document will be shared with stakeholders in due course.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they prioritise measures (1) to reduce carbon emissions, and (2) to conserve habitats; whether more priority is given to one over the other; and if so, how they decide the differing level of priority.

The climate and biodiversity crises are linked, and this Government believes they have to be tackled together. Globally, climate change is the third biggest driver of biodiversity loss, while biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation further exacerbate climate change - releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere and reducing our ability to adapt to a changing climate.

As we develop our plans to deliver our world-leading net zero target at home, we will need to progress climate change and biodiversity objectives together. For example, we will need to balance land use change for mitigation purposes such as planting trees, with enhancing the natural environment and improving food security. Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are working closely together to ensure that this balance is met.

The Government has introduced significant new funding for nature restoration to address climate change, but this does not detract from our biodiversity goals - the funding is additional and complementary. We prioritise funding for ecosystems that provide the greatest contribution to our emissions targets, following the underlying science. Our assessment is that, on land, restoring degraded peatlands and appropriately creating and managing multi-purpose woodlands will offer the greatest benefits for tackling climate change, while also contributing to biodiversity goals, addressing these challenges together. Our Nature for Climate Fund is therefore providing £640 million over the course of this Parliament for the creation, restoration and management of woodland and peatland habitats.

We have a range of funding streams that support conservation of other habitats and wider biodiversity goals. This includes agri-environment schemes and green recovery funds, where the contribution to biodiversity, as well as wider environmental outcomes, is used to prioritise funding.

Research suggests that, globally, nature based solutions could provide up to a third of the most cost-effective carbon mitigation, but despite that, only around 3% of international climate finance is invested in nature. We believe there is a need for a significant increase in support for nature based solutions, which is why we have put nature at the heart of our climate ambitions – domestically and internationally.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they prioritise measures to address issues relating to (1) climate change, and (2) biodiversity; whether more priority is given to one over the other; and if so, how they decide the differing level of priority.

The climate and biodiversity crises are linked, and this Government believes they have to be tackled together. Globally, climate change is the third biggest driver of biodiversity loss, while biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation further exacerbate climate change - releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere and reducing our ability to adapt to a changing climate.

As we develop our plans to deliver our world-leading net zero target at home, we will need to progress climate change and biodiversity objectives together. For example, we will need to balance land use change for mitigation purposes such as planting trees, with enhancing the natural environment and improving food security. Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are working closely together to ensure that this balance is met.

The Government has introduced significant new funding for nature restoration to address climate change, but this does not detract from our biodiversity goals - the funding is additional and complementary. We prioritise funding for ecosystems that provide the greatest contribution to our emissions targets, following the underlying science. Our assessment is that, on land, restoring degraded peatlands and appropriately creating and managing multi-purpose woodlands will offer the greatest benefits for tackling climate change, while also contributing to biodiversity goals, addressing these challenges together. Our Nature for Climate Fund is therefore providing £640 million over the course of this Parliament for the creation, restoration and management of woodland and peatland habitats.

We have a range of funding streams that support conservation of other habitats and wider biodiversity goals. This includes agri-environment schemes and green recovery funds, where the contribution to biodiversity, as well as wider environmental outcomes, is used to prioritise funding.

Research suggests that, globally, nature based solutions could provide up to a third of the most cost-effective carbon mitigation, but despite that, only around 3% of international climate finance is invested in nature. We believe there is a need for a significant increase in support for nature based solutions, which is why we have put nature at the heart of our climate ambitions – domestically and internationally.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 3 December (HL10512), whether they will now answer the question put, namely what proposals they have (1) to encourage, or (2) to ensure that the environmental and other enhancements that will be included in Environmental Land Management Schemes will also take place on farmland where the owners and land managers have decided not to take part in such Schemes.

The Environmental Land Management scheme is being designed to be attractive to a wide range of farmers and land managers to deliver the environmental objectives of the scheme. To achieve this, we are working closely with a range of environmental and agricultural stakeholders to design the scheme collaboratively. The scheme will operate alongside other policies and schemes to meet the Government’s objectives.

We want to attract high uptake and achieve environmental outcomes at scale and so are developing an attractive, simple, trusted and relevant offer across the full range of schemes. Our Agricultural Transition Plan, published on 30 November, sets out details on the schemes which we are running to do this, with the three components of Environmental Land Management at the heart of this. However, we will also offer environmental schemes which cover farming in protected landscapes, and tree health, as well as grants which will help farmers to improve their efficiency and productivity while also benefiting the environment.

Whether or not farmers and land managers decide not to participate in a scheme, they will still be subject to the minimum basic requirements set out in domestic legislation to safeguard the environment, plant health and animal health and welfare. This underpins the move to payments for public goods. We will work with the sector to co-design and establish a new regulatory model for the long term. However, we will ensure that we always have a robust system of inspection and enforcement in place to maintain regulatory protections throughout the agricultural transition.

25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the University of Sussex, Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, and the Environment Agency, Potential role of veterinary flea products in widespread pesticide contamination of English rivers, published on 7 November; and what steps they intend to take in response to that report.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has evaluated the report and while acknowledging the general findings, also recognises that no definitive conclusions can be drawn from it. The VMD works closely with the Environment Agency and was already aware of the monitoring data, which are pivotal to the publication.

The publication suggests that veterinary medicines may be contributing to the levels of parasiticides present in the UK waters. The paper under discussion only loosely acknowledges that there is a lack of understanding and data in key areas to ascertain if veterinary medicines are causing harm in the environment. Such areas include the need to assess how much of these compounds are bound and not in free form, and therefore unavailable to cause harm. These aspects need to be considered when evaluating the potential impact of these compounds on the aquatic environment and are not emphasised in the report. Importantly, the report also did not distinguish exposure routes of other potential sources of parasiticide (e.g. ant baits, use in greenhouses, historic agricultural use and products used to protect textiles), which may be significant. Much uncertainty remains, therefore, over the actual contribution from veterinary medicinal use.

Parasiticides are used in veterinary medicines for the treatment of fleas and ticks on companion animals. It is possible that following their use on dogs and cats, some parasiticides may reach the aquatic environment. The environmental exposure assessments conducted for such flea products, however, consider the exposure of the aquatic environment to be low.

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 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 due to be completed in March 2023.

Pending the findings of 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.

Defra 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.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have (1) to encourage, or (2) to ensure that the environmental and other enhancements that will be included in Environmental Land Management Schemes will also take place on farmland where the owners and land managers have decided not to take part in such Schemes.

The Environmental Land Management scheme is being designed to be attractive to a wide range of farmers and land managers to deliver the environmental objectives of the scheme. To achieve this, we are working closely with a range of environmental and agricultural stakeholders to design the scheme collaboratively. The scheme will operate alongside other policies to meet the Government’s objectives.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish their new England Peat Strategy.

The Government is committed, through the forthcoming England Peat Strategy, to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England. The Strategy will include protection measures which, along with restoration, will reverse the decline in our peat and deliver the full suite of benefits derived from these ecosystems, including carbon storage, a haven for rare wildlife, and water regulation and provision. The Strategy will be published soon.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have monitored peat burning on the South Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (1) this year, and (2) in the previous three years; and what assessment they have made of the effects of this peat burning.

Natural England monitors and reports on the condition of notified features on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) through its programme of site condition monitoring. This will include site visits and desk assessment. Those features are affected by a range of factors including land management burning and wildfire. In addition to this routine programme of monitoring, Natural England made an assessment of part of the South Pennine Moors SSSI following a wildfire incident in 2020. This assessment has not yet concluded, but when complete the condition will be logged on Natural England’s designated Sites database, which is publicly available.

Additionally, Natural England has been working with land managers on the South Pennine Moors SSSI to advise them on the condition of SSSI features on their land, through a contract under its Discretionary Advice Service.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the speech by the Prime Minister on 6 October where he referenced the “new wild belts” that will “mark the landscape” by 2030, (1) how much of the area of (a) England, (b) Scotland, and (c) Wales they expect that the wild belts will cover; (2) what processes will be used to create them; (3) to what extent will they be in (a) urban areas, and (b) rural areas; and (4) what designations will the wild belts be allocated.

The Prime Minister recently set out his vision for a greener and transformed Britain, with millions of trees, wilder landscapes for people to enjoy and a commitment to protect 30% of land for biodiversity by 2030. We want to strengthen our existing network of protected areas and explore ways of driving up the biodiversity value of these areas.

Implementation of domestic biodiversity is a devolved matter in the UK. In England the Government is introducing a range of new incentives to restore ecosystems and create wilder landscapes including the Nature for Climate Fund, Nature Recovery Fund and the recently launched Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Our Environment Bill will introduce Local Nature Recovery Strategies, which will provide a spatial planning tool for nature, allowing local government and communities to identify priorities and opportunities for nature recovery across our protected areas, green belts and wider farming landscape. Local authorities and public bodies more generally will be required to have regard to Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

The term ‘wild belt’ has been used to refer generally to wilder areas around towns and cities but adopted most recently in campaigns by the Wildlife Trusts to set a new designation within a reformed planning system.

Just as we want to see more and better access to nature around our towns and cities, the role of planning in further protecting any areas that are being restored should be considered alongside our ambitious planning reforms. The public consultation for the Planning for the Future white paper is due to close on 29 October. The Government will be carefully analysing all responses before publishing our response.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have given, if any, to the owners and managers of grouse moors in relation to the current burning season; and whether they are monitoring the effects of such burning on (1) moorland peat, (2) CO2 emissions, (3) wildlife, (4) potential run-off, and (5) other relevant matters.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats, and we are looking at options, including how legislation could achieve this. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively. We will be publishing the England Peat Strategy later this year which will detail further how we intend to protect, restore and reduce damage to our peatlands.

Natural England continues to engage with landowners and managers on best practice and sustainable management with respect to managed burning, working with them to understand the impacts of their chosen land management techniques.

Natural England monitors the condition of SSSIs, which may be affected by burning, through its programme of SSSI condition monitoring. The monitoring of specific impacts (including CO2 emissions) from burning is not done on a granular scale, however the Environment Agency and Natural England does monitor the overall condition of our rivers and moorlands.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for an extension of the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way in view of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of public rights of way. They are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) to plan improvements to the rights of way network in their area, which are usually available on the authority’s website. This must include an assessment of the local rights of way including the condition of the network.

Deferring the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way is a possibility, which would create more time for the reforms to rights of way legislation to be implemented effectively. We must weigh this against the desire for certainty around where rights of way exist, which implementing the cut-off date will bring. Officials intend to meet the rights of way reform Stakeholder Working Group soon and will discuss this issue with them and others before we come to a decision.

27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 20 July (HL6513), whether (1) the funding allocated for shovel-ready schemes will include the planned work at Earby and the phase 3 scheme at Wentcliffe Beck, and (2) the planned stakeholder roundtable on flood defence schemes will include representatives from Earby.

The work at Earby (phase 2) will be going ahead subject to full business case approval which the Environment Agency hopes to submit by the end of the year. Additional funding allocated for shovel ready schemes was not required for Earby (phase 2) as it does not have any funding gaps based upon current costs estimates, identified partner contributions and the Government’s updated partnership funding rules.

Wentcliffe Beck (phase 3) was not allocated funding as it will not be ready to start construction by the required deadline. However the Environment Agency continues to progress the development of the scheme.

We are continuing to work on preparations for a Yorkshire roundtable to discuss the response to the November 2019 flooding. The invitation list will depend on the size of event we are able to arrange. Officials were working to identify a date for this before the Covid-19 restrictions came into effect. In the event that we are not able to hold an in-person meeting, we will make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Environmental Land Management tests and trials have included access provisions or schemes.

To support the development of Environmental Land Management (ELM), the Government is undertaking a number of tests and trials, working with farmers and land managers to co-design the new schemes. These tests and trials will help us to assess how the scheme could work in a real life environment. Three of our tests and trials look at issues concerning access.

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

The Trails Trust will work with 50 farmers and land managers in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to explore the barriers and potential solutions to creating, upgrading and maintaining infrastructure networks. The test will look at the willingness of farmers and land managers to create, enhance and maintain access across different acreages and land uses. The test will also explore the valuation of incentives that landowners would require to implement access rights along specified routes. The test is due to conclude at the end of June 2021.

2. Kent Downs AONB, Enhancing access opportunities, as part of the NAAONBs (National Association of AONBs) submission

This proposal was submitted by the NAAONB on behalf of 12 individual AONBs, one of which included the Kent Downs AONB. The Kent Downs AONB’s test is working with two farmers/land manager groups to identify the barriers to access to landscapes and nature and co-develop a template of practical ways through which ELM can support better and more diverse access. Local trusted experts will work with farmers and land managers and their representative organisations to explore existing best practice; experts in access health and wellbeing will be involved to assess benefits and barriers. The test is due to complete by March 2021.

3. South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs and the Land App

South Downs National Park Authority is working with the Land App, a GIS mapping system developed for farmers, to collate maps and data about their holding in one user-friendly place. The proposal will work with farmers from the South Downs farm clusters and use the Land App and the data it holds to evaluate and plan the delivery of public goods at a landscape (cluster or part cluster) scale. This includes working with the Winchester Downs Cluster group who will focus on public access issues and opportunities. The test is due to complete by mid-July 2020.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce measures to control the use of barbecues outside private property and, in particular, the use of mobile and disposable barbecues in open countryside and moorlands.

Current byelaw legislation allows for local authorities to restrict and enforce the use of disposable barbecues in parks and public spaces. Defra is working with stakeholders to promote a series of guidance videos to educate users about accessing the countryside safely. This includes an updated Countryside Code which advises not to have barbecues or fires. This guidance is available at the following links:

Green space access: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

The Countryside Code: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code

10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy and detailed programme on badger culling and other means of controlling tuberculosis in badgers over the next five years.

The Government remains committed to the goal of achieving Officially Free bovine TB status for the whole of England by 2038.

On 5 March 2020, the Government published its response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray's 2018 review of England's bovine TB eradication strategy, setting out the priorities for the next phase of the strategy around three key priorities.

We will provide funding to accelerate the research and trial work necessary to authorise the BCG vaccine for use in cattle alongside a test that can differentiate between vaccinated cattle and those with the disease. Our aim is to have a deployable cattle vaccine within the next five years. Vaccination will never provide full protection but could significantly reduce the spread of the disease both between cattle and between cattle herds and wildlife. The UK can harness its world-leading science in developing solutions such as vaccination that would also be valuable to other countries.

Secondly, we will also begin an exit strategy from intensive badger culling, while ensuring that wildlife control remains an option where the epidemiological evidence supports it (i.e. areas where badgers pose a significant source of TB infection). We intend to pilot government-funded badger vaccination in at least one area where the four-year cull cycle has concluded, with simultaneous surveillance of disease. We envisage that any remaining areas would join the current cull programme in the next few years and that the badger cull phase of the strategy would then wind down by the mid to late 2020s.

We will continue to support badger vaccination projects in areas where the prevalence of disease is low. We will also investigate the potential for projects where adjacent vaccination and culling could complement each other in controlling disease. Changes to our guidance to Natural England on licensing badger control will be subject to consultation.

Thirdly, we will invest in the deployment of better, more frequent, and more diverse cattle testing, so that we are able to detect the presence of the disease earlier and remove it from cattle herds faster. The frequency of mandatory surveillance testing in two high risk area counties – Shropshire and Staffordshire – will increase from annual to six-monthly as soon as the COVID-19 situation allows. We expect this to be extended across the high risk area from 2021.

There is no single answer to tackling the scourge of bovine TB but by deploying a range of policy interventions, we can turn the tide on this terrible disease and achieve our long-term objective of eradicating it by 2038.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future prospects for (1) Chester Zoo, (2) other major zoos and (3) small zoos; and what plans they have to secure the future of zoos and their animals.

We recognise that zoos are working tirelessly during this challenging time to ensure the health and welfare needs of animal collections in their care continue to be met. We have been engaging regularly with zoos, including Chester Zoo, to gather information and supporting evidence to understand the impacts of coronavirus on the sector.

The £14 million Zoos Support Fund was opened on 4 May to help those zoos, safari parks, aquariums and eligible farm visitor attractions in severe financial distress due to the disruption caused by coronavirus. This Fund remains open for applications until 19 July 2020.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks are now allowed to reopen, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. Allowing zoos to reopen is an integral step towards supporting an early financial recovery.

Consideration of proposals for any longer-term support that might be needed for the sector is ongoing. With the help and support of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) we are working diligently to find the best way forward.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the current (1) numbers, and (2) distribution, of lapwings in the United Kingdom, and what plans they have to support an increase in their numbers.

The latest estimates of lapwing are 6,500 pairs and 620,000 individuals in Britain (Frost et al. 2020).

The latest national bird survey, ‘Bird Atlas 2007-11’, published results on the distribution of lapwing during the breeding and non-breeding seasons. In Britain, during the breeding season, lapwing were present in 2,241 ten-kilometre squares, which is 74% of the total. Except for southwest England, lapwing breed almost throughout rural England. During the non-breeding season, lapwing were present in 2,309 ten-kilometre squares, which is 80% of the total.

The lapwing is a species of conservation concern and is closely associated with the farmed and managed landscape therefore agri-environment schemes have an important role to play in its recovery.

The current Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme includes tailored options designed to meet the requirements of breeding lapwings on grassland and arable farmland, including the management of grassland to provide the right structure for nesting and to supply food for chicks. On arable farmland CS fallow plots have been created and designed to suit lapwing that breed in that particular habitat. This year, new CS options are also available which will benefit lapwings.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the short- and long-term improvements to health resultant from the reduction in air pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to prevent levels of traffic and air pollution returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, particularly in cities, towns and other urban areas, and along major transport routes.

Nitrogen dioxide pollution at the roadside has almost halved during the lockdown period as a result of reduced emissions from traffic, with much smaller reductions observed for particulate matter in urban areas. Emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from energy use and transport are likely to be much lower than in normal times, on account of reduced energy demand and much lower road traffic. The Government recently launched a rapid call for evidence to ensure we can fully understand any changes that may have occurred in terms of pollution emissions, concentrations and human exposure over the current period. Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group is analysing those responses.

Our ambitious aims to decarbonise transport, improve air quality and support more active forms of travel have not changed. The Transport Secretary set out our plan to encourage new travel habits and support zero emission forms of travel - a clear signal of our commitment to delivering on these aims. As we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to shape an economy and society that are cleaner, greener and more resilient.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the impact of the temporary closure of recycling companies on waste disposal authorities, and (2) the ability of those authorities to store or otherwise dispose of or deal with the recyclates collected or received from waste collection authorities.

Recycling companies rely on Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to provide them with some of the materials which can then be used to make new products. Defra officials have been working closely with local authorities and the waste sector to keep HWRCs open. There is no reason in law why HWRCs cannot be open and where possible, local authorities should seek to retain access to HWRC services for their residents to dispose of waste. The Government is not setting a date by which HWRCs should be open. We recognise that the opening of HWRCs will depend on local circumstances and resource availability. A “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate. The decision to open a HWRC remains with the relevant local authority. Our most recent guidance can be found here: 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

Indications are that most local authorities have been able to maintain collection services for packaging and food waste and continue to send materials to be recycled. Material recovery facilities which receive, separate and prepare recyclable materials for reprocessing and recycling companies, have been operating whilst maintaining social distancing measures. The impacts of COVID-19 and related restrictions on these facilities and the recycling sector are being closely monitored by Defra. In addition, the Charted Institute for Waste Management (CIWM) has worked with Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), local authority bodies and commercial waste collectors to establish the WasteSupport platform to assist local authorities to access additional capacity in the commercial waste collection sector for processing waste.

For some materials (including waste electrical equipment, furniture , and textiles) there are particular challenges and Defra is in regular discussions with these sectors, including the reuse/repair and reprocessing organisations, about these.

The Environment Agency has published time-limited Regulatory Position Statements (RPSs) to allow some flexibility for local authorities and other operators where, for reasons beyond their control, compliance with certain regulatory requirements may not be possible due to COVID-19. These include the ability to store more material at a permitted site than the permit usually allows. Each COVID-19 RPS sets out when it can be applied and conditions that will need to comply with, to ensure that the risks to the environment and human health are minimised. More details can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/covid-19-regulatory-position-statements.

Defra has published guidance on prioritisation of waste services and on management of HWRCs during the current pandemic and continues to monitor the situation with local authorities and industry bodies.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the most recent flooding in Earby; and whether the proposed further flood mitigation work there will take place in time to take advantage of any EU funding that has been agreed.

The Government recognises the impact the recent flooding incidents have had on communities and sympathises with those affected.

The Earby Flood Alleviation Scheme is split into Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 2 of the scheme is currently at the Outline Business Case stage and qualifies for £1.03 million in Flood Defence Grant in Aid. The project has sourced the following partnership funding: £635,000 of European Structural Investment Fund; and £15,000 from Pendle Borough Council. The project team are working with Pendle Borough Council to look for options to address the funding gap to allow the project to progress.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the total annual cost of regular collections of food waste from (1) domestic households, (2) businesses, and (3) other organisations; and how such collection is funded in each case.

In 2019 the Government published an impact assessment to support its consultation on greater consistency in household and business recycling. In that impact assessment Government estimated that an investment in the range of £180 million - £260 million would be needed to roll out weekly separate food waste collection across households in England. These costs assume that all local authorities make no other change to collection systems and are estimated over a 7 year transition period from 2023 to 2029. This was based on what would be needed to cover additional bins, vehicles and transportation of food waste to AD sites.

Given the additional costs involved in separate food waste collection the Government has stated that it will ensure that local authorities are resourced to meet new costs arising from separate food waste collections including upfront transition costs and ongoing operational costs.

For businesses and other organisations the total annual costs for separate food waste collections were estimated to be £189 million. This estimate is based on all businesses participating in the scheme.

The costs of business food waste collections would be funded by businesses. In the impact assessment published in 2019 our preferred option of having all businesses collect dry recyclable materials (with glass separated) and separate food waste collection showed that business could make greater savings overall and we would expect estimated savings of £1,206 million from the measures proposed to increase recycling in the non-household municipal sector. For very small or micro firms our impact assessment indicated that these might see greater costs from measures to increase recycling and Government is considering options to reduce costs for this sector including possible exemptions from requirements to separately collect food waste.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the quantity of unpicked (1) apples, (2) cherries, (3) blueberries, (4) raspberries, (5) other fruit, (6) vegetable crops, and (7) other horticultural produce, in 2019, as a result of a shortage of seasonal labour; and what plans they have to address any issues which may arise from any shortage of labour in 2020.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The information requested on quantities of unpicked horticultural produce is not held by Defra.

It is a priority of this Government to enable an innovative, productive and competitive food supply chain, which invests in its people and skills.

In 2018, the Government introduced a new pilot scheme for 2019 and 2020 enabling up to 2500 non-EEA migrant workers per year to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the edible Horticultural sector. The Government has now expanded the Seasonal Workers Pilot for 2020 from 2,500 to 10,000 workers.

The pilot will continue to operate in the edible horticulture sector, to support farmers growing UK fruit and vegetables. This is the sector of agriculture which has been experiencing the most severe seasonal labour shortages, and which the pilot aims to support.

Although the numbers are increasing for 2020, based on the success of the pilot so far, it is not designed to meet the full labour needs of the horticulture sector. This workforce boost will complement the EU workers already travelling to the UK this year to provide seasonal labour on farms during the busy harvest months.

Business will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status and there will continue to be other flexibility in the system, including youth mobility schemes and the MAC has already pointed to the estimated 170,000 recently arrived non-EU citizens currently in low-skilled occupations.

The EU Settlement Scheme, which opened in March 2019 has already received more than 3.2 million applications from EU citizens who are be able to stay and work in the UK. EU citizens and their family members do not need to do anything immediately: there will be no change to their current rights until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020; and the deadline for applications to the scheme for those resident here by the end of 2020 will be 30 June 2021.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any decisions about extending the 2026 deadline for registering historic rights of way; and if not, when they expect to make such a decision.

The Government recognises the need for sufficient time to register public rights of way before the cut-off date. Stakeholder views on whether there is a need to extend the deadline are mixed and will be taken into account, although no decision has yet been taken. We intend to consult the Stakeholder Working Group on rights of way reform before we make a decision.

9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to assess the results of the five-year River Otter Beaver Trial, led by the Devon Wildlife Trust.

We continue to discuss the ongoing trial with the Devon Wildlife Trust and their partners, with Natural England (NE) and the Environment Agency represented on its Steering and Working Groups. Defra and NE will assess the trial using the reports and recommendations that will be submitted to us by the Trust upon the trial’s conclusion. We will then use these findings to inform decisions on the future of the trial and the beavers on the River Otter.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are on track to meet their commitment, made in December 2014, that the English Coastal Path will be completed and open in 2020; and if not, what are the reasons for any delays.

Work is well underway on all 66 stretches of the England Coast Path - a new National Trail around all of England’s coast. A European court judgement in April 2018 affected how Natural England could assess the impact of England Coast Path proposals on environmentally protected sites, and progress on the England Coast Path slowed as a result. While this means the path in its entirety is unlikely to be open in 2020, Natural England will work towards opening as much of the England Coast Path as possible throughout 2020.

The England Coast Path when completed will stretch approximately 2,717 miles around the coast. To date 385 miles (14%, 12 stretches) have been completed and new rights commenced, with a further 98 miles (4%, 4 stretches) undergoing establishment works before they are open for the public to walk. A summary of progress on each of the 16 open and approved stretches, with opening dates where known, is included in Tables A and B. The 50 unopened stretches are summarised in Table C. It is not currently possible to give estimated opening dates for many of the stretches still in progress. This is because the timeline for the final stages of the process depends on several factors including the number and nature of comments during the public consultation and the complexity of implementing works on the ground.

Table A - Open stretches

Stretch name

Opening date

Rufus Castle to Lulworth Cove

29/06/2012

Allonby to Whitehaven

11/04/2014

North Gare to South Bents

12/04/2014

Sea Palling to Weybourne

12/12/2014

Brean Down to Minehead

15/03/2016

Camber to Folkestone

19/07/2016

Folkestone to Ramsgate

19/07/2016

Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge

21/07/2016

Hopton On Sea to Sea Palling

24/10/2016

South Bents to Amble

26/07/2018

Skegness to Mablethorpe

27/02/2019

Newport Bridge to North Gare

18/09/2019

Table B - Unopened stretches undergoing building works

Stretch name

Opening date

Walney Island

February 2020 (estimate)

Whitehaven to Silecroft

TBC

Ramsgate to Whitstable

TBC

Maldon to Salcott

TBC

Table C - Unopened stretches

Region

Stretches

South West

8

West

4

South

7

South East

6

Essex

8

East

7

North East

5

North West

5

22nd Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government which sections of the English Coastal Path are now open; and what are the expected opening dates of those sections in each area which are not yet open.

Work is well underway on all 66 stretches of the England Coast Path - a new National Trail around all of England’s coast. A European court judgement in April 2018 affected how Natural England could assess the impact of England Coast Path proposals on environmentally protected sites, and progress on the England Coast Path slowed as a result. While this means the path in its entirety is unlikely to be open in 2020, Natural England will work towards opening as much of the England Coast Path as possible throughout 2020.

The England Coast Path when completed will stretch approximately 2,717 miles around the coast. To date 385 miles (14%, 12 stretches) have been completed and new rights commenced, with a further 98 miles (4%, 4 stretches) undergoing establishment works before they are open for the public to walk. A summary of progress on each of the 16 open and approved stretches, with opening dates where known, is included in Tables A and B. The 50 unopened stretches are summarised in Table C. It is not currently possible to give estimated opening dates for many of the stretches still in progress. This is because the timeline for the final stages of the process depends on several factors including the number and nature of comments during the public consultation and the complexity of implementing works on the ground.

Table A - Open stretches

Stretch name

Opening date

Rufus Castle to Lulworth Cove

29/06/2012

Allonby to Whitehaven

11/04/2014

North Gare to South Bents

12/04/2014

Sea Palling to Weybourne

12/12/2014

Brean Down to Minehead

15/03/2016

Camber to Folkestone

19/07/2016

Folkestone to Ramsgate

19/07/2016

Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge

21/07/2016

Hopton On Sea to Sea Palling

24/10/2016

South Bents to Amble

26/07/2018

Skegness to Mablethorpe

27/02/2019

Newport Bridge to North Gare

18/09/2019

Table B - Unopened stretches undergoing building works

Stretch name

Opening date

Walney Island

February 2020 (estimate)

Whitehaven to Silecroft

TBC

Ramsgate to Whitstable

TBC

Maldon to Salcott

TBC

Table C - Unopened stretches

Region

Stretches

South West

8

West

4

South

7

South East

6

Essex

8

East

7

North East

5

North West

5

16th Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 November 2016 (HL Deb, col 1532), what assessment they have made of the current state of the footpath network in England; and whether its condition has improved or worsened since that answer.

Responsibility for the management and maintenance of the 118,000 miles of public rights of way in England lies with local authorities.

Natural England assess the condition of the network of National Trails, which are maintained to agreed Quality Standards. The last assessment covered the 2017/18 reporting year and noted that the number of out of condition items (such as gates and stiles) remained relatively low during the monitoring period.

16th Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 November 2016 (HL Deb, col 1532), what was the outcome of their discussions with the chief executive of the Ramblers.

I have met the Chief Executive of the Ramblers several times since November 2016. At these meetings we discussed a number of areas including the England Coast Path, National Trails, rights of way reform and the 25 Year Environment Plan. We noted the positive working relationship between our organisations and agreed to continue engagement on these matters in future.

16th Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to improve and extend the footpath network since the publication of their Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017 on 21 April 2017.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) does not contain measures to improve and extend the national footpath network. However, funding has been provided under the CWIS to improve walking routes alongside highways and to improve road crossings in towns and cities, including through the £210 million Cycle Ambition Cities programme.

1st Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are on track to meet their commitment, made in December 2014, that the English Coastal Path will be completed and open in 2020; and if not, what are the reasons for any delays.

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

1st Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government which sections of the English Coastal Path are now open; and what are the expected opening dates of the remaining sections in each area.

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

26th Sep 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether proposals under the Northern Forest scheme will include any rewilding schemes.

As part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government is providing £5.7m to support the existing Northern Forest (NF) partnership of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust to accelerate the development of the NF. This four-year kick-start investment will fund the planting of at least 1.8m new trees across the NF by 2022.

Our investment is provided to accelerate tree planting and woodland creation.

26th Sep 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had since the announcement of the Northern Forest scheme on its possible extension to Lancashire or a part of that county.

The core Northern Forest (NF) area will see at least 1.8m new trees, funded by our £5.7m four-year investment planted in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and the Humber. Beyond the core area of the NF, our investment will also fund new woodland creation in surrounding halo areas, of which Lancashire is included, where the NF partnership has judged that new woodland there would be beneficial.

26th Sep 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding they will provide towards the Northern Forest scheme in each year from 2018–2023; and in each year how much of this is expected to be spent on (a) tree planting, (b) land acquisition, and (c) administration and other expenses.

As part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government is providing £5.7m to support the existing Northern Forest (NF) partnership of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust to accelerate and develop the NF. This four-year kick-start investment will fund the planting of at least 1.8m new trees across the NF by 2022.

Of the £5.7m funding, £5.2m is allocated to be spent on trees and £500,000 on supporting the NF partnership with administration and project management. None of our £5.7m investment is allocated for land acquisition.

26th Sep 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made on the Northern Forest scheme and (1) how many trees have been planted so far, (2) how many will be planted in each of the next five planting seasons, (3) in which local authorities or national parks they will be planted, and (4) how many trees will be planted in cities and other urban areas.

As part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government is providing £5.7 million to support the existing Northern Forest Partnership of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust to accelerate develop the Northern Forest. This four-year kick-start investment will fund the planting of at least 1.8 million new trees across the Northern Forest by 2022.

1) In year one (2018/19) our investment funded the planting of 103,980 trees against a planting target of 100,000 trees.

2) Our investment is for four delivery years (2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22). Over the remaining 3 years it will fund the planting of a further 1.7 million trees.

3) It will fund the planting of new trees in parts of the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and Peak District. The majority of planting will be in the counties of Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Humber. We do not have a breakdown for individual local authorities.

4) It will fund the planting of at least 300,000 trees in cities and other urban areas over four years (2018/19 – 2021/22). 55,360 trees were planted in urban areas in year one.

24th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what encouragement and incentives they are providing to supermarkets (1) to reduce the number of single-use and other containers, and (2) to provide facilities for customers to bring and use their own multi-use containers.

Packaging has an important and positive role to play in reducing product damage and food waste. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations require producers to ensure that the packaging they use is the minimum to ensure safety and hygiene and to meet consumer expectations. If anyone receives a product they believe to be over packaged, they should report it to Trading Standards who are responsible for enforcing these regulations.

The Government is working with retailers and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to encourage their efforts to reduce waste and to explore the introduction of plastic free supermarket initiatives in which fresh food is sold loose, giving consumers the choice. WRAP has published a technical report on the evidence for providing fresh produce loose and we are working with Morrisons to evaluate its current trial of selling produce loose, to assess the impact on food waste.

In April last year, WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched their world-leading UK Plastics Pact, with support from the Government, and all the major supermarkets have signed up to it. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. They include action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single use plastic packaging items. Our proposed reforms will support supermarkets in achieving those targets.

Earlier this year, the Government launched a suite of consultations to overhaul the waste system. This included proposals to replace existing packaging waste regulations with Extended Producer Responsibility to ensure packaging producers pay the full costs of disposing of the packaging they use. Consultations were also launched on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and increasing consistency in recycling collection, as well as introducing a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content. These consultations have now closed and a summary of responses will be published in due course.

These reforms support delivery of the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published last year, which sets out our plans to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy. This builds on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

14th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) reusable, and (2) disposable, nappies on the (a) environment, and (b) collection and disposal of refuse; and what incentives they are encouraging for the use of reusable nappies.

The Government recognises the need to address the issues associated with the environmental impact of nappies. In line with the Resources and Waste Strategy published in December last year, we are considering the best approach for a range of products.

There are a number of policy measures available to us, including standards and consumer information, and we believe the right approach for each product requires careful consideration taking account of various factors, for example, waste benefits versus energy usage. We are therefore carrying out some new research into the impacts of reusable and disposable nappies. This will help us decide on the best course of action for the future and in terms of Government support.

24th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate glyphosate to continue to be available for treating Japanese knotweed; and if not, what steps they are taking to ensure that effective alternatives are available.

Like all pesticides, glyphosate is subject to restrictions to ensure that its use will not harm people or have unacceptable effects on the environment. UK scientists participated in the European Food Safety Authority’s recent assessment of glyphosate and support its conclusions. The Government therefore agrees with the continuing approval of glyphosate. The European Commission decided in December 2017 to approve glyphosate for continuing use until December 2022.

When the approval of glyphosate is next reviewed, we will consider our position based on a careful scientific assessment of the evidence and risks at that time.

With regard to the second point, the Government is funding work by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International to trial biocontrol methods targeted at Japanese knotweed. A sap-sucking bug (psyllid) has been selected as a highly specific natural enemy to help control this invasive non-native species. The work is undergoing peer review and further regulatory scrutiny would be required before the psyllid could be released under strict licence conditions. The project team continues to work to establish the psyllid at a series of experimental sites. It is hoped that, in time, this method will prove effective in reducing the invasive capacity of Japanese knotweed as well as the effort and cost of managing it.

31st Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost of each of the sections of the English coastal path which have been completed; what is the estimated cost of each of those sections which have not yet been completed; and what were, or will be, the sources of funding.

The England Coast Path (ECP) will be a 2,700 mile walking route around the coast of England. Natural England have been allocated £25.6m between 2015 and 2020 to deliver the England Coast Path.

A summary of progress on each of the 16 open or approved stretches is included in Table A and B. The 50 unopened stretches are summarised in Table C. Estimated cost of establishment works and opening dates are provided where known.

The ECP proposals are within scope of a European Court opinion, known colloquially as People over Wind (PoW), which was handed down in April 2018. The PoW opinion affects the way Natural England manage the impact of their proposals on sites with nature conservation designations. As such, the PoW court ruling has impacted on delivery of the path to date and will continue to have an impact moving forward.

In light of this judgement and progress to date the 2020 delivery date is being reviewed. Natural England continue to work towards opening as much of the path as possible by 2020.

To date the delivery programme has cost £18million. Establishment costs have been funded through grant in aid to Natural England. From 2018/19 Rural Development Programme for England funding has been available for local authorities to meet the cost of establishment.

Table A - Open stretches

Stretch name

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment Costs (Actual)

Rufus Castle to Lulworth Cove

29/06/2012

20

£25,000

Allonby to Whitehaven

11/04/2014

22

£67,813

North Gare to South Bents

12/04/2014

34

£51,306

Sea Palling to Weybourne

12/12/2014

25

£64,301

Brean Down to Minehead

15/03/2016

58

£381,506

Camber to Folkestone

19/07/2016

29

£19,123

Folkestone to Ramsgate

19/07/2016

37

£99,994

Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge

21/07/2016

68

£65,221

Hopton On Sea to Sea Palling

24/10/2016

21

£79,901

South Bents to Amble

26/07/2018

44

£223,048

358

£1,077,213

Table B - Unopened stretches undergoing building works

Stretch name

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment costs (Estimated)

Skegness to Mablethorpe

27/02/2019

16

£80,484

Newport Bridge to North Gare

TBC

10

£528,979

Whitehaven to Silecroft

TBC

32

£415,949

Walney Island

TBC

21

£233,679

Ramsgate to Whitstable

TBC

25

£31,574

Maldon to Salcott

TBC

27

£46,099

131

£1,336,764

Table C - Unopened stretches

Region

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment costs

(Stretches)

South West

TBC

548

(8)

TBC

West

TBC

140

(4)

TBC

South

TBC

276

(7)

TBC

South East

TBC

208

(6)

TBC

Essex

TBC

266

(8)

TBC

East

TBC

261

(7)

TBC

North East

TBC

212

(5)

TBC

North West

TBC

302

(5)

TBC

TBC

2213

50

TBC

31st Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the length and location of each of the sections of the English coastal path which have (1) been completed, and (2) not yet been completed; when each of the sections (1) opened, and (2) are expected to open; and whether they will achieve the target date of 2020 for its overall completion.

The England Coast Path (ECP) will be a 2,700 mile walking route around the coast of England. Natural England have been allocated £25.6m between 2015 and 2020 to deliver the England Coast Path.

A summary of progress on each of the 16 open or approved stretches is included in Table A and B. The 50 unopened stretches are summarised in Table C. Estimated cost of establishment works and opening dates are provided where known.

The ECP proposals are within scope of a European Court opinion, known colloquially as People over Wind (PoW), which was handed down in April 2018. The PoW opinion affects the way Natural England manage the impact of their proposals on sites with nature conservation designations. As such, the PoW court ruling has impacted on delivery of the path to date and will continue to have an impact moving forward.

In light of this judgement and progress to date the 2020 delivery date is being reviewed. Natural England continue to work towards opening as much of the path as possible by 2020.

To date the delivery programme has cost £18million. Establishment costs have been funded through grant in aid to Natural England. From 2018/19 Rural Development Programme for England funding has been available for local authorities to meet the cost of establishment.

Table A - Open stretches

Stretch name

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment Costs (Actual)

Rufus Castle to Lulworth Cove

29/06/2012

20

£25,000

Allonby to Whitehaven

11/04/2014

22

£67,813

North Gare to South Bents

12/04/2014

34

£51,306

Sea Palling to Weybourne

12/12/2014

25

£64,301

Brean Down to Minehead

15/03/2016

58

£381,506

Camber to Folkestone

19/07/2016

29

£19,123

Folkestone to Ramsgate

19/07/2016

37

£99,994

Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge

21/07/2016

68

£65,221

Hopton On Sea to Sea Palling

24/10/2016

21

£79,901

South Bents to Amble

26/07/2018

44

£223,048

358

£1,077,213

Table B - Unopened stretches undergoing building works

Stretch name

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment costs (Estimated)

Skegness to Mablethorpe

27/02/2019

16

£80,484

Newport Bridge to North Gare

TBC

10

£528,979

Whitehaven to Silecroft

TBC

32

£415,949

Walney Island

TBC

21

£233,679

Ramsgate to Whitstable

TBC

25

£31,574

Maldon to Salcott

TBC

27

£46,099

131

£1,336,764

Table C - Unopened stretches

Region

Opening date

Length in Miles

Establishment costs

(Stretches)

South West

TBC

548

(8)

TBC

West

TBC

140

(4)

TBC

South

TBC

276

(7)

TBC

South East

TBC

208

(6)

TBC

Essex

TBC

266

(8)

TBC

East

TBC

261

(7)

TBC

North East

TBC

212

(5)

TBC

North West

TBC

302

(5)

TBC

TBC

2213

50

TBC

22nd Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they are providing to waste collection authorities that are suspending the collection of plastics or considering doing so owing to the difficulties of finding reliable markets for the plastic materials.

Since 2015 all councils have had to collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass by separate collection, except where this is not necessary to provide a sufficiently high quality of recyclate or where it is not technically, environmentally or economically practicable. My honourable friend, Therese Coffey, has taken up this issue with the local government association and will also be sharing her concerns with the regulator, the Environment Agency.

22nd Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following accounts of widespread fraud in activities involving the recycling, export and disposal of plastics, what action they intend to take to protect and promote genuine recycling of plastic.

Businesses involved in the shipment of wastes are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during recycling. The export of waste for disposal is illegal and illegal exports of waste are part of the Government’s focus on tackling waste crime. Any UK operators found to be illegally exporting waste can face severe sanctions – from financial penalties up to imprisonment.

The UK environmental regulators take an intelligence led approach to checking compliance with these obligations, intervening to stop illegal exports taking place. Last year, the Environment Agency (EA) issued 158 stop notices, prohibiting the export of unsuitable waste. It stopped 367 containers of waste destined for illegal export at ports and intervened further upstream to prevent 8,974 tonnes of waste from reaching our ports. Tackling all forms of waste crime is a Government priority. The Government has commissioned a review of serious and organised waste crime and, following this, we will set out our strategic approach to waste crime as part of the Resources and Waste Strategy.

We have also committed in our 25 Year Environment Plan to reforming our producer responsibility systems (including packaging waste regulations) to incentivise producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products.

Waste exports will continue play an important role in resource management, however. Where the UK cannot recycle materials economically, exports can help ensure those materials are recycled rather than landfilled. As not all products sold in the UK are made in the UK, exports can help increase the amount of recyclable materials going into the new products we buy.

9th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in appointing the National Tree Champion.

Sir William Worsley, Chair of the National Forest Company, was appointed as the National Tree Champion on 13 June.

9th May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process for appointing the National Tree Champion; whether applications are being invited; if so, how; to whom the Champion will be responsible; and what the term of office will be.

Decisions on the appointment of the National Tree Champion including responsibilities, reporting mechanisms and the term of office will be made in due course.

31st Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will meet a delegation from Pendle Borough Council to discuss the problems relating to past and potential flooding in Earby.

Pendle Borough Council are advised to write to the Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Environment setting out their concerns. The contact address is Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Environment, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.

31st Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Environment Agency’s flood alleviation study for Earby will be published; and when they will make a decision on the proposed community flood resilience scheme for Earby.

The Environment Agency (EA) expects its Modelling and Appraisal Study for Earby Beck and its Tributaries to be completed in April 2018. The EA will make the findings public on completion.

The EA supports the Earby Community Property Flood Resilience Scheme but needs to be sure that the proposed temporary flood barriers will not increase flood risk elsewhere. The EA has commissioned further modelling work to assess this risk which will begin in February 2018 and is due for completion in March 2018.

31st Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they have taken since the floods which took place in Earby on Boxing Day 2015, through the Environment Agency or otherwise, to reduce the probability of households in Earby being flooded, and to increase resilience against flooding in that town.

Since the floods of Boxing Day 2015 the Environment Agency (EA) has worked in partnership with Pendle Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Yorkshire Water to develop schemes to reduce flood risk in Earby.

The EA removed 60 tonnes of gravel and debris from Earby Beck in September 2016 and carried out further channel maintenance in 2017, in addition to its routine maintenance activities on the beck.

The EA is carrying out detailed hydraulic modelling of Earby Beck and its tributaries to identify technically and economically viable options to reduce flood risk from all sources in and around Earby. The EA has secured £100,000 of Flood Risk Management Grant in Aid to fund this study and it is scheduled to be completed in April 2018. The outcomes of this study will also be used to update the EA’s flood map, improve its flood warning service and provide better data to inform planning decisions.

The EA has also developed a programme of works to repair the Victoria Clough culvert and restore it to its original capacity. An improved trash screen will also be installed at its inlet. These works are planned to be completed in 2018, subject to full funding being secured, and will reduce the risk of flooding to 91 properties.

The EA has recruited four new community flood wardens to help coordinate the community response during future flooding and to support the development of the community flood plan led by Pendle Borough Council.

18th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Scottish government’s proposals to ban plastic stemmed cotton buds; and whether they plan to consider similar proposals for England.

We have made no specific assessment of the Scottish Government’s proposals, though we recognise the efforts being made by manufacturers and retailers to phase out their use and sale.

Further to the Prime Minister’s call to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 and the Chancellor’s Budget announcement in November 2017, officials from both Defra and HM Treasury are working closely on a call for evidence to be published shortly. This will seek views on how the tax system or charges could reduce the amount of single use plastics waste.

.

18th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to Annex 1 of the Communication from the European Commission, A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, published on 16 January, to what extent they plan to participate in (1) the list of future EU measures to implement the Strategy, (2) the list of measures recommended to national authorities and industry, and (3) the Pledging Campaign.

On 16 January the EU set out its plastics strategy. While EU action to reduce plastic waste is welcome, the UK is going further and faster. The UK has already implemented the world’s toughest ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products, and is the first European country to do so. We are also examining what further action can be taken on microplastics. The EU says “all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030” - we want to achieve this 5 years earlier. In England in 2016 WRAP set out a vision for all packaging to be recyclable (where practical and environmentally beneficial) by 2025. The EU wants to “drive investment and innovation”. Since 2010 we have provided over £50 million of funding for plastics innovation. Our 25 Year Environment Plan set out how we will go further by working with the Research Councils and industry to bring forward a bid for the next round of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund awards to help develop a pipeline of new, more sustainable materials that will have a lower environmental impact. We will further set out our plans to tackle plastic waste in our Resources and Waste Strategy later this year.

17th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have commissioned any further research into the pyrolysis of waste plastics into fuels and hydrogen cells since the publication of the report Air quality impacts of the use of Pyrolysis liquid fuels in February 2012.

Further research related to air quality and the pyrolysis of waste products has not been commissioned since the paper referred to.

The Government is committed to improving the recovery of value from residual waste and encourages the development of innovative, emerging techniques to help divert waste from landfill.

8th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had concerning the boundaries of the proposed new Northern Forest; with whom those discussions were held; what consideration has been given to the inclusion of parts of the County of Lancashire within the area of the forest, particularly in relation to the upland areas of the county; and what assessment they have made of whether parts of Lancashire should be included.

Defra has not had any discussions concerning the boundaries of the Northern Forest.

The vision for the Northern Forest has been developed by a partnership of the Woodland Trust and five northern Community Forests, who have discussed and agreed its boundaries. The boundaries include a core area of Community Forest, agreed through local consultation.

Defra will discuss and agree with the Woodland Trust and Community Forests how government funding will be applied, which will take account of the opportunities as well as the environmental and landscape considerations.

7th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to change the operation of (1) the environmental stewardship schemes, and (2) other aspects of the farm payment regime, in England in (a) 2018, and (b) subsequent years.

We are making four new simple Countryside Stewardship packages available in 2018 for agreements starting in 2019. Farmers applying for one of these packages will only need to select a small number of core options (a minimum of 2 or 3) from between 7 and 14 options, depending on the offer. Every farmer who applies for one of these packages and who meets the basic criteria will receive an agreement. We have significantly simplified the application form for these packages. The paper forms for the new offers are half the size of the current form. Arable farmers will be able to apply for the Arable package online. We have also increased the maximum grant available for Hedgerows and Boundaries from £5,000 to £10,000. We will continue to look for further simplification of the schemes for 2019.

Leaving the EU will allow us to take back control of our policies on agriculture and the environment. The Government has pledged to work with farmers, food producers and environmental experts to devise a new environmental land management system to be introduced in the following Parliament. This will include working together to inform scheme design and to test and pilot new scheme elements.

7th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of any shortfall in seasonal workers in (1) the horticultural sector, and (2) other forms of agriculture, in each month of this year between April and October; and what steps they are taking to prevent a shortfall in future years.

It is a key priority of this Government to enable an innovative, productive and competitive food supply chain, and we understand the sector’s concerns about securing the workforce it needs for the future.

Defra does not collect data on any shortfall in the recruitment of seasonal workers, either in the horticulture sector or for the agriculture sector as a whole. However, we have continued to work closely with the industry to understand their labour demand and supply this year.

Defra Ministers have ongoing discussions with a range of Government departments, including the Home Office, about securing the workforce that the farming industry needs for the future. The Home Office has also commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee earlier this year to assess the role EU nationals play in the UK economy, including farming.

7th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of seasonal workers who were employed in (1) the horticultural sector, and (2) other forms of agriculture, in (a) 2017 to date, and (b) each of the preceding five years; and how many of those workers were migrants from EU countries.

Defra, as part of its June Survey of Horticulture and Agriculture, collects information on the number of workers on agricultural holdings, including the number of seasonal/ casual workers. The survey captures the number of people employed on commercial agricultural holdings on June 1st of that year.

Until 2015 the number of seasonal workers was reported for the whole of the UK. From 2016, the published seasonal numbers are for England only.

A significant number of these work in horticulture due to its high reliance on seasonal labour, however other agriculture sub-sectors also contribute to these figures. Defra does not collect data on the nationality of these workers.

The information requested can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/structure-of-the-agricultural-industry-in-england-and-the-uk-at-june

7th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to achieve a reduction in the amount of open countryside covered by bracken.

Through our agri-environment schemes we encourage farmers and land managers to look after and manage their local environments. These agreements support a number of management actions, including bracken control. Currently 881 agreements specifically include action that helps control bracken. This covers 16,527 hectares of land.

7th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the proportion of open countryside in England that was covered by bracken in (1) 1987, (2) 1997, (3) 2007, and (4) 2017; and what assessment they have made of the reasons for any changes in that coverage.

The extent of bracken broad habitat in England is estimated as part of the Countryside Survey, which is a survey of land cover across the UK. The survey has been undertaken at intervals since 1978 and provides evidence about the extent and condition or ‘health’ of the UK’s countryside today. The most recent survey was conducted in 2007.

Estimations for the extent of bracken broad habitat in England are available from 1990 onwards and are provided in the table below. Data is not available for all the years referenced in the question. Within the survey, bracken broad habitat is defined as area with 95-100% coverage with bracken plants. Between 1990 and 2007 there was no change in the overall extent of bracken.

Table: Estimated area (’000s ha) and percentage of land area of the Bracken Broad Habitat in England from 1990 to 2007. Source: Countryside Survey 2007.

Year

1990

1998

2007

(‘000 ha)

% area of England

(‘000 ha)

% area of England

(‘000 ha)

% area of England

Bracken

93

0.7

109

0.8

91

0.7

26th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their policy to encourage organic farming and to increase the amount of land used by that sector; and if so, what actions they are taking in support of that policy.

The Government believes that both conventional and organic farming offers opportunities for expansion and increased penetration of the domestic and overseas markets.

The Government recognises that organic farming and food can make a significant contribution helping to achieve environmental objectives, together with the additional consumer choice it offers, and supports this in England through the provision of financial aid for both conversion to and maintenance of organic status.

26th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the contribution of animal farming in the UK to the growing resistance to antibiotics; and whether they have set targets for the reduction of antibiotics use in animal farming.

Bacteria naturally adapt and find new ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic; any use of an antibiotic accelerates the risk that bacteria will develop resistance. In its response last year to the Independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, the Government set a target to reduce antibiotic use by 20% across all food-producing species from 2014 baseline data to 50mg/kg by 2018. Latest data show that antibiotic use in 2016 was 45 mg/kg. Defra also undertook to work with the livestock industry to set sector-specific targets for reducing antibiotic use by the end of this year. These targets have now been published which can be found here: http://www.ruma.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/RUMA-Targets-Task-Force-Report-2017-FINAL.pdf

26th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the UK's withdrawal from the EU, they intend to maintain or amend the legal framework regulating organic farming.

The Government’s intention is to maintain current organic legislation in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which will convert the existing body of EU environmental and farming regulations into UK law. This Government has made clear that we intend to retain our existing standards once we have left the EU. Maintaining the legislation ensures continuity of production and trade for our organic operators.

19th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposals by China for stricter controls on imports of waste materials; and whether they intend (1) to propose changes to rules for recycling collections or treatment; (2) to take action to seek new markets for UK waste; (3) to initiate or encourage investment in new or improved facilities for recycling or otherwise disposing of waste materials in the UK; (4) to seek changes to the composition and use of packing materials, plastics, and other materials that contribute to non-food waste.

We recognise the concerns that the recycling industry has around these measures by China. Officials from Defra, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Department of International Trade (DIT) have been working with industry representatives to understand the expected impact of these measures, provide comment to China’s Environment Ministry and develop our response to the situation. The UK supported by a number of other EU Member States raised China’s failure to observe the notification requirements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) with the European Commission. We also asked clarification on the scope of the proposed ban to help businesses prepare for the changes.

It is for the Chinese authorities to set their own standards to protect the environment and public health and we must respect their decisions. In the longer term, new markets for UK recycling may need to be found, whether abroad or in the UK. We see this as an opportunity to develop internal market capacity.

12th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the report by Eunomia published on 11 October, Impacts of a Deposit Refund System for one-way beverage packaging on local authority waste services, that a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers would be likely to yield overall net savings for English local authorities, once other factors such as the likely impact on residual waste arisings are taken into account; and whether they intend to introduce such a scheme.

We have not made a formal assessment of the findings in the report by Eunomia published on 11 October. The report will help the work of the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group, which was established as part of the Litter Strategy for England, to examine specific voluntary and/or regulatory interventions that can reduce the incidence of commonly littered items and improve recycling and reuse of packaging.

On 2 October, this government launched a call for evidence to inform the Working Group on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The call for evidence closes on 30 October and includes questions on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes.

The Working Group is due to provide us with advice on potential incentives for drinks containers early in 2018.

12th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government which statutory instruments currently in force and approved by Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, relating to the responsibilities of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are derived wholly, or in part, from EU legislation.

There are 359 core statutory instruments currently in force, relating to the responsibilities of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which are derived wholly, or in part, from EU legislation. The Department has reviewed this list and made an estimate that 59 of the 359 statutory instruments were subject to approval by Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. The full list, including these estimates of the procedure followed, will be deposited in the House library. The full texts of these SIs as well as other information are also accessible from DefraLex via legislation.gov.uk/defralex.

16th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take steps to support the British Mountaineering Council's Mend our Mountains project.

I very much welcome the success of the British Mountaineering Council's Mend our Mountains campaign which last year raised almost £104,000 to help repair damaged and eroded paths on some of our most iconic mountains and upland landscapes in our national parks.

The Government will be providing over £190 million for the national park authorities in England until 2020. The national park authorities will look to work with the British Mountaineering Council in providing any help they can give to future projects which can help make a difference to the health and condition of these treasured and much used landscapes.

24th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the findings of the Recoup UK Household Plastics Collection survey that (1) only a third of recyclable plastic was recycled by consumers in 2015, (2) consumers are confused about what plastic products and types of plastic can be recycled, and (3) there is considerable variation in the plastic products and types of plastic that can be recycled by different local authorities; and what action they intend to take to increase the amount of plastic that is recycled by consumers.

The Government welcomes the Recoup UK Household Plastic Collection Survey as a helpful contribution to our knowledge on plastics collection and recycling.

The total amount of plastic material collected from waste from households for recycling has increased from 279 kilotonnes (kt) in 2010, to over 420kt in 2014. This performance has been down to the hard work of local authorities and residents to recycle more. Around 99% of local authorities covering 97% of households (low rise and flats) in England offer a collection service for plastic bottles. Seventy-two per cent of local authorities covering 67% of households also offer a collection service for plastic packaging (pots, tubs and trays).

The Government recognises that there are still challenges and is working with the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) to improve the recyclability of plastics and to help residents to recycle more. WRAP recently published new recycling guidelines agreed with local authorities, waste management companies and reprocessors. These set out in detail what can and cannot be collected for recycling and how householders can help to reduce contamination and increase recycling, including plastics recycling.

The Government has also been working with WRAP on developing and delivering activities in support of the use of recycled plastics in new products, and on activities to stimulate demand. For example, the Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan has identified key actions that need to take place across the whole supply chain to ensure that recycling plastics packaging can be done sustainably. This includes design for recyclability, collections and sorting, reprocessing and development of sustainable end markets.

In September this year, WRAP and an industry advisory group published a framework for greater consistency in recycling collections. This framework aims to identify opportunities to rationalise packaging formats (in particular plastic packaging) to those that are recyclable and for which there is a steady market and to help local authorities to recycle a greater variety of plastics. A working group from this project is looking at the opportunities to rationalise plastic packaging, where practical and environmentally sensible to do so. This includes new communications materials and messages from Recycle Now and work on developing new end markets and applications for recycled plastics. Other work in the consistency framework seeks to promote comprehensive collection services, including for plastic packaging.

31st Oct 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether self-driving wheel-based robots can be used on footpaths, bridleways and cycleways which are public rights of way; and if so, in what circumstances.

Public rights of way allow the public to pass and repass along linear routes, in accordance with the status of the route. For example, footpaths allow for passage on foot and in mobility scooters; bridleways allow for passage on foot or in mobility scooters, on horseback or by bicycle.

Any activity other than that which is in accordance with a right of way may amount to trespass if carried out without the permission of the landowner. Additionally, obstructing or rendering a public right of way dangerous is a public nuisance in common law.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to continue to include the current requirements for cross compliance within continuing farm payments up to 2020 following the UK leaving the EU including (1) the protection of watercourses and groundwater, (2) public rights of way and boundaries, (3) soil protection standards, (4) standards of animal husbandry and welfare, and (5) the use of plant protection products.

Delivering a successful and profitable farming industry and protecting the environment will continue to form an important part of our work. The Government will work closely with both industry and the public to determine the most effective way to deliver those objectives in future.

21st Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are proposing for reclaiming lost commons under the Commons Act 2006.

Applications can already be made to register commons which were mistakenly omitted from the register in nine authority areas under the Commons Act Schedule 2 paragraphs 2-4. Together these nine authorities cover over 70% of registered commons and greens in England. In addition, where commons were omitted as a result of a mistake made by a commons registration authority, applications under section 19 of the Commons Act 2006 can be made anywhere in England.

21st Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made in developing better vaccines for foot and mouth disease.

There are three vaccines authorised for use in the UK for foot and mouth disease (FMD).

The UK Marketing Authorisation Holder (Merial Animal Health Ltd) is a leading developer of FMD vaccines and a major supplier worldwide.

The decision on whether to develop and market a new product is a commercial one for those pharmaceutical companies wishing to invest the necessary capital. Applications for new products are assessed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to ensure their safety, quality and efficacy prior to them being authorised.

26th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of waste collection authorities in England that are collecting residual kitchen and non-recyclable domestic waste (1) weekly, (2) fortnightly, (3) every three weeks, and (4) monthly.

Estimates on the number of authorities collecting residual waste in England are collated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). This information represents WRAP’s best understanding of residual waste collection frequencies up to the end of May this year.

‘Residual waste’ collection normally excludes dry recyclables, but includes food waste, where this is not collected separately (or mixed with garden waste) for recycling either by being sent to treatment through anaerobic digestion or composting.

Where the authority offers more than one scheme frequency to different householders, they have been counted in each category, and therefore some authorities are counted more than once.

Number of authorities on each residual waste collection frequency

Weekly

Fortnightly

Both weekly & fortnightly

Three-weekly

Monthly

168

237

83

2

0

Figures are for England

16th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the discovery in the UK of the tick-borne canine parasite Babesia canis and the associated disease babesiosis in dogs; what action they are taking to provide information to dog owners, breeders, vets and others who come into contact with dogs, including those who deal with stray dogs; and what assessment they have made of the possible introduction into the UK of species of Babesia that may also infect humans, and of the possible presence of, and risks presented by, ticks that can host and spread both Babesia and Borrelia pathogens.

Experts at the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Public Health England (PHE) are working together to investigate the locally acquired cases in Essex and this will include providing advice to the local authority, vets, pet owners and the public on what to do in the event of finding ticks on animals or observe clinical signs in pet dogs, through specialist press and public messages from the Defra, APHA and PHE communications teams.

On the risks of introduction of pathogens such as Babesia and Borrelia to humans and potential spread by ticks, PHE is responsible for the monitoring of Lyme disease through surveillance of reference laboratory diagnosed cases and provides guidance on avoiding tick bites. PHE runs a “Tick Surveillance Scheme” for ticks found by members of the public, general practitioners, vets and those working with wildlife, so PHE can map tick species across the UK and monitor changes in distribution.

Humans can be infected by Babesia microti, a rodent pathogen, and by Babesia bovis and Babesia divergens. Very few human cases have been reported in Europe or the UK, but virtually all have been related to B. divergens. In the US, human cases are caused by B. microti linked to white footed mice, a common rodent host of Borrelia burgdorferi in N. America. There are no reports of human infection with B. canis.

14th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effects of the current funding levels of (1) the Environment Agency, (2) lead drainage authorities, and (3) district councils, on (a) small scale flood alleviation schemes, (b) preventive and regular maintenance of drainage systems, and (c) the ability of these bodies to respond to emergencies.

The Government confirmed in the Spending Review that the Environment Agency’s maintenance budget would be protected, in real terms, over the life of this Parliament.


Under the Land Drainage Act, internal drainage boards assess how much funding they need in order to carry out works and then charge this to rate and levy payers accordingly. Internal drainage boards receive funding from agricultural rate payers in their drainage district and from district and unitary authorities via a special levy which they place on those bodies.


The Government provides funding to lead local flood authorities to carry out their duties under the Flood and Water Management Act but local authorities decide what to spend on drainage and flood prevention according to local priorities. As part of a consultation on the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2016-17, the Government has proposed protecting this funding in real terms over the life of this Parliament.

14th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the role of district councils in two-tier areas in the maintenance of drainage systems, the prevention of local flooding, and action when flooding occurs.

District councils have several responsibilities and powers in relation to flooding and land drainage. These include powers to carry out flood risk management works on ordinary watercourses, powers to make bye-laws to manage flood risk in the authority’s area from ordinary watercourses and to secure the efficient working of a drainage system in the authority’s district or area. Those in coastal areas are also Coastal Protection Authorities.


District councils are also responsible for a set of civil protection duties for emergencies. Plans are regularly reviewed and tested as part of local exercise arrangements.


Defra commissioned an independent evaluation into the arrangements for managing local flood risk under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. The evaluation has now concluded and will be published in due course. One of the areas the evaluation explored was partnership working between the Lead Local Flood Authority and other risk management authorities, including district councils.

17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the total capital and current spending on (1) drainage, and (2) flood prevention, by (a) local authorities in England, and (b) the Environment Agency, in each of the past ten years and in the current year.

Local authorities decide what to spend on drainage and flood prevention depending on local priorities. The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes statistics on local authorities’ revenue expenditure and capital expenditure outturns on GOV.UK. They are currently published from 2007/08 until 2014/15 with budget and forecast figures for 2015/16. Figures in relation to defences against flooding and land drainage are included in the statistics.

The Environment Agency invests in flood and coastal erosion risk management. Whilst in some cases there may also be secondary drainage benefits of this work, the Environment Agency does not measure those benefits and so cannot report on spending on drainage.

The table below shows the Environment Agency’s expenditure on flood and coastal erosion risk management in each of the past ten years, with budget figures for the current year. All figures are in £m, with real terms figures given at 2015/16 prices.

Year

Total

Total Real Terms

2005/06

445.1

549.7

2006/07

439.7

528.7

2007/08

459.4

536.7

2008/09

565.6

644.6

2009/10

620.1

688.9

2010/11

651.6

704.4

2011/12

548.5

582.5

2012/13

537.1

561.4

2013/14

535.9

548.8

2014/15

569.3

575.0

2015/16

601.4

601.4

In addition to the above, exceptional funding of £30m; £180m; and £60m was provided to the Environment Agency in financial years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively (cash terms), following the winter 2013/14 flood event.

26th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they give local authorities on (1) the minimum desirable frequency of waste collections for (a) recyclates, (b) food waste, and (c) other residual waste, and (2) the criteria that they should use when deciding such frequencies.

Decisions on collection arrangements and frequency are for each Local Authority to make, taking into account local circumstances including the practicalities, characteristics of the area, providing the service that local residents want, and the need to protect public health and the environment.


Defra has funded the Waste and Resources Action Programme to provide advice and support to Local Authorities on good practice for waste and recycling, and to help Local Authorities promote their services more effectively and make them convenient. We are also encouraging greater harmonisation of waste collection and recycling services across different local authority areas.

29th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the fly-tipping statistics for England 2014–15<i>,</i> and what action they will take in response to them.

The 2014/15 fly-tipping statistics showed that there were 900,000 reported fly-tipping incidents in England.

Tackling fly-tipping is a priority for the Government. As set out in our manifesto we will be giving councils the power to tackle small scale fly-tipping through penalty notices as an alternative to prosecutions in spring 2016.

These steps will build on other action we have taken, including working with the Sentencing Council to strengthen its Guideline for sentencing for environmental offences, which came into force on 1 July last year; making it easier for vehicles suspected of being involved in waste crime to be stopped, searched and seized; and continuing to work in partnership with others through the Defra-chaired National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, to promote and disseminate good practice in the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipped waste.

12th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the problems resulting from the spread of herbicide-resistant black grass; and what action they are taking to address them.

Herbicide-resistant black-grass has been confirmed in over 30 counties in England, with the eastern and south-eastern counties being particularly badly affected. Monitoring the prevalence of black-grass was introduced into the Defra Winter Wheat Pest and Disease Surveys in 2012 following reports of significant problems in controlling black-grass weeds in wheat crops. Research shows that a number of cultural methods can reduce black-grass incidence including use of ploughing, rotation and delayed drilling. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Cereals and Oilseeds Division has brought together a range of advice on its website to help farmers tackle the problem of black-grass.

20th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what land and property has been (1) disposed of, and (2) acquired, by the Forestry Commission since the publication of the report of the 2012 Independent Panel on Forestry.

From 4 July 2012 to 21 July 2015, two sites in the north of England totalling 0.12 hectares were disposed of as a result of property rationalisation. In the west of England 15.5 hectares of leasehold was surrendered. During the same period land acquired by, or gifted to, the Public Forest Estate was 79.56 hectares across four sites in central, east, west and southern England. This represents a net increase in PFE land for this period.

20th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 16 June (HL298), whether they intend to bring forward primary legislation concerning the forestry estate in the course of this Parliament; and if so, what is their expected timetable for doing so.

We are fully committed to holding the public forest estate in trust for the nation. Preparatory work has taken place, with key interested parties being involved. We have not committed to bring forward primary legislation, although we have not ruled this out either. In the meantime, the estate will remain secure in the care of the Forestry Commission. I wish to reiterate that we have absolutely no plans to sell the public forest estate.

20th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 16 June (HL298), which interested parties have been involved in the preparatory work on keeping public forests and woodlands in trust for the nation, in line with the 2012 Independent Panel on Forestry’s recommendations.

Since the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry report in 2012, we have engaged with over 50 interested parties on a range of forestry related matters, primarily through their membership of the national Forestry Forum whose next meeting is scheduled for October. This engagement has included preparatory work to develop proposals to keep the forests in trust for the nation.

8th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have regarding the future ownership and management of the forestry estate.

As set out in our manifesto we will ensure that our public forests and woodlands are kept in trust for the nation in line with the 2012 Independent Panel on Forestry’s recommendations. A great deal of preparatory work has already taken place, in which key interested parties have been involved. In the meantime, the estate will remain secure in the care of the Forestry Commission.

4th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the timetable for decisions on the proposals to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks.

A public inquiry into Natural England’s proposals to extend the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks was held in June 2013. The inspector’s report has been submitted to Defra and is now being considered. The Secretary of State will issue her decisions in due course.

28th May 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to continue the programme for the completion of coastal access in England.

The coastal access programme has so far opened up 101 miles of our beautiful coastline for everyone to enjoy, boosting local tourism and growing the rural economy.

The Government is working closely with Natural England to build on the progress already made. We have approved Natural England’s coastal access proposals for a further 94 miles and by the end of this financial year we expect Natural England to have submitted proposals for another 431 miles.

11th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will advise the Lake District National Park Authority not to accept any offer to purchase Stickle Tarn until such time as South Lakeland District Council has processed and determined the application to place the tarn site on the List of Community Assets.

I understand that, following the formal tender process, the Authority did not find a bidder for Stickle Tarn who fully met its requirements or fully addressed the concerns expressed by the local community and various interested parties. It remains committed to exploring alternative responsible ownership for Stickle Tarn and will work with the community and interested groups in the coming weeks.

27th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation took place with (1) local authorities, (2) local voluntary bodies, (3) other local bodies involved with amenity and tourism, and (4) national voluntary and campaigning bodies concerned with National Parks, outdoor activities and access, before taking the decision to advertise for sale land at Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale), Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale), Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood, Blea Brows (Coniston Water), Lady Wood (White Moss), Banerigg Wood (White Moss), and the amenity land with river frontage at Portinscale.

National park authorities are independent bodies provided with the power, under the 1972 Local Government Act, to dispose of land. The Government has no role in consultation on disposal decisions.

The Lake District National Park Authority has voluntarily provided information regarding the consultation they have undertaken, including liaison with parish councils, public notices advertising their intention to invite offers for some properties and direct consultation with a number of neighbouring landowners and strategic partners.

The Authority has committed to continue to consult and respond to any queries and concerns they receive throughout the formal tender process.

27th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what powers they have to direct a National Park Authority to dispose or not to dispose of land or a particular piece of land.

Her Majesty’s Government has no powers to direct a national park authority to dispose or not to dispose of land or a particular piece of land.

27th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they have given to National Park Authorities on (1) the disposal of land and in particular on publicising and allowing consultation on proposals for disposing of land before decisions are made, (2) the criteria that should be applied in deciding whether to dispose of particular pieces of land, and (3) the priorities that should be applied in such cases.

The Local Government Act 1972 provides local authorities, including national parks, with the powers to dispose of land. It details the procedure to be followed in doing so, including the responsibility to advertise the disposal of any Open Space. ODPM Circular 06/2003 provides additional guidance on the disposal of land at less than best consideration.

27th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had or plan to have with the Lake District National Park Authority about its programme of land sales and in particular its decision to advertise for sale land at Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale), Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale), Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood, Blea Brows (Coniston Water), Lady Wood (White Moss), Banerigg Wood (White Moss), and the amenity land with river frontage at Portinscale.

Defra officials have discussed these issues with the Lake District National Park Authority to understand the situation better.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to ask the Lake District National Park Authority to defer the sale of any sites of land where an application has been made to register the site as an asset of community value for a sufficient length of time to allow the application to be determined.

Central Government has no powers to require a National Parks Authority to sell or not to sell land. It would be inappropriate for it to interfere in such a process. Regardless of sale, the regulations require the responsible authority to make a decision on listing as an asset of community value within 8 weeks of nomination.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which sites have been disposed of by National Park Authorities in England in the past 10 years; when, to whom and for what consideration the disposal took place in each case; and which sites have been advertised for sale but retained by the relevant Authority.

National Park Authorities are independent bodies and the information requested is not held centrally by Her Majesty’s Government. The Lake District National Park Authority has voluntarily provided the following information regarding those properties it has sold:

2007

Beckside Farm

Private Landowner

£1,518,593

2007

Woodlands at Meathop

Private Landowner

£18,000

2007

Woodlands at Summerhouse Knot

Charitable Trust

£18,700

2007

Woodlands at Bank Wood, Bassenthwaite

Private Landowner

£28,500

2008

Ghyll Head & Great Canclestick Moss

Private Landowner

£57,500

2008

Seatoller Barn

Private Landowner

£205,000

2009

Coniston Station Industrial Units

Government Organisation

£24,000

2009

Troutbeck Station Land

Private Landowner

£31,165

2009

Park Holme

Private Landowners

£16,223

2010

Land swap – Hawkshead

Commercial body

£0

2011

Banana Field

Private Landowner

£36,000

2011

Winder Intake

Private Landowner

£22,400

2011

Haverthwaite Heights

Commercial Body

£25,000

2011

Fieldfoot Woods

Private Landowner

£100,000

2011

Outfield Meadow

Community Group

£5,000

2013

Land at Craggy Wood

Statutory Undertaker

£5,000

2013

Pool Wood, Hawkshead

Private Landowner

£22,500

2013

Fox Ghyll Woods

Private Landowner

£150,000

2014

Blencathra

Education Charity - Sitting Tenant

£1,475,000

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each of the following sites owned by the Lake District National Park Authority, what is the current public access situation, what will be the public access situation following a sale, and how any access is guaranteed and for how long: Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale), Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale), Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood, Blea Brows (Coniston Water), Lady Wood (White Moss), Banerigg Wood (White Moss), and the amenity land with river frontage at Portinscale that is currently being offered for sale.

All but one of the sites has rights of access on foot under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. These rights are not affected as a result of sale of the land.

In terms of the specific sites, the following access rights apply:

· Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale) - The land around the tarn is open-access land (although the water-body of the tarn itself is not).

· Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale) – No pre-existing public rights of access.

· Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood - This land is open-access land.

· Blea Brows (Coniston Water) - This land is open-access land.

· Lady Wood (White Moss) - This land is open-access land.

· Banerigg Wood (White Moss) - This land is open-access land.

· Land at Portinscale - No pre-existing public rights of open access. As part of the sale process, the Lake District National Park Authority has dedicated the land in perpetuity as open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the area of land that is owned by the Lake District National Park Authority; and whether they will list the sites that it owns.

Defra’s asset register lists assets within Defra ownership. National park assets are outside of the Government estate and as such are not listed. The Lake District National Park Authority has voluntarily provided the following information regarding properties they currently own or manage:

The Lake District National Park Authority own nearly 9,000 hectares of land which is 3.92 per cent of the total land area (229,200 hectares) of the national park.

As at 27 February 2015 the Lake District National Park Authority owns 168 properties, contained within 118 sites, as follows:

1 Ambleside Depot

2 Banerigg and Lady Woods

3 Banks Point

4 Barf Common

5 Barnes Land

6 Bassenthwaite Lake

7 Beck Wythop

8 Beech Hill access land

9 Beech Hill car park

10 Beech Hill public toilets

11 Blackstock Point

12 Blawith Common

13 Blea Brows

14 Blue Hill & Red Bank Woods

15 Bowness Bay Information Centre

16 Brathay Riverside (north bank)

17 Brathay Riverside (south bank)

18 Brathay Riverside car park

19 Broadgate Meadow car park

20 Broadness Meadow

21 Brockhole car parks

22 Brockhole Lodge

23 Brockhole public toilets

24 Brockhole Tree Top Treks office

25 Brockhole Visitor Centre

26 Bronwen Nixon Bridge (Ambleside)

27 Broughton Depot

28 Brown Howe access land

29 Brown Howe car park

30 Brown Howe public toilets

31 Buttermere village car park

32 Buttermere village public toilets

33 Caldbeck Common

34 Caldbeck village car park

35 Caldbeck village green fragments

36 Calder Valley woods

37 Calder Valley woods car park

38 Calfclose and Needlelee Woods

39 Chapel Bridge car park

40 Coniston Boating Centre

41 Coniston Boating Centre - Bluebird Café

42 Coniston Boating Centre car park

43 Coniston Boating Centre public toilets

44 Coniston Old Station car park

45 Coniston, Ruskin Avenue car park

46 Coniston, Ruskin Avenue former Information Centre

47 Coniston, Ruskin Avenue land opposite The Crown

48 Coniston, Ruskin Avenue public toilets

49 Copper House / Mealy Gill bridge

50 Cow Bridge car park

51 Craggy Wood

52 Derwent Foot

53 Duddon Iron Furnace

54 Duddon Iron Furnace car park

55 Dungeon Ghyll car park

56 Elterwater toilets

57 Eskdale Green toilets

58 Eusemere car park

59 Fell Dyke car park

60 Glenridding Common Area shared with National Trust

61 Glenridding Common Main area - sole ownership

62 Glenridding village car park

63 Glenridding village Information Centre

64 Glenridding village public toilets

65 Gowbarrow lakeshore access land

66 Gowbarrow lakeshore lay-bys

67 Grange Crags car park

68 Greenside Mines

69 Greenside Mines - Helvellyn Hostel YHA

70 Greenside Mines - Striding Edge Hostel

71 Hammarbank car park

72 Hassness estate

73 Hassness estate - Dalegarth House

74 Hassness estate - Hassness House

75 Haverthwaite Heights

76 Hawkshead village car park

77 Hawkshead village former info centre

78 Hawkshead village public toilets

79 Hesket Newmarket car park

80 Hesket Newmarket Village Green

81 High Dam & Bell Intake car park

82 High Dam & Bell Intake Woods

83 Howk (The)

84 Hursthole Point

85 Keswick Information Centre

86 Keswick railway line footpath

87 Kirkstone Pass car park

88 Land at Brackenbarrow, Torver

89 Land at Keswick Rly Station

90 Lingy Fell shooting hut

91 Long Bridge NE parcel

92 Long Bridge SW parcel

93 Longsleddale toilets

94 Ludderburn

95 Machell Coppice

96 Monk Coniston public toilets

97 Monk Coniston car park

98 Murley Moss

99 Ouse Bridge access land

100 Ouse Bridge car park

101 Paddock Wray Woods

102 Peel Wyke car park

103 Peel Wyke harbour lakeshore

104 Penny Rock and White Moss Woods

105 Powter How car park

106 Powter How woods

107 Ravenglass Roman Fort

108 Ravenglass village car park

109 Ravenglass village public toilets

110 Rawlinson Nab

111 Red Pit car park

112 Rough Mire & Green Mire

113 Rusland Moss

114 Rusland Tannery

115 Rusland Woods (Border Moss Wood)

116 Rusland Woods (Glass Knott)

117 Rusland Woods (Hall Brow Woods)

118 Rusland Woods (Round Close Wood)

119 Rusland Woods (Stony Hazel Woods)

120 Rusland Woods (Thwaite Head Woods)

121 Rusland Woods (Waterside Knott)

122 Rusland Woods (Yew Barrow Woods)

123 Scout Scar access land

124 Scout Scar car park

125 Seathwaite car park

126 Silecroft car park

127 Silecroft Heath

128 Silecroft Heath Caravan site

129 Silecroft public toilets

130 Stanley Ghyll

131 Station Coppice car park

132 Stickle Tarn

133 Stock Lane car park

134 Stock Lane public toilets

135 Stockdale Wood

136 Storms Estate

137 The Parks (Haverthwaite)

138 Threlkeld old station - Northern Office

139 Threlkeld old station car park

140 Tilberthwaite Ghyll access land

141 Tilberthwaite Ghyll car park

142 Torver Back Common

143 Torver Common Wood

144 Torver High Common

145 Torver Low Common

146 Trough House Bridge access land

147 Trough House Bridge car park

148 Troutbeck Station

149 Uldale Common

150 Uldale Village Green

151 Ullswater

152 Waterhead (Ambleside) car park

153 Waterhead (Ambleside) former information centre

154 Waterhead (Ambleside) public toilets

155 Whitbarrow Scar

156 Windermere islands - Crow Holme

157 Windermere islands - Grass Holme

158 Windermere islands - Haws Holme

159 Windermere islands - Lilies of the Valley E

160 Windermere islands - Lilies of the Valley W

161 Windermere islands - Ling Holme

162 Windermere islands - Maiden Holme

163 Windermere islands - Silver Holme

164 Windermere islands - Thompson Holme

165 Woodend Brow car park

166 Woodend Brow Wood

167 Woodend Farm

168 Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale)

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when, for what stated purposes and in what circumstances (including whether gifted or purchased) the following sites were acquired by the Lake District National Park Authority: Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale), Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale), Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood, Blea Brows (Coniston Water), Lady Wood (White Moss), Banerigg Wood (White Moss), and the amenity land with river frontage at Portinscale that is currently being offered for sale; and what is the current predominant land use in each case.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lords, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord de Mauley):

National Park Authorities are independent bodies and the information requested is not held centrally by Her Majesty’s Government. The Lake District National Park Authority has voluntarily provided the following information regarding the properties being sold by it:

Stickle Tarn (Great Langdale)

Purchased in 1960 to secure it as open space for recreation. This is the predominant land use, protected under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Yewbarrow Woods (Longsleddale)

Purchased in 1983 to maintain and secure its condition. The predominant land use is woodland and SSSI.

Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood, Ambleside

Purchased in 1977 and 2000 for woodland creation, improvement and public access. The predominant use is as accessible woodland.

Blea Brows, Coniston Water,

Leased from 1975 and then purchased in 2000 for the purpose of securing public access. This is the predominant land use, protected under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Lady Wood (White Moss), Grasmere

Purchased in 1972 to secure public access. The predominant use is accessible woodland.

Banerigg Wood (White Moss), Grasmere

Purchased in 1972 to secure public access. The predominant use is accessible woodland.

Amenity land with river frontage at Portinscale

Purchased in 1981 for public amenity and public access. This is the predominant land use, protected under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

19th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of historic rights of way which will not have been recorded by the time of the cut-off in 2026, broken down by (1) routes where claims have been submitted, and (2) routes for which claims have not been submitted.

The Government has not made any assessment of the number of historical public rights of way which will not have been recorded by the time of the cut-off date in 2026. Any assessment would depend on a number of unknown variables and could only be made at a disproportionate cost.

15th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the percentage change in spending on rights of way and countryside access by each local highway authority between 2010–11 and 2014–15.

Local highway authorities are responsible for protecting the rights of the public to use footpaths and other rights of way. They are also responsible for determining their own local spending priorities and it is for local people to hold them to account. Consequently, the information requested is held by each local highway authority, not centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

14th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the extent of Lyme disease in the United Kingdom in (1) sheep, (2) other farm animals, (3) domestic animals, and (4) wild animals; and what action they are taking to reduce the number of infected animals.

Defra has made no formal assessment of the extent of Lyme disease in the United Kingdom in livestock, domestic or wild animals. However a number of surveillance studies have shown that the main carriers of the Borrelia organism that causes Lyme disease in people and dogs are small wild mammals (for example mice and voles) and ground nesting birds. Other studies have looked at the role of cattle, sheep and deer as hosts for the intermediate tick host, although these species do not maintain infection with the organism. No action is taken to reduce the number of infected wild animals. Action to reduce the number of infected wild animals could only be taken at disproportionate cost.

Control of the disease in people is focussed on public awareness of the importance of preventing tick bites. Factsheets on tick bite risk and prevention are produced by Public Health England and Lyme Disease Action, with further information for patients published by NHS Choices. Veterinary advice on the prevention of infection in dogs is widely available through private practitioners and a vaccine for dogs is now licensed.

14th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of the rate and extent of the spread of Japanese Knotweed in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world where it is not native.

We are aware that Japanese knotweed is widespread across many parts of the world; recent information (from the CABI Compendium, part funded by Defra) suggests it is found in 35 countries outside its native range. Following its introduction to the UK in the early 1800s, Japanese knotweed was first recorded in the wild in 1886. Its initial spread was slow. By 1930 it was present in 73 hectads (i.e. 10km x 10km squares) in the British Isles; by 1986 it had spread to 948 hectads and it is now present in approximately 2,879 hectads.

8th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they are giving to each local authority in relation to (1) the desirability of carrying out a survey of the incidence of Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in their area, (2) the desirability of establishing a programme for its suppression and removal, and (3) the best means of doing this both on land they own, and on other land in their area.

Advice relating to the identification and treatment of Japanese knotweed is openly available to local authorities through a variety of mechanisms. Defra and its delivery partners, including the Environment Agency and Natural England, provide guidance on their websites, as does the Non-Native Species Secretariat. The advice includes identification sheets and best practice guidance for management and removal. However, it is for the local authority itself to decide what priority and resource it places on tackling Japanese knotweed.

8th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made with the pilot schemes for control of Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) using the psyllid Aphalara itadora; and what assessment they have made of schemes and proposals for the control of Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in other parts of Europe, and North America.

Following rigorous laboratory testing which identified the psyllid Aphalara itadori as a suitable biocontrol agent for Japanese knotweed, it was released under licence to two sites in spring 2010, subject to a programme of close monitoring. After reviewing the data collected, the Food and Environment Research Agency, as the licensing authority, approved releases in spring 2011 to seven sites in England and one site in Wales.

The psyllid has successfully overwintered since then, but numbers have remained low so additional releases were made at the sites in spring of 2012, 2013 and 2014 to boost numbers with the aim of achieving establishment. This rate of progress is not unexpected. The sites continue to be closely monitored.

This was the first intentional release of a non-native organism to control an invasive plant in Europe. Other classical biocontrol programmes from around the world have taken five to ten years from release to achieve successful biological control.

23rd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the procedures for the creation, amendment and abolition of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This is a devolved matter. In England, Natural England has powers under section 82 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to designate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and section 83 provides for the procedure. It is for Natural England to consider calls for new AONBs or changes to existing AONBs.

In addition to the formal statutory consultations set out in the legislation, Natural England also, throughout the process, seeks engagement with key interested parties and the general public in and around the area concerned.

Any Designation or Variation Order made by Natural England would need to be advertised and submitted to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for confirmation. Depending on the responses, a public inquiry may be held, and the Secretary of State may confirm, confirm with modifications, or refuse to confirm the order.

23rd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals are currently being considered for the creation, amendment and abolition of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This is a devolved matter. In England, it is for Natural England to consider proposals for the creation, amendment or abolition of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). The Secretary of State’s role is limited to confirming, modifying or rejecting any designation or variation orders that Natural England puts forward.

The Natural England Board (as published in Board minutes) confirmed in December 2013 it would be working towards a Variation Order for the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Initial work towards a boundary variation to extend the Surrey Hills AONB has also been agreed (Board minutes of February 2014).

No other substantive work on AONB designation is contemplated in the next three years by Natural England, although a range of historic calls for new AONBs and variations to extend boundaries are presently being reviewed.

23rd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have (1) been created, (2) had their boundaries changed, and (3) been abolished, within the last ten years.

This is a devolved matter. In England, no new Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) have been designated and no variations to existing AONB boundaries have been made in the last ten years.

As part of the designation of the New Forest and South Downs National Parks, three AONBs were subject to revocation orders. The land within those AONBs fell under the new National Park Designations so it was necessary to remove the AONB status. Other than that, there have been no “abolitions”.

19th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the reasons for the decision of the North York Moors National Park Authority to cease to maintain the footpaths and bridleways within the National Park, and (2) the likely short- and long-term consequences of that decision for (a) the contribution made by volunteers, (b) the quality of the rights of way network in the National Park, and (c) the local economy in and around the Park.

The Government recognises the importance of high quality access infrastructure within the tourism offer of national parks and the valuable role played by many volunteers in helping to maintain rights of ways. Rights of way are the primary means by which people access the countryside and engage in outdoor recreation, which is good for health and well-being and good for the economy.

Maintenance of rights of way is the statutory responsibility of local authorities. The North York Moors National Park Authority is an independent body and its agreements with local authorities are for it to decide. The Government has made no assessment of any change in approach on this issue or the possible consequences.

5th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs of the damage to Mosul and other towns and villages in northern Iraq following recent fighting; which bodies have responsibility for the reconstruction of those areas; and what discussions they have held, or plan to hold, with other governments and agencies on these matters.

The costs of the damage to Mosul and northern Iraq following recent fighting as well as the previous occupation by Daesh are great and currently still being assessed. The World Bank is due to release its Damage Needs Assessment Report shortly which will contain the most up to date estimate of the costs and will be available to the wider public.

Reconstruction of these areas is the responsibility of the Government of Iraq who has allocated $350m so far for reconstruction efforts in their 2018 draft budget. UK officials regularly hold meetings with the GOI to discuss reconstruction needs and are encouraging the GOI to use an upcoming Kuwaiti-hosted reconstruction conference as an opportunity to attract private sector investment.

5th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs of the damage to (1) Aleppo, (2) Raqqa, and (3) other towns and villages in northern Syria, following recent fighting; which bodies have responsibility for the reconstruction of those areas; and what discussions they have held, or plan to hold, with other governments and agencies on these matters.

While the conflict is ongoing, our priority is to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to those affected. The UK will only provide support for reconstruction once a credible, genuine and inclusive political transition is firmly underway. It is not possible at present to assess accurately the costs of reconstruction.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to assist the organisations and volunteers in the UK taking action to help refugees (1) in the Calais area, (2) in the Dodecanese islands, and (3) elsewhere in Europe.

The UK has been at the forefront of the response to the crisis in Syria and the region. The UK has pledged over £1.12 billion, our largest ever humanitarian response to a single crisis. We are the second largest bilateral donor after the US and have done more than any other European country.


The UK’s priority is to stop the deaths of migrants making perilous journeys. We believe the right approach is to support people to stay in a place of safety in their home or host countries. To this end we are increasing our work to support longer term stability and resilience-building inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.


We are providing £15 million to organisations working in Europe, which includes immediate humanitarian support to migrants and refugees who have made the journey to Europe. Our package of support includes life-saving aid to protect the most vulnerable people, as well as support to governments in managing registration in Europe and the Western Balkans.

27th Feb 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether it is their intention to remain part of the CETA trade agreement after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

CETA is an important trade agreement for the UK and we remain committed to seeing it provisionally applied as quickly as possible. Once we leave the EU, we are seeking to deliver maximum continuity and certainty for businesses in our trade and investment relationships with third countries, including those covered by EU FTAs or other EU preferential arrangements.

27th Feb 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of (1) the current state of play of the TTIP trade negotiations, and (2) the prospect of reaching agreement.

The UK has always been supportive of deepening trade relations between the US and the EU and continues to support an ambitious, wide-ranging TTIP deal which opens markets. It is for the Commission and the new US Administration to discuss TTIP in the first instance. We welcome the significant progress that has been made to date.

A joint EU-US report was published on 17 January 2017 on progress made in the TTIP negotiations. The Government was notified by the Commission last week that a more detailed technical report is now available, which we are in the process of making accessible to MPs and Peers in the UK’s national TTIP Reading Room.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of proposals for rail network improvements in Lancashire and Cumbria in Transport for the North’s plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The Department has worked closely with Northern leaders to develop a Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network that benefits all regions of the North, including Lancashire and Cumbria. The Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), which will outline a recommended way forward on scoping, phasing and sequencing of NPR, has carefully considered the views of stakeholders across the North of England to produce an investment programme that truly reflects the key transport priorities of the North.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) Transport for the North’s “preferred route” for Northern Powerhouse Rail, (2) how that route was chosen, and (3) whether the route can be built with the previously announced funding estimate of £42 billion.

The Government has been actively considering this as part of its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which will outline the investment blueprint for Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 Phase 2b and other transport investment in the North and Midlands. Work is ongoing to establish the exact costs.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to phase out diesel traction passenger trains in the North of England.

The Government’s ambition is to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040 and replace them with low-carbon traction technologies, including electrification, hydrogen and battery trains.

The Network Rail-led Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) provides advice about which decarbonising technologies could best suit each part of the network. TDNS will inform the Department’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Government decisions about the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation between now and 2050.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Prime Minister on 22 February (HC Deb, col 626–8), what discussions they have had with train operating companies about resuming a full service on the railways; and what is the timetable for such plans.

Train Operating Companies are preparing to meet demand as restrictions are gradually eased, as outlined by the Prime Minister on 22 February. In preparation for the return of schools on 8 March, they are working closely with local transport planning authorities and schools, to meet the demand for student travel. As demand for rail services returns, operators will plan to run the appropriate level of service for demand whilst maintaining reliability.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Prime Minister on 22 February (HC Deb, col 626–8), whether they plan to provide advice to the public on returning to using public transport; and if so, when.

We maintained public transport services so that those who need to travel can continue to do so. Travel advice encourages people use active travel modes where possible and practice social distancing whilst travelling on the public transport network for those needing to make essential journeys.

As restrictions ease we will expect journeys on public transport to increase. Operators have put in place a whole range of measures, such as enhanced cleaning, so passengers can travel safely. We will continue to provide advice on how people can travel safely; this includes on public transport.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the Integrated Rail Plan for the North of England.

The Department intends to publish the IRP in early 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Transport for the North about (1) when the latter's report on the high-speed line between Leeds/Bradford and Manchester will be published, (2) any alternative routes, and (3) further consultation procedures.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail Strategic Outline Case is expected to be published once it has been finalised with Transport for the North and approved by the Government, setting out the options under consideration. As with all major transport projects, route consultation will follow at the appropriate time.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the role of Highways England in maintaining disused railway structures; what assessment they have made of the efficacy of existing procedures relating to disused railway structures; and what plans they have to review such procedures.

In addition to its primary role as highway authority for the strategic road network in England, Highways England manages the Historical Railways Estate on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport across England, Scotland and Wales. Highways England’s existing procedures are designed to keep the public safe and are underpinned by what is the safest and most appropriate option for a given structure.

Although there are currently no plans to review existing procedures, this will be kept under consideration.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their current plans in relation to the Queensbury tunnel.

The Department agreed in July 2020 to fund two feasibility studies looking at options for the future of the tunnel. The first, led by Highways England, is examining what would need to be done and how much it would cost to return the tunnel to a safe and usable condition. The second, led by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, is looking at options for greenway routes between Bradford and Halifax, both including and excluding the tunnel, so that the relative costs and benefits of each can be considered. A steering group comprising the Department for Transport, Highways England, and the relevant local authorities is overseeing the studies, both of which are due to be complete by the spring and will inform any future decision on the future of the tunnel.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have established targets for the number of miles of railway line that will be reinstated for passenger use as part of the Restoring Your Railway Fund (1) within five years, and (2) within ten years; and what estimate they have made of the total length of reinstated lines, in miles, that will be achieved in those time periods.

The £500m Restoring Your Railway fund aims to start reopening lines and stations, reconnecting smaller communities, regenerating local economies and improving access to jobs, homes and education. No targets have been established for the number of miles of railway line that will be reinstated for passenger use and no estimate made of the total length of reinstated railway lines.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to provide assistance to households which do not have space for recharging electric vehicles from their own home; and, if so, how they plan to provide such assistance before 2030 (1) for houses where vehicles are parked on the street outside the house, and (2) for flats or apartments where communal parking facilities are not provided within the premises.

The Government recognises that not having access to off-street parking can be a significant barrier to motorists making the switch to zero emission vehicles and this is something we have sought to address. Local authorities are able to take advantage of the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which assists them with the cost of installing chargepoints on residential streets. To date the ORCS has supported over 100 local authorities to fund more than 3,800 chargepoints for residents who do not have off-street parking. The doubling of funding for the ORCS to £20 million announced in May last year by the Transport Secretary will allow local authorities to install up to 7,200 charging devices, making charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space.

The Government also committed at Spending Review £90 million to fund local electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England. Details of this fund will be announced in due course.

Drivers without off-street parking at home can also take advantage of the Workplace Charging Scheme, which provides Government support of up to £350 towards the cost of installing a charge point socket for staff and fleet use, with a maximum of 40 sockets available per business. To date over 4,000 businesses have used this scheme to install over 12,000 chargepoint sockets. There are a growing number of solutions for drivers without private parking, such as initiatives like Community Charging, where those with personal chargepoints can share access with other residents.

The Government recognises the need to do more to address the challenges in this area and will continue to work with colleagues in Government and across industry to secure improvements for residents. We will continue to support industry and local authorities across the whole of the UK to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. A clear delivery plan will be published in 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the provision of facilities for recharging batteries of electric vehicles to households which do not have space to charge the vehicle from their own home; and what proportion of households do not have space to charge electric vehicles from their own home.

The Government recognises that not having access to off-street parking can be a significant barrier to motorists making the switch to zero emission vehicles and this is something we have sought to address. Local authorities are able to take advantage of the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which assists them with the cost of installing chargepoints on residential streets. To date the ORCS has supported over 100 local authorities to fund more than 3,800 chargepoints for residents who do not have off-street parking. The doubling of funding for the ORCS to £20 million announced in May last year by the Transport Secretary will allow local authorities to install up to 7,200 charging devices, making charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space.

The Government also committed at Spending Review £90 million to fund local electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England. Details of this fund will be announced in due course.

Drivers without off-street parking at home can also take advantage of the Workplace Charging Scheme, which provides Government support of up to £350 towards the cost of installing a charge point socket for staff and fleet use, with a maximum of 40 sockets available per business. To date over 4,000 businesses have used this scheme to install over 12,000 chargepoint sockets. There are a growing number of solutions for drivers without private parking, such as initiatives like Community Charging, where those with personal chargepoints can share access with other residents.

The Government recognises the need to do more to address the challenges in this area and will continue to work with colleagues in Government and across industry to secure improvements for residents. We will continue to support industry and local authorities across the whole of the UK to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. A clear delivery plan will be published in 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the allocation of £34 million to the scheme to restore passenger services to the Ashington–Blyth rail line, where the scheme lies within (1) the Rail Enhancement Schemes Pipeline and (2) the Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process.

On 23rd January, the Government announced £34m for preparatory works to progress re-opening the Northumberland line to passengers. A Final Business Case is now being prepared by DfT, Northumberland County Council and Network Rail, with a view to seeking a ‘Decision to Deliver’ though the RNEP by the end of the year. The scheme is currently at stage 4 of the GRIP process.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on the New trans-Pennine roads study by Highways England, announced by the Secretary of State for Transport on 21 March 2019; and when the results of that study will be announced.

Highways England has come to the end of the analytical phase of the study, which has looked at how a number of strategic corridors perform for an enhanced Central Pennines route east of the M65. This has used detailed traffic modelling tools to identify benefits, explore potential costs, understand the implications and opportunities for the environment and examine potential economic impacts. Decisions will be made shortly as to how the findings of the study should be addressed.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to revise the algorithms used to assess the benefits of transport investment schemes in order to support their levelling-up agenda.

Transport business cases follow the HM Treasury five case business case model. Decisions are informed by the assessment of the scheme in relation to strategic fit, value for money, deliverability, commercial and financial considerations. The appraisal framework set out in the Department’s Transport Analysis Guidance (TAG) is intended to support scheme promoters to capture the full range of impacts associated with transport investment (economic, social and environmental) as part of the economic case.

The Department is planning to publish an initial response to the HM Treasury Green Book Review this Spring as part of a wider update to business case guidance. This will set out work in progress to support the appraisal of schemes which meet Government’s strategic priorities, and how we plan to implement other changes required by the Review. This includes ensuring that existing tools and flexibilities in current strategic and economic case guidance are used fully in making the case for investment which supports levelling up. The Department’s Rebalancing Toolkit provides guidance to describe how a transport investment scheme fits with the objective of spreading growth across the UK and can be used to assess the impact and identify the benefits that a transport scheme may have on local and regional economic performance.

The Green Book Review found that existing appraisal practice may lead to a focus on boosting benefit-cost ratios at the expense of analysis which illuminates the impacts of a proposed investment. The Department plans to review the existing culture and processes around the development of transport business cases to address behaviour and incentives which may be obstacles to supporting the delivery of Government’s objectives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of changes to the Green Book on the viability of proposed railway enhancement schemes; and whether there will be a greater emphasis on benefits related to regeneration and access to employment for people living in economically deprived areas.

Transport business cases (including those for proposed railway enhancement schemes) follow the HM Treasury five case business case model. Decisions are informed by the assessment of the scheme in relation to strategic fit, value for money, deliverability, commercial and financial considerations. The appraisal framework set out in the department’s Transport Analysis Guidance (TAG) is intended to support scheme promoters capture the full range of impacts associated with transport investment (economic, social and environmental) as part of the economic case. These impacts include agglomeration, labour supply and land use change impacts, as set out in TAG unit A2.1

The department is planning to publish an initial response to the Green Book Review this Spring as part of wider update to business case guidance. This will set out work already in progress to support the appraisal of schemes which meet Government’s strategic priorities and how we plan to implement other changes required by the Review. The department is considering what improvements may be required across business cases to support the Government in delivering on its strategic priorities. This includes ensuring that existing tools and flexibilities in current strategic and economic case guidance are being fully used to support scheme promoters in making the case for investment which supports levelling up. The department’s Rebalancing Toolkit provides guidance to describe how a transport investment scheme fits with the objective of spreading growth across the UK. This tool can be used to assess the impact and identify the benefits that a transport scheme may have on local and regional economic performance. We plan to highlight these flexibilities alongside reviewing existing guidance and ensuring that relevant analysis is presented to decision makers.

The Green Book Review found that existing appraisal practice may lead to a focus on boosting benefit-cost ratios at the expense of analysis which illuminates the impacts of a proposed investment. The department plan to review the existing culture and processes associated with the development of transport business cases to understand and address behaviour and incentives which may be obstacles to supporting the delivery of Government’s objectives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) electrification, (2) junction improvements, (3) improved signalling, and (4) new terminal facilities, for rail freight networks are assessed through (a) the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, or (b) the Governance for Railway Investment Projects scheme and its successor; and if so, how, in each case, they are assessed as priorities by comparison with improvements directed at passenger services.

The Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) is the Government’s primary mechanism for progressing and funding enhancements for both passenger and freight services in England and Wales.

Investment in electrification, junctions and signalling improvements require the development of a business case and are assessed for contribution to the Government’s objectives as well as their affordability, value for money and their deliverability. Each scheme is assessed on its own merits.

By contrast, investments in new freight terminal and interchange facilities are wholly led by the private sector, responding to commercial demands. Freight Operating Companies work closely with the infrastructure manager, Network Rail, to secure appropriate connections onto the railway network and paths for services to operate.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the levels of (1) personal, and (2) commercial, vehicle transportation on the roads following the COVID-19 pandemic; and if so, (a) to what level they plan to, and (b) how they intend to, reduce such activity.

In response to lockdown measures implemented by the Government, demand for all modes of transport, including road usage, has fallen. My Department regularly publishes statistics on this subject, which are available on the gov.uk website (“Transport use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”).

Transport will play a key role in recovery from Covid-19, and there is opportunity to build upon some of the behavioural changes which have been evident, such as an increase in active travel. In addition, my Department remains committed to the achievement of longer-term strategic objectives, publishing three Priority Outcomes as part of Spending Review 2020. One of our Priority Outcomes is to tackle climate change and improve air quality through the decarbonisation of transport. Cars and vans alone accounted for a fifth of the UK’s total domestic greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.

We are continuing to assess what needs to be done to decarbonise our transport system, of which road transport represents one of the highest emitting elements. Road transport will continue to play a key role in allowing people and goods to move efficiently around the country, but to support the Government’s aim to build back better we have already announced significant measures relating to road transport. These include:

  • seeking to reduce the use of petrol and diesel vehicles on our roads as part of our commitment to reducing carbon emissions in line with the Government’s Net Zero ambitions and to support the end in sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. DfT is investing £1.9 billion through the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and grants for zero and ultra-low emission vehicles.
  • consulting on a date for phasing out the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs.) We will invest £20 million next year in freight trials to pioneer hydrogen and other zero emission lorries, to support industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs in the UK.

Further details of these plans for decarbonising cars and freight will form part of Department’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan, to be published later this year. The plan will set out in detail what Government, business and society will need to do to put us on a pathway to achieving carbon budgets and net-zero emissions by 2050.

We are also seeking to develop measures to encourage changes in the way we travel following the end of Covid restrictions, such as through increasing levels of walking and cycling and ensuring a reliable and safe public transport network. This includes:

  • Spending £300 million over the next financial year to drive forward transformation of bus services, together with £120 million for Zero Emission Buses.
  • Implementing the England’s first-ever long-term National Bus Strategy, to be launched in the coming months. The strategy will seek to support the bus sector in the provision of the right accessible services for people and communities, in ways that meet their needs and provide positive encouragement to use the bus instead of the car.
  • £257 million announced at the recent Spending Review to support the Prime Minister’s cycling and walking plan, including behavioural change measures and investing in cycling & walking infrastructure.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which rail electrification projects in England were agreed between 2010 and 2015; and which (1) have been completed, and (2) have not gone ahead.

The table below includes electrification schemes in the 2012 High Level Output Specification and schemes considered by Sir Peter Hendy's re-planning of Network Rail’s investment programme. It also includes Network Rail’s assessment of whether these schemes have been completed.

Scheme

Completed

Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification

Yes

North of England Programmes/Northern Hub - North West Electrification

Yes

Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley Electrification

Yes

MML Programme – Electrification Key Output 1 (Bedford to Kettering/Corby)

Yes

Bromsgrove Electrification

Yes

Great Western Electrification Programme

- Maidenhead to Didcot

Yes

- Didcot to Wootton Bassett Junction

Yes

- Reading to Newbury

Yes

- Wootton Bassett Junction to Bristol Parkway

Yes

- Bristol Parkway to Cardiff

Yes

- Wootton Bassett Junction to Bristol Temple Meads

No

- Didcot to Oxford

No

- Filton Bank

No

Lostock Junction to Wigan North Western Electrification

No

MML Programme – Electrification Phase 2 (Kettering to Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby)

No

Acton (GWML) to Willesden (WCML) Electrification

No

- Basingstoke – Southampton Central (third rail conversion to OLE)

No

- Leamington Spa to Coventry Electrification and Capacity

No

- Oxford to Bletchley Electrification

No

- Oxford to Leamington and Coventry to Nuneaton Electrification

No

- Sheffield to ECML electrification

No

- Southcote Junction to Basingstoke Electrification

No

North trans-Pennine line electrification (Manchester Victoria and Guide Bridge – Huddersfield – Leeds – Colton Jnc)

No

Oxenholme to Windermere Electrification

No

Selby to Hull electrification

No

Thames Valley Branch Lines

No

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which rail electrification projects (1) are currently taking place, and (2) been given approval to start, in England; and what is the proposed start date for each approved project.

Enabling and design work is currently taking place on the Midland Main Line to complete electrification up to Market Harborough. Following the Spending Review settlement, we continue to progress development and design of the TransPennine Route Upgrade, including the examination of the case for full electrification of the route. A number of other potential electrification schemes are being considered for further development through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North of England has been deferred to 2021; if so, (1) why, and (2) when they now expect it to be published.

Following full consideration of the National Infrastructure Commission's Rail Needs Assessment report, published on 15 December, the Government expects to publish the Integrated Rail Plan early in 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 23 November (HL10065), what stage the project to reinstate the railway between Colne and Skipton had reached in the Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process; whether the GRIP process has now been paused or abandoned for this project; and if so, what would be the criteria to restart the GRIP process for this project.

The work carried out to date on infrastructure options for this scheme by Network Rail and Steer is assessed overall by Network Rail as being ‘pre-GRIP’. Further work on developing the infrastructure options is included within the proposals for initial ‘Develop’ stage work referred to in my answer of 23rd November (HL10065).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is (1) the purpose, (2) the terms of reference, and (3) the annual operating budget, of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council; what staff support this council has and who provides this; and what costs this council has incurred so far.

The Northern Transport Acceleration Council is an advisory forum to provide the North’s leaders with regular and more direct access to Ministers to discuss priority transport and infrastructure projects, utilising their local expertise and knowledge to drive forward growth and development in the North of England. It is intended to provide a mechanism for speeding up key decision making and rapidly progressing projects, supporting the Secretary of State in his role as the Northern Powerhouse Minister.

The Council does not have an operating budget in and of itself as it functions as an advisory forum to progress and unblock existing priority transport projects – it is not vested with its own decision-making or funding powers.

The Council is supported by a Secretariat of DfT staff currently based in the North. Beyond the time of these existing staff, the work of the Council has not incurred any additional costs to date.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to the meeting of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council on 9 December, (1) what was the agenda, (2) who attended the meeting and which bodies they represented, (3) what decisions were made, (4) whether the meeting was streamed, (5) whether the minutes have been published, and (5) was a press statement issued; and when the next meeting of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will take place.

The Northern Transport Acceleration Council provides the North’s leaders with regular and more direct access to Ministers to discuss priority transport and infrastructure projects. The agenda items for the meeting on the 9 December included the outcome of the recent Spending Review, the role of the Department’s Acceleration Unit, reform to the Green Book and the Integrated Rail Plan.

The meeting was chaired by the Secretary of State and was attended by Transport Ministers as well as representatives from each of the local transport authorities in the North, John Cridland in his capacity as President of the Council and the Chair of NP11.

The Northern Transport Acceleration Council is an advisory forum and whilst it is intended to speed up key decision making, the Council itself does not have decision-making powers.

A press statement was issued with regards to the Northern Transport Acceleration Council, however the meeting was not streamed nor have the minutes been published. A date for the next Council meeting has not yet been arranged.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on their assessment of proposals for (1) the preservation of the Queensbury Tunnel, and (2) the use of that tunnel as part of a cycleway between Queensbury and Keighley.

The Department has agreed to provide up to £1 million for two studies to inform a decision on possible future uses of the tunnel. The studies are considering what would need to be done, and how much it would cost, to return the tunnel to a safe and usable condition, as well as options for possible new cycling and walking routes in the area. The work is being overseen by a steering group comprising representatives from the Department for Transport, Highways England, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council. Both studies are due to be complete by March 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposals by Highways England to create wildflower verges on all new large-scale highways projects will take account of differing (1) climatic, (2) geological, and (3) ecological, conditions in different areas of England; and what plans they have to include provision for future management of such verges in ways that conserve their wildflower nature and avoid their being over-run by invasive coarse weeds, including guarantees for the necessary funds.

Highways England’s new approach to low nutrient grasslands will support the creation of new areas of grassland that support greater biodiversity. Any seed mixes used to establish grasslands will be appropriate to the local area of the project and specifications will be determined on a scheme by scheme basis taking account of local climate, geology and ecology.

Low fertility grasslands are expected to reduce maintenance requirements because of reduced vegetation growth, but maintenance will still be required. This will be determined on a plot by plot basis and managed appropriately to maintain low nutrient levels and improved biodiversity. This can be achieved by cutting once a year in late summer and removing the arisings from the grassland plot. This will minimise the risk of coarse weeds becoming established and maintain low soil fertility.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for (1) ensuring certainty in the programme for transport infrastructure investment; (2) changing the regional balances in transport infrastructure investment as between London and the South East, and other regions in England; and (3) cancelling Crossrail 2 and investing a similar amount in the north of England and other English regions.

The Government recognises the importance of securing long-term transport infrastructure investment, as outlined in the recently published National Infrastructure Strategy. Though the scope of the Spending Review this year was refocused on supporting the government’s response to Covid-19, the Department secured over £60 billion in multi-year investment – providing certainty for major transport infrastructure programmes.

Investing in transport infrastructure is critical to increasing connectivity and driving regional growth, which are central to this government’s ambition to level up the UK. The Spending Review delivered investment for regions across the entire UK - including announcing a new £4 billion levelling-up fund, £4.2 billion for city regions across England as part of Intra-City Transport Funding and a commitment of over £22 billion to fund HS2 Phases One, 2a and 2b Western Leg to deliver essential North-South connectivity, greater capacity and shorter journey times.

The Department is also working to implement the findings of the Green Book Review. The refreshed Green Book will support levelling up by ensuring that projects are being assessed first and foremost on how well they deliver policy objectives rather than focusing on a purely economic assessment. For the first time, business cases for all proposals will have to set out how they will impact different places aligning with relevant local strategies and major interventions in the area.

Transport projects are kept under continual review. Given current affordability constraints, Transport for London has confirmed that they are not in a position to prioritise investment in Crossrail 2, and the Government has agreed that they will stop development on the project. This frees up investment to raise the performance of public transport networks in our regional cities.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) is the timetable, and (2) are their plans, for ending the Governance for Railway Investment Projects scheme; what, if anything, will replace that scheme; and what will be the relationship between any such replacement and the Rail Enhancement Projects Pipeline.

Network Rail’s management approach to projects is under review. Network Rail intend to replace the Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) with Projects Accelerated in a Controlled Environment (PACE) in the coming months. There is no there is no direct relationship between GRIP and the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which projects are presently included in the Governance for Railway Investment Projects scheme; and at which stage is each such project at.

Every rail investment project managed by Network Rail follows GRIP. It is not practical to list the GRIP stage of each project. Network Rail do, however, publish the Enhancements Delivery Plan each quarter, which sets out progress on Enhancement schemes in delivery. The next iteration of the Enhancements Delivery Plan will be published in December.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have provided to local highways authorities about the retention of pop-up cycle lanes created during the COVID-19 pandemic; and whether the presumption is that such lanes should remain unless there are significant and unsurmountable problems with them.

The Active Travel Fund has made £225M available to local authorities in two tranches, to allow them to provide safer walking and cycling measures to support a green recovery in response to Covid-19. Alongside the funding, the Government published additional Network Management Duty guidance. This clearly sets out what the Government expects local authorities to do in making changes to their road layouts to encourage cycling and walking.

The guidance sets out that local authorities should monitor and evaluate any temporary measures they install, such as pop-up cycle lanes, with a view to making them permanent, and embedding a long-term shift to active travel as we move from restart to recovery. This may include adjusting temporary schemes in the light of feedback from stakeholders.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 21 October (HL Deb, col 1532), whether contracts have been agreed for the work to be undertaken under Stage 2 (Develop) of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) relating to the reinstatement of the railway between Colne and Skipton; if so, with which persons or organisation were these contracts awarded to; whether this work has been paused as part of the review of the schemes in the RNEP; if so, when they expect a decision will be made to restart or otherwise; and what is the current status of the Colne-Skipton project.

I would like to reiterate my sincere apologies for an error made in my response during the debate on 21 October. The correct position of this scheme is that, following advice on the outcome of previous feasibility work, we have asked officials to bring forward specific proposals for approval for initial ‘Develop’ stage work on this reinstatement. Therefore, no contracts have been agreed yet. Officials are preparing proposals for consideration by Ministers for further work on the possible reinstatement of railway between Skipton and Colne and an announcement will be made shortly.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of calls for reforms to, and new investment in, bus services by the Local Government Association transport spokesperson Councillor David Renard on 28 October.

In order to ensure that essential bus services can continue to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is providing an unprecedented amount of support to the bus sector. In addition to the Coronavirus Bus Support Service Grant (CBSSG), worth up to £27.3 million per week and funded by Central Government, we continue to ask Local Authorities to pay out concessionary bus fares at budgeted, pre-COVID, levels. Allowance for this has been made as part of their Local Revenue Grant.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment have they made of (1) the reliability of rail services under reduced service levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) the value of a future railway timetable which is set at less than theoretical maximum capacity levels.

The Government and the rail industry revised the train timetable to ensure passengers received a regular and reliable service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We took early action to stabilise the industry, which enabled the continued operation of critical passenger and freight services. Throughout the pandemic, performance levels have increased substantially, with the number of recorded station stops arrived at on time being over 15% higher than in the same period in 2019. We continue to work closely with industry to make sure we strike the right balance between running the maximum levels of service that can be resourced reliably and protecting taxpayers’ best interests.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £250 million emergency active travel fund, announced on 9 May, was allocated to (1) Lancashire, (2) Blackburn with Darwen, and (3) Blackpool; how much of that fund has been allocated to each authority each district in Lancashire; and what schemes has such funding has been used for.

In tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF), £783,087 was allocated to Lancashire; £77,000 to Blackburn and Darwen; and £78,000 to Blackpool. An announcement on tranche 2 of EATF funding is due to be made shortly.

The funding is supporting measures including temporary cycle lanes, closing streets to vehicles, traffic and parking restrictions, traffic calming measures, footpath widenings, temporary crossings and cycle signage and storage facilities. The allocation of funding to each of their districts is a matter for the relevant local authority.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to allocate the remainder of the £2 billion investment to create “a new era for walking and cycling”, announced on 9 May.

On 28 July the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking, which set a long-term vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030. The plans include a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years.

£225 million has been allocated to local authorities this financial year through the Emergency Active Travel Fund for immediate measures including new cycle lanes, wider pavements and safer junctions. £25 million has been allocated to cycle maintenance initiatives, including the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme and the Big Bike Revival. Decisions on the remainder will be for the Spending Review in the autumn.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) to discourage the use of private combustion engine motor vehicles in cities, and (2) to promote the use of public transport in cities and elsewhere, during the remainder of 2020.

The Government is providing £225 million of emergency funding to local authorities in the current financial year to enable them to introduce measures to support more cycling and walking. The Department for Transport issued guidance to local authorities in May, which suggested that they should make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. This will help give people a safe alternative to the car for short journeys.

The Government is also supporting the transition to cleaner vehicles by investing around £2.5bn,? with grants available for plug in vehicles, as well as funding to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network.

Since March, the Department for Transport has announced over £700 million to support the continued operation of bus and light rail services. The latest funding packages, running from August 4, include £37.4 million over 12 weeks for light rail operators and a rolling package of funding of £27.3 million per week for bus operators in England, outside London. It is also developing plans for a national marketing campaign to promote travel by bus.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they received any bid to the Restoring Your Railway Fund for enhancements, including a passing loop, on the eleven-mile long single-track siding that forms the portion of the East Lancashire line between Gannow Junction and Colne.

The Department has not received any bid to the Restoring Your Railway fund regarding the current single line section between Gannow Junction and Colne. Potential improvements to this section of the East Lancashire line were explored as part of the early feasibility work and this is informing development work on the potential reinstatement of the Skipton-Colne rail link.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the future transport needs along the north-east/south-west axis in England in relation to future air, rail and road infrastructure and inter-city and regional services, and (2) the contribution this axis could make to levelling up economies within England.

This Government is committed to ensuring that transport and infrastructure investment levels up economies across the country. The Government considers a wide range of options for transport infrastructure and services across all parts of England and will set out its plans for investment at the forthcoming spending review and in the National Infrastructure Strategy. These will build on planned investments in this particular corridor, such as the improvements to the A46 ‘Trans-Midlands Trade Corridor’ recently set out in the second Roads Investment Strategy.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to increase the proportion of freight traffic within Great Britain that is carried by the railways.

The Government is committed to further unlocking the economic and environmental benefits rail freight can deliver through its key role in reducing carbon emissions and its contribution to alleviating congestion on Britain’s roads. As part of this ambition we are exploring a range of proposals aimed at increasing the proportion of freight traffic that is carried on our railways, and helping the sector recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The Department has invested over £235 million in the Strategic Freight Network between 2014-2019. So far in Control Period 6 (2019-2024), we have approved over £40 million of funding in projects across the country (with further projects being considered) to improve the capacity and capability of the rail network for freight and support its future growth. In addition, officials are preparing proposals in relation to gauge and capacity for rail freight on existing trans-Pennine routes to and from various ports in the North of England. This will be for consideration by Ministers for further development work, to evaluate options and costs, and develop a recommended programme.

The Government also supports the development of an expanded network of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) - which enable freight to be transferred more efficiently between transport modes - to better deliver the environmental and economic benefits rail freight offers. Furthermore, Government supports the development of an expanded network of SRFIs to grow intermodal rail freight, as outlined in the National Network National Policy Statement.

The Government grant schemes – principally the Mode Shift Revenue Support Scheme (MSRS) – incentivise the movement of freight by rail and water. These grants usually help to remove around 900,000 HGVs off the road each year. The Government increased these schemes’ funding by 28%, to £20 million, in 2020/21 and remains committed to them to continue to support rail freight growth.

Finally, we are in close dialogue with Network Rail (NR) to explore possibilities for longer and heavier freight trains to enable more freight to run by rail.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether people riding electric and unpowered scooters on the highway are required to display front and rear lights on the same basis as cyclists; and if not, what consideration they are giving to introducing such a requirement.

Ministers have recently agreed a range of technical and safety requirements for electric scooters used during trials on Great Britain’s roads. The scooters used in the trials must be fitted with a front position lamp and a red rear position lamp. In addition, they must be fitted with a red rear reflector and amber or white reflectors on each side of the vehicle. There are no similar lighting requirements for unpowered scooters, and there are no plans to review this position.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the membership of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council; what powers and role that Council will possess; what is its operational budget; how often it will meet; and whether its meetings and papers will be publicly accessible.

The membership of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will comprise key leaders from across the North, including Mayors and council leaders and will be chaired by the Secretary of State. The Council will give leaders from the North direct access to Ministers to discuss priority transport projects and make sure they are being progressed at pace, providing a mechanism for speeding up decision making.

The Council’s first meeting is expected to take place in September when the details of its role and working arrangements will be agreed.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation took place with Transport for the North about the establishment of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council; what the relationship between Transport for the North and the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will be; and whether members of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will also sit on the board of Transport for the North.

The Secretary of State and his Ministers consulted with the Mayors and Council Leaders in the North, who are Transport for the North members, prior to the establishment of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council.

The membership of the Northern Council will comprise key leaders from across the North, including Mayors and Council Leaders and will be chaired by the Secretary of State.

The Transport for the North Board will continue its role of bringing together Northern stakeholders and developing strategic transport advice for the Secretary of State.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the creation of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council, what plans they have to amend (1) the constitution, (2) the powers, and (3) the methods of operation and decision-making of Transport for the North.

Matters concerning the constitution, methods of operation and decision-making of Transport for the North (TfN) are for the TfN Board to consider. The creation of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council does not impact on TfN’s powers in any way.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 14 July (HL6304), whether the advice in their Safer Transport guidance “that people should consider all other forms of transport, such as cycling and walking, before using public transport” includes the use of private motor vehicles; whether they intend to discourage the use of private motor vehicles as COVID-19 restrictions relax; if so, when; when they expect to announce the details of the “£5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycling links across England” and the distribution of that funding; and at what stage of their post-COVID-19 recovery plans they intend to start to encourage people to use public transport including in particular the railways; and on the basis of what criteria.

To support the reopening of the economy, we have been working hard with public transport operators to return services as close as possible to pre-Covid-19 levels. It is vital that the transport network continues to operate safely as demand increases for services, and we are continuing to work with the transport industry to ensure they remain able to deliver a safe service.

We keep our guidance under constant review as COVID-19 incidence and scientific evidence changes. Our guidance now sets out that people should walk or cycle if they can. Where this is not possible, people can use public transport or drive.

I would like to assure you that the Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Encouraging people to use alternatives to petrol or diesel cars for travel is central to this ambition. We are striving to embed and build on the green travel habits adopted by the public during lockdown. Further details of the £5 billion funding package for buses and cycling, which includes support for the purchase of at least 4,000 new zero-emission buses, will be announced in due course. The Department has also fast-tracked plans for e-scooter trials around the country to open new ways to travel.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will begin to promote public transport and a reduction in private vehicle use as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery; and what steps they will take to achieve this.

The Government has provided advice on using public transport guided by the scientific evidence. This will enable people to practice social distancing and help avoid crowding. Our Safer Transport guidance makes clear that people should consider all other forms of transport, such as cycling and walking, before using public transport. We expect that mandatory face coverings will give people confidence to travel safely where they have no other option but to use public transport, this is alongside other measures such as regular hand washing and maintaining distance wherever possible. Government will continually monitor and review the evidence regarding public transport and provide updates when it is safe to do so.

As part of our post-COVID-19 recovery plans, the Government is also providing £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycling links across England. This funding includes measures to encourage modal shift onto the bus, such as higher frequency services, more ‘turn up and go’ routes, new priority schemes, and more affordable fares. The new 5-year funding package builds on the Government’s determination to make buses work better for passengers. The details of the programmes, including how funding will be distributed, will be announced in due course.

There will also be a National Bus Strategy which we are finalising our approach to.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to include developments to (1) the single-track line between Gannow Junction and Colne to allow more than one train on that section at a time, (2) create a double-track line on the Bolton to Blackburn route, and (3) reinstate the railway line between Colne and Skipton, in the Integrated Rail Plan for the Midlands and the north.

The Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands is considering how to integrate and deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 Phase 2b, Midlands Rail Hub and other Major Network Rail enhancement programmes more quickly and efficiently. This work has begun along with a series of regional roundtables on priorities held in June with the HS2 Minister. The IRP will also be informed by a ‘Rail Needs Assessment’ from the National Infrastructure Commission, who recently held a Call for Evidence.

On the development of a new trans-Pennine rail link via Colne and Skipton, I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 27 May 2020 (HL4359).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prioritise schemes to re-open routes closed in the Beeching cuts to promote the levelling up agenda of English regions.

The Restoring Your Railway programme prioritises levelling-up and restoring connections to communities across the country including where lines and stations were closed in the Beeching cuts. The Programme is designed to give opportunities to projects at different phases of development, with three elements: the Ideas Fund, the New Stations fund and advance proposals.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the expected (1) timetable, and (2) programme, for the electrification of rail services in the North of England; and which railway lines they are considering for future electrification as part of (a) the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, (b) the Governance for Railway Investment Projects process, (c) the programme to reverse the Beeching cuts, or (d) any other programme.

The Government is committed to electrification where it delivers benefits for railway users, environmental benefits, and value for money. We have delivered hundreds of miles of electrification since 2010 and we continue to expand the electrified rail network. Electrification will play a significant role in our programme to achieve our Net Zero 2050 objective.

Network Rail is examining which parts of a decarbonised network will be most suited to electrification, and which to alternative technologies such as hydrogen and battery. We will consider the case for exploring some electrification schemes more quickly as this work progresses. The Department periodically publishes updates about schemes in the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the required service and quality standards for rolling stock for local commuter and medium-distance services; what is the extent to which Class 150 diesel multiple units meet those standards; and what is the estimated continued lifespan of such units.

As part of the franchise bidding process, operators must ensure that their rolling stock provides a level of passenger comfort and amenity that is identified by stakeholders, including such things as an appropriate mix of tables, at seat power, appropriate luggage space and door configurations. It is a matter for operators of Class 150 units to ensure that they meet relevant franchise commitments and for their owners to determine their lifespan.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 20 May (HL4128), whether the work by Highways England on planned safety work on the Queensbury Tunnel will protect the tunnel for possible future use as a cycleway.

The current phase of safety works by Highways England contractors at Queensbury Tunnel are being delivered to ensure their safe access to the high-risk zone. This phase of works would not be prejudicial to any future reopening of the tunnel.

The subsequent phase of safety works, scheduled for early July 2020, will involve the creation of a concrete plug below shaft 3 to strengthen the base of the shaft and prevent collapse and is essential to protect the public. These works would make it more difficult to reopen the tunnel in future, but conditions around the base of shaft 3 represent a high-risk environment to contractors due to water levels in excess of 3.5 meters and active deterioration of the tunnel lining in that area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 20 May (HL4129), whether their plans include the return of public transport services, following the eventual ending of restrictions on movement, broadly to levels that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is working to increase services to pre-COVID levels as quickly as possible. However, capacity will remain limited for as long as social distancing is in place.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how much money, and (2) what proportion of COVID-19 related funding for local transport schemes to promote cycling and walking, has been allocated to (a) the North West, and (b) Lancashire, Blackburn and Blackpool; and for which schemes.

On the 9 May the Government announced a £2 billion package of funding for cycling and walking over the next five years. This includes £225 million in the current financial year for the provision of pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors.

The first tranche of this funding will be released as soon as possible provided local authorities submit suitably ambitious plans to the Department, and the second tranche will be released later in the summer.

The total indicative allocation for the North West is £33,543,000. Lancashire has been indicatively allocated £700,000 for tranche one and £2,801,000 for tranche two; Blackburn has been indicatively allocated £77,000 for tranche one and £308,000 for tranche two and Blackpool has been indicatively allocated £104,000 for tranche one and £416,000 for tranche two.

Final allocations will depend on the quality of the plans local authorities submit to the Department.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Minister of State for Transport to Sara Britcliffe MP on 6 May (ref MC/288646), what plans they have to publish the terms of reference of the proposals to reinstate the rail link between Skipton and Colne and enhance capacity for rail freight on existing trans-Pennine routes; who will carry out this work; and how long the work will take.

Officials are preparing proposals for consideration and agreement by Ministers for further development work, on both the possible reinstatement of the rail link between Skipton and Colne, primarily as a passenger route, and options for enhancement of gauge and capacity for rail freight on existing trans-Pennine routes.

Further information about the scope, expected duration, and who will be carrying out this work will be available as and when such proposals are agreed.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Minister of State for Transport to Sara Britcliffe MP on 6 May (ref MC/288646), whether the Further Feasibility Work announced in January has (1) been completed in both Phases, and (2) presented in a full report to ministers; and whether they intend to publish both that report, and the Steer Group report that was delivered to Ministers in December 2018 on the potential reopening of the Colne-Skipton railway line.

The further feasibility work on Skipton-Colne reinstatement and trans-Pennine freight strategy commissioned last year has now been completed and Ministers have received advice on its findings. The Government intends to publish the reports produced, including the earlier reports completed in 2018, alongside decisions on next steps as previously indicated (HL37, 7 January 2020).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to protect the Queensbury Tunnel for possible future use as a cycleway; and what is the current situation with regard to that tunnel.

Highways England Contractors are now on site for planned safety works to prevent the Queensbury Tunnel from collapsing. Concurrently the Department is assessing the feasibility of the Queensbury Tunnel scheme based on safety and affordability.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to return provision of public transport broadly to levels that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic following the ending of restrictions on movement.

The department has been working closely with transport operators and local partners to explore options for restoring public transport services. Is it clear that restoring services is challenging, for example due to the need to bring drivers out of furlough and equipment back online, and will therefore take time. We are working to ensure that services are ramped up over the coming weeks and are grateful for the work of transport workers and for their support.

The guidance we published for the travelling public is clear that journeys on public transport should only be made if they are essential, and then only if walking, cycling or driving is not an option. Peak times should be avoided where possible.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future need for (1) passenger, and (2) freight, air services between major regional centres in Great Britain including those between South West England, the Midlands, and the North of England and Scotland; and what plans, if any, they have to provide such services directly when necessary on a similar basis to directly operated railway franchises.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy. Her Majesty’s Government recognises that airports, which provide those passenger and freight air services, are vital for providing domestic and global connectivity, employment opportunities, and a hub for local transport. We continuously engage with the industry to ensure the connectivity needs of the UK are met.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the improvement of rail services between South West England, the Midlands, and the North of England and Scotland, including significant enhancements of rail infrastructure, so as to reduce any need for passenger air services between those areas.

Following investment at Derby and Ambergate, CrossCountry has reduced the journey time of some services from Birmingham to Newcastle by 30 minutes and is looking at accelerating more services in future timetables.

Additional capacity is due to be provided on the CrossCountry services between Scotland and the South-west via Birmingham during 2020 and 2021. The Department is looking at options to increase capacity and improve journey times on the East Coast Mainline while Network Rail is delivering improvements in the Bristol area and an £80m project to upgrade the sea wall at Dawlish for the future to deliver more reliable rail services to Devon and Cornwall

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £5 billion announced in the Budget 2020 on 11 March for bus services over the next five years will be allocated, or available, to the areas covered by Transport for the North; and what will be the role of Transport for the North in the allocation of this funding.

The details of the £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London will be announced in the upcoming National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £5 billion announced in the Budget 2020 on 11 March for bus services over the next five years will be allocated, or available, to areas which do not have an elected mayor, a combined authority, or a strategic transport plan.

The details of the £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London will be announced in the upcoming National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Mar 2020
A56
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the funding for new road proposals announced in the Budget 2020 on 11 March will include a new road from the eastern end of the M65 to join the A59 west of Skipton, the “A56 and village bypass”, or a part of that proposal.

The Second Road Investment Strategy, published alongside the Budget, refers to the Central Pennines study which is continuing to consider how road connections from the eastern end of the M65 in Colne could be improved. No funding has been committed for the construction of any new infrastructure as a result of this study yet.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the trends in the annual footfall figures for (1) Colne , (2) Nelson, (3) Brierfield, (4) Burnley Central, and (5) Burnley Barracks railway stations; and what discussions they have had with the train operating companies on ways in which the numbers could be increased.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) estimates the number of passengers travelling to and from railway stations by rail within Great Britain. The estimates for Colne, Nelson, Brierfield, Burnley Central and Burnley Barracks are presented in the table below:

Colne

Nelson

Brierfield

Burnley Central

Burnley Barracks

2018/19

66,000

97,446

25,504

91,204

18,028

2017/18

92,132

123,230

31,350

120,326

22,130

2016/17

95,598

132,970

33,350

125,778

20,080

2015/16

96,946

129,762

31,504

128,614

24,572

2014/15

96,830

131,864

31,548

145,328

25,834

Please note there have been methodological changes over the recording of these statistics so yearly figures may not be directly comparable. The decline in 2018/19 is due to the introduction of the May 2018 timetable. Table Source: ORR Estimates of Station Usage

The start of this month marked the beginning of a new era for passengers in the North, as the first services operated by the government began running on Northern. The immediate priority will be restoring a more reliable and punctual rail service. Passengers have been continually let down by the rail network, so rebuilding passenger confidence is going to be critical. To do this, the northern network needs to meet the needs of the people and communities it serves, so over the first 100 days we have asked the leadership of the government operator to work with local leaders and industry, and engage with passengers, to develop a plan for improvements.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they still intend to introduce driver-controlled operation in Northern England rail services; and what will be the future role of guards.

The leadership of the public-sector operator will be using the first 100 days running services to prepare an ambitious plan, consulting with passengers and leaders across the North to understand their priorities and improve the service for passengers. In the meantime, the business will continue to operate as usual with no impact on Northern services or staff.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comfort and suitability of the passenger seating in any new rolling stock (1) on Great Western intercity services, (2) on East Coast services, and (3) on Thameslink services; and whether such new rolling stock represents an improvement in the passenger experience.

Seating on new rolling stock is required to both address comfort of passengers and conform to the relevant design standards, which includes addressing fire safety and crash worthiness.

Train operators as the end users for the new Thameslink trains and intercity trains operating on Great Western and LNER routes have worked with the manufacturers to deliver seating that is compliant with the requirements, including testing with passenger representatives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the scheme to re-open railways lines closed by the Beeching report, whether they have a (1) target, or (2) estimate, for (a) the number of stations, and (b) the length of railway, to be reopened by (i) 2025, (ii) 2030, and (iii) in total.

The Government does not have a target or estimate for the number of stations or length of railway to be reopened by our Reversing Beeching initiate. We have provided an initial £500m and have invited MPs to bring new schemes forward for consideration as well as committing to accelerate existing schemes under consideration and launching a £20m new station fund competition. What can be achieved will be determined by the best bids and opportunities identified.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of any additional cost of operating the rail services in the north of England in the next three years which will be more than the agreed payments to Arriva Rail North under the franchise that terminates at the end of February 2020.

The financial impact on public funds from the Northern rail franchise being taken into public ownership on 1 March 2020 has not yet been finalised. It will be informed by the 100 day review, which will be carried out under the public sector operator, which will assess the best way to deliver the commitments to passengers and to restore performance of Northern’s rail services.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their target dates for the completion of (1) HS2 phases 2A and 2B, and (2) the opening of high speed services on a new railway line between Manchester and Leeds.

The opening of HS2 Phase One and Phase 2a will be aligned, with services expected to start between Old Oak Common, Birmingham and Crewe between 2029 and 2033. We expect services to start running from Euston between 2031 and 2036.

High speed services between London and Manchester and Leeds would then expect to start between 2036 and 2040. However, the recently announced integrated rail plan is designed to explore how the benefits could be delivered more quickly and cost effectively.

The opening date of the Manchester to Leeds line is not yet determined and will be assessed over the next year, as part of the Integrated Rail Plan and once route options have been finalised.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to include a station in Bradford town centre as part of the proposed high speed railway line between Manchester and Leeds.

We are considering a range of options for improving connectivity between Manchester and Leeds, including options that would serve Bradford. The Department for Transport has been working with Transport for the North to develop a public consultation on these options. We aim to make a further announcement shortly.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect that a preferred route, or alternative routes, for the proposed high-speed railway line between Leeds and Manchester will be published for consultation.

The Department has been working with Transport for the North to develop a public consultation for a range of options developed for the Manchester to Leeds rail corridor. The responses would support decisions on the preferred route for Northern Powerhouse Rail. We are aiming to announce the next steps shortly.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their target for the (1) number, and (2) percentage, of container loads and miles that will be moved from road to rail (a) within the next five years, and (b) on the opening of stage 1 of HS2.

Government recognises the economic and environmental benefits of rail freight; the sector plays an essential part of the UK economy and rail is one of the greenest modes of transport. Rail freight removes around 7 million lorry journeys, equating to roughly 1.5 billion lorry kilometres, annually.

Government does not set an explicit target for modal shift from road to rail. However, it takes significant steps to support modal shift, including in relation to container traffic. This includes providing freight grant schemes to support the carriage of freight by rail and water on routes where road haulage has a financial advantage. These schemes help to remove around 900,000 lorry journeys a year from Britain’s roads. Overall, funding for this scheme has been increased to £20m for 2020/21, a rise of 28% from 2019/20. Government has also invested over £235m in the Strategic Freight Network between 2014-2019 to improve network capacity to enable more goods to move by rail.

The Government is currently carrying out a detailed study of the potential for additional freight movement that could be accommodated on the conventional rail network from released capacity due to HS2. This study will be concluded by the end of March 2020. It will provide a quantification of the potential additional freight tonnes that could be moved from roads, and will also quantify the environmental benefits of this mode shift.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are reviewing the scope of the TransPennine Route upgrade; if so, what are the terms of the review; and when they expect to publish their findings.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade programme remains on track to pass its next investment decision later this year following standard process. This will confirm the programme’s scope.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 12 February (HL1259), what is the (1) average, and (2) expected, time for a railway re-opening scheme to progress through the (a) rail network enhancement pipeline (RNEP) and (b) Governance of Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) schemes; whether the RNEP and GRIP schemes will operate consecutively or concurrently; and what is the relationship between the GRIP process and the development of schemes through the RNEP in (i) research into the economic impact of reopenings, (ii) site investigations, (iii) scheme design, (iv) effects on the wider network, and (v) costs.

The Department for Transport Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP) and the Network Rail Governance of Rail Investment Projects (GRIP) processes will operate concurrently until completion of the RNEP process, following which the GRIP process will continue until the scheme completion. The GRIP process will inform the wider business case used in the RNEP process to make decisions on whether to proceed. The time taken for a re-opening scheme to progress through the two processes will depend on the complexity and detail required to understand the costs and benefits, and the extent of the construction required.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 16 January (HL122), whether projects funded by the “£500m to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving accessibility to jobs, homes and education” will have to go through (1) the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline, and (2) the Governance of Railway Investment Projects, systems.

We expect the Department for Transport’s Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline process and the Network Rail Governance of Railway Investment Projects process will be used to manage the development and delivery of re-opening schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take, following the ending of the Arriva Northern Rail franchise, to ensure that passengers purchasing tickets for the East Lancashire line service to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne will be able to complete their journeys to those stations.

The end of the Arriva Rail North franchise will not impact on the railway’s day-to-day operations. The business will continue to operate as usual with no impact on Northern services. The only differences passengers should notice is services gradually starting to get better.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the Transport for the North integrated pay as you go contactless bank card scheme, in particular the withdrawal of the main bus companies in the north from that scheme.

The Government pledged up to £150m in 2015 to Transport for the North (TfN), to support their plans for an integrated and smart travel programme across the North. Whilst several projects are now in delivery, during development of the ‘contactless bank card scheme’, TfN concluded that the full, multi-modal benefits of their original scheme design cannot be delivered without the involvement of commercial bus operators, who have now developed their own bank card ticketing schemes. TfN are currently in the process of developing alternative proposals, with a multi-modal solution across the North remaining their ambition for the future.

The Department continues to fully support TfN’s aspiration to deliver a step-change in the public transport experience for passengers in the North through an improved and modernised smart ticketing offer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their decision to provide state aid to Flybe, what assessment they have made of the case for (1) planning for a possible public take-over of essential regional and short-haul airlines in the event of a collapse of an operating company, on a similar basis to that with London North Eastern Railway on the East Coast main line or otherwise, and (2) improvements in the railway network between the regional centres, in particular on the north-east and south-west axis between Exeter, Bristol and Birmingham, in addition to HS2 between Birmingham and the north-east.

There has been no state aid provided to Flybe. This Government is committed to levelling up all regions of the UK, and that is why we have announced a review of regional connectivity that will assess how we can maintain key air routes and ensure all nations and regions of the UK have the domestic transport connections local communities rely on – including regional services from local airports. This review, led by the Department for Transport, will consider all options to ensure we continue to have good regional connectivity.

The Department for Transport is already working with Arriva Cross Country to bring much needed extra capacity between the South West and North East as suitable trains become available in the rolling stock market.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the possible changes to the Northern franchise, what consideration, if any, they have given to transferring Leeds to Carlisle services via the Settle and Carlisle line to the Transpennine franchise.

We are continually talking to community stakeholders about how we can further improve the Leeds to Carlisle service. Some of the options being looked at include improving journey times and better connectivity to other parts of the north. There are no discussions underway about transferring the service to the TransPennine Express franchise.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the last five years, (1) how many instances of infestation by Japanese Knotweed were recorded on Network Rail land and property, (2) how many complaints were received, and what was the cost to Network Rail of action taken to eradicate the species; (3) what action Network Rail takes in response to infestations and complaints about Japanese Knotweed; and (4) what action Network Rail takes in the event of this plant spreading from Network Rail land on to adjoining land and property.

  1. Network Rail are currently in the process of gathering data about historical Japanese knotweed instances, however there are currently 5138 distinct sites with active treatment of Japanese knotweed.

  2. The breakdown of complaints is as follows: 2019 – 25; 2018 – 62; 2017 – 42; 2016 – 72; 2015 – 73, not accounting for cases where a legal claim is made without a complaint. Some of these complaints developed into claims, with 170 claims made over the last 5 years. The total sum of these claim settlements amounts to £3.73m; this covers treatment costs as well as damages, investigation costs and legal costs. It was not possible to obtain figures for the overall expenditure on treatment, however it costs approximately £18-30 per metre square of knotweed to successfully treat it, over a period of 3 – 5 years.

  3. In instances where Japanese knotweed is discovered, the location of knotweed is recorded and mapped, followed by treatment activity tailored to whether it is affecting safe operation of the railway and/or creating biosecurity issues. Measures such as boot and tool cleaning are undertaken to prevent further spreading of the knotweed. In carrying out these actions, Network Rail complies with the Lineside Vegetation Management Manual and relevant legislation.

  4. In the event of Japanese knotweed having spread to third party land, Network Rail complies with UK legislation and deals with complaints as quickly as possible. If knotweed growth is visible at the boundary, or on both sides of the fence, permission will be sought from the third party for treatment and, if obtained, a management plan will be jointly agreed. Only herbicides using the active ingredient glyphosate are used in these instances.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the fund for re-opening railway lines closed by the Beeching Cuts will be administered; how decisions will be made on which lines it will be used for; how that fund is intended to interact with the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline system and Governance of Railway Investment Projects; and what over what period of time the funds will be (1) allocated and (2) spent.

To help communities across the country, we have pledged £500m to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving accessibility to jobs, homes and education.

Further details will be announced in due course.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the report produced by Steer on the proposed freight line from Liverpool to Yorkshire, via the reinstated Colne–Skipton line.

We will publish the reports on the feasibility work into the reinstatement of the Colne-Skipton line, including the initial Strategic Outline Business Case prepared by Steer in 2018, once the work is complete and we understand the full picture.

My officials continue to engage with key stakeholders, including the local SELRAP campaign group, on this feasibility work and the findings of the Steer report, which has been shared with the group.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to receive the consultant's report into the proposed freight line between Liverpool Docks and Yorkshire, via a reinstated Colne–Skipton line; when they expect to publish it; and what the next steps for the project will be.

Work is advancing well. We expect to receive the outputs of the further feasibility work on the Colne-Skipton reinstatement soon, complementing the initial Strategic Outline Business Case completed in December 2018. These will inform the Government’s decision as to whether a reinstatement scheme should progress to the ‘develop’ stage of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. The results of the feasibility work will be published at that point.

This is part of our new approach to rail enhancements to ensure we address the needs of passengers and freight, and that funding commitments appropriately reflect the stage of development of schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the road network between East Lancashire and Yorkshire, in particular of congestion at the Colne end of the M65; and what steps they are taking if any to improve road connections in East Lancashire and to reduce congestion at Colne.

In March 2017, Highways England published its South Pennines Route Strategy, which reviewed the effectiveness of the strategic road network between East Lancashire and Yorkshire. This covered Junctions 1 to 10 of the M65. Lancashire County Council is responsible for the section of the M65 from Junction 10 at Burnley through to its end in Colne.

Priorities for improvements to the local highway network in East Lancashire were set out in the East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan, produced by Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council, as local transport authorities in 2014. Local Growth Fund support has been provided to a number of schemes in this Masterplan.

In March 2019, the Department announced that Highways England would work with Transport for the North on a study looking at options for improving road links between the M65 and north and west Yorkshire. The output of this study will inform consideration of the case for future investment.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for passengers to be compensated for journeys made on Pacer trains which are still in service on the Northern franchise after the start of 2020.

The rail industry has no scheme whereby passengers are compensated on the basis of the quality of the rolling stock provided for each journey they undertake.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the passenger usage statistics for each station on the East Lancashire line between Blackburn and Colne, for each of the last five years.

In the last five years passenger usage for stations on the East Lancashire line has remained broadly static at around 2.3 million entries & exits. Detailed analysis at each station for the past five years can be found on the ORR website and in the table below.

Station

2017-18

2016-17

2015-16

2014-15

2013-14

Blackburn

1.26

1.28

1.16

1.26

1.33

Rishton

0.051

0.052

0.051

0.054

0.058

Church & Oswaldwistle

0.039

0.039

0.04

0.042

0.044

Accrington

0.46

0.46

0.43

0.38

0.37

Huncoat

0.022

0.025

0.023

0.023

0.021

Hapton

0.0165

0.0163

0.0151

0.0182

0.0191

Rose Grove

0.081

0.072

0.057

0.043

0.041

Burnley Barracks

0.022

0.02

0.025

0.026

0.025

Burnley Central

0.12

0.126

0.129

0.145

0.15

Brierfield

0.031

0.033

0.032

0.032

0.035

Nelson

0.123

0.133

0.13

0.132

0.147

Colne

0.092

0.096

0.097

0.097

0.098

Total

2.3175

2.3523

2.1891

2.2522

2.3381

*figures by million

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Oct 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to improve and extend the cycle network since the publication of their Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017.

The Department for Transport has invested £210 million in the Cycle Ambition Cities programme, which to date has delivered 155 miles of new segregated cycle routes, 186 miles of new on-road and off-road routes for cyclists and pedestrians, and 136 miles of off-road cycling signage and resurfacing improvements across eight cities. The Department has also recently announced investment of £22 million to upgrade 32 routes, totalling 103 miles, along the National Cycle Network (NCN) to improve connectivity, accessibility and increase functional journeys.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government in what year they expect the new high speed railway line between Leeds and Manchester to open; what they expect the total cost of that line to be; and what the maximum speed of services operating on that line will be.

The Leeds-Manchester line is being developed as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). Transport for the North has developed and submitted a business case for NPR to the Government. As announced by the Prime Minister, we are accelerating work with Transport for the North to reach a deal in the Autumn, which will, amongst other things, consider potential specification of the route, timescales for delivery, and costs.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jul 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support plans for a “Northern Link” freight line between Liverpool Docks and Yorkshire and the East Coast, including the reinstatement of the track between Colne and Skipton; and what action, if any, they are taking in relation to that project.

Local stakeholders have championed the reinstatement of the Colne-Skipton railway line and work is currently progressing to assess the proposed scheme and determine if it can be made affordable, will attract sufficient traffic, and is part of the right long-term solution for trans-Pennine rail traffic.

We expect to receive the results later this year to inform a decision as to whether the scheme should progress to the ‘develop’ stage of the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. This is part of our new approach to rail enhancements to ensure we address the needs of passengers and freight, and that funding commitments appropriately reflect the stage of development of schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to promote the use of reformed Class 43 Mark 3 InterCity 125 sets in order to provide a better service and passenger experience on the Settle and Carlisle railway line and rail services between Leeds and Carlisle; and what consideration they have given to extending Settle and Carlisle rail services into Scotland, the East Midlands or elsewhere.

The Department does not currently have any plans to promote the use of reformed Class 43 Mark 3 InterCity 125 sets on the Settle and Carlisle railway line and rail services. Northern’s existing fleet of 243 trains is in the process of being fully upgraded to a high standard. It is committed to improving customers’ on-board experience and has refurbished over 50% of its fleet already. The programme will see the introduction of free customer Wi-Fi, at seat power sockets and customer information media screens on all Northern’s trains. There are currently no plans to extend the Settle and Carlisle rail services into Scotland, the East Midlands or elsewhere, however ideas for these can always be put forward to Transport for the North for consideration.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make improvements to (1) the Settle and Carlisle railway line, and (2) rail services between Leeds and Carlisle, in the short, medium or long term, with a view to returning the status of that line to a main line.

There are currently no plans in either infrastructure or service provision terms to return the Settle and Carlisle to a main line. Whilst the railway needs to balance passenger and stakeholder aspirations with the practical and economic viability of running additional services, ideas can always be put forward to Transport for the North for consideration. It should be noted that, as part of the current Northern Franchise, some additional evening and Sunday services have been added to the route.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports that British Steel provides 97 per cent of the steel for railway tracks, what are the implications for Network Rail if British Steel ceases to trade.

Network Rail’s priority is ensuring passengers have a safe, reliable railway while delivering value for money for taxpayers. They are responsible for maintaining contingency plans to deal with a wide range of situations that could impact the effective operation of the railway.

The Department has been working closely with Network Rail for a number of weeks to understand the impacts on them. Network Rail has strong plans in place to make sure that they are able to carry out all critical work on the railway.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 23 May (HL15714), why they did not answer the final part of the question about who is carrying out further studies into the possible reinstatement and reopening of the Colne–Skipton railway line; whether they will now provide that answer; why the Written Answer mentioned Andrew Stephenson MP; and what is his role in the studies referred to.

The Government has asked the CH2MC consortium comprising Jacobs, CPC, GHD, Poise and Gardiner & Theobald to provide technical advice and assurance on further feasibility work to assess the freight demand and commercial viability of this scheme. This advisory support was sourced from the current Specialist Technical and Commercial Advice for Rail (STAR) Framework.

The response to HL15714 simply reflects the fact that the Member for Pendle, Andrew Stephenson MP, has made strong representations to Ministers about the proposal to reinstate the Colne-Skipton rail link. In response the Secretary of State for Transport has visited Colne twice in the last 16 months.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport on 25 January, whether they have commissioned the further studies into the possible reinstatement and reopening of the Colne–Skipton railway line as part of a TransPennine freight line and for local passenger services; and if so, who is undertaking those studies.

Work is currently progressing and we expect to receive the results later this year to inform a decision as to whether the scheme should go to the ‘develop’ stage of the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Local stakeholders, including the local MP Andrew Stephenson, have championed the scheme and we are working closely with Transport for the North to assess the proposed scheme and to ensure that it can be affordable, will attract sufficient traffic, and is part of the right long-term solution for cross Transpennine rail traffic.

This is part of our new approach to rail enhancements to ensure we address the needs of passengers and freight, and that funding commitments appropriately reflect the stage of development of schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what priority they give to at least one of the shortlisted bidders for the West Coast rail franchise being a British company; and what steps, if any, they have taken to achieve this.

The key aspect of competition is that it is fair and open to all companies. This approach has been followed throughout the West Coast Partnership competition and all bidders have been, and continue to be, treated equally. This allows for the greatest level of competition, which will contribute to us securing both the best value for money for the taxpayer and benefits for the passenger from the franchise.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of all the rail franchises in England and Wales being held by companies owned and controlled in other countries; and whether they consider such a situation to be desirable.

Ownership by non-UK governments accounts for 29% of the DfT-managed franchise market (based on notional share of passenger revenues during 2017/18). This calculation excludes train operators other than DfT-managed franchisees.

All franchise bidders and operators are required to be UK tax registered firms, registered with Companies House and at arms-length from owners. Train operating companies pay tax here in the UK and, most importantly, have been awarded franchises through open competitions precisely because they offer the best deal for UK passengers and taxpayers. Private sector franchisees continue to support key investments to improve services to passengers, including expanded car parking provision, station upgrades, and major new train fleets.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of rail franchises currently in operation are held, in whole or in part, by companies wholly or partly owned by foreign governments; and what percentage of total ownership of rail franchises this represents.

Ownership by non-UK governments accounts for 29% of the DfT-managed franchise market (based on notional share of passenger revenues during 2017/18). This calculation excludes train operators other than DfT-managed franchisees.

All franchise bidders and operators are required to be UK tax registered firms, registered with Companies House and at arms-length from owners. Train operating companies pay tax here in the UK and, most importantly, have been awarded franchises through open competitions precisely because they offer the best deal for UK passengers and taxpayers. Private sector franchisees continue to support key investments to improve services to passengers, including expanded car parking provision, station upgrades, and major new train fleets.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what options they are considering for the future provision of rail freight across the Pennines including (1) from, and to, the port of Liverpool to, and from, destinations in Yorkshire and beyond and (2) power station fuel and container traffic to continental gauge standards; and what alternatives they are considering to the proposed new freight link via a reinstated Colne-Skipton line.

We are considering a range of options, as is standard practice, for how best to enhance the current capability and capacity for cross Pennine bulk and intermodal W10/W12 gauge rail freight between a range of origins and destinations, including a new link via Colne-Skipton and upgrades to other existing routes.

25th Feb 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written answer by Baroness Sugg on 11 February (HL13163), when it was decided that “the feasibility study into the value of reopening the Skipton to Colne railway” announced by the Secretary of State for Transport on 3 February 2018 was “only the first step in establishing the feasibility of the project”; what was the announcement made by Chris Grayling at Colne railway station on 29 January 2019, and whether and where they published that announcement.

As part of the normal course of business, feasibility studies will be carried out into various potential rail upgrade projects. Following consideration of the conclusions from the initial feasibility studies that were completed in early December the Government decided that further work needed to be undertaken to assess the commercial viability of the scheme and the freight demand before any commitment to progress the scheme, a project championed by Andrew Stephenson MP, the Hon Member for Pendle, to the next ‘develop’ stage of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. The Secretary of State for Transport initially communicated this decision on 25 January at a meeting in Colne with the Member of Parliament for Pendle and town, Borough and County councillors, and through an interview with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

25th Feb 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the further work on reinstating the Colne-Skipton rail link as part of a new freight railway route between Liverpool and Yorkshire, to assess the freight demand and commercial viability of the scheme, will be undertaken by and on behalf of the Department for Transport or Transport for the North; if so (1) who is carrying out the work and whether such work has started; (2) what is the target date for its completion; and (3) what the relationship is of this work to that being carried out by Transport for the North on cross-Pennine communications in the central trans-Pennine corridor.

Further work to assess the freight demand and commercial viability of reinstating the Colne-Skipton link, a project championed by Andrew Stephenson MP, the Hon Member for Pendle, will be undertaken for the Department for Transport (DfT), who will work closely with Transport for the North (TfN). No decisions have been made yet on the scope and timescale of this work.

TfN’s work on the Central Pennines Strategic Development Corridor is providing a strategic programme case for multimodal investment in this corridor. It has informed TfN’s recently published Investment Programme, which includes reinstatement of the Skipton-Colne link as a scheme. The planned DfT-led work therefore takes forward further assessment of this element of TfN’s Investment Programme.

25th Feb 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 11 February (HL13163), what was the cost of the feasibility study into the creation of a new trans-Pennine freight railway line including the reinstatement of the Colne-Skipton line, that was announced by Chris Grayling on 3 February 2018; what is the estimated cost of the further work that is “still in progress” in order to “assess further the freight demand and commercial viability of the scheme”; and whether they will publish the terms of reference for this further work

As part of the normal course of business, feasibility studies will be carried out into various potential rail upgrade projects. The total cost of the studies carried out by Network Rail and the Department’s consultants (Steer) to assess the feasibility, costs and benefits for reinstating the Skipton-Colne line for passengers and freight, a project championed by Andrew Stephenson MP, the Hon Member for Pendle, as part of a new Trans-Pennine rail route was £210,360.

Further feasibility work to confirm whether this scheme can be made affordable, will attract sufficient traffic, and is part of the right long-term solution for trans-Pennine rail traffic will be commissioned by the Department for Transport working closely with Transport for the North. It will be funded from the Department’s existing resources. The scope and cost is yet to be determined.

31st Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of vehicles that are using British roads without either having paid road tax or having insurance cover, or both, in each of the past ten years.

The following table contains the Department’s estimates of the number of unlicensed vehicles in the active vehicle stock in Great Britain. Some years are unavailable as the survey became biennial in 2011.

Year

Thousands of vehicles

2007

522

2008

289

2009

225

2010

307

2011

249

2013

213

2015

531

2017

715

Neither the Department nor its agency DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) hold figures on the number of vehicles using British roads that do not have insurance cover.

31st Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to require a member of staff to be present on driverless buses.

The Government expects matters such as this to be considered in the Regulatory Review announced as part of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge. The Law Commission’s current automated vehicle project will look at the safe deployment of automated vehicle mobility services in the UK.

Any decision will be informed by these reviews as well as real-world experiences such as the CAV Forth automated bus pilot service in Scotland. As set out in the Code of Practice, the trialling of any level of automated vehicle technology on the UK’s public roads is possible, if the trial is conducted in line with UK law. This includes having:

  • a driver, in or out of the vehicle, who is ready, able and willing to resume control of the vehicle;
  • a roadworthy vehicle; and
  • appropriate insurance in place.

28th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the scheme for a new freight railway route between Liverpool and Yorkshire, including the reinstatement of the railway between Colne and Skipton, has completed Stage 1 of the Rail Networks Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP) and is now in Stage 2; and if not, how the work announced by the Secretary of State for Transport on 25 January relates to the RNEP.

The study into reinstating the Skipton-Colne rail line as part of a new freight railway route between Liverpool and Yorkshire was only the first step in establishing the feasibility of the project. We are now working to assess further the freight demand and commercial viability of the scheme.

The scheme remains a candidate for subsequent progression to the next ‘develop’ stage of the Rail Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) provided the business case is made.

28th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the feasibility study produced by Steer on (1) the reinstatement of the Colne–Skipton railway line, and (2) other work needed to link the Liverpool Docks to the Yorkshire Coast and Drax.

Feasibility work is still in progress. We are now pressing on with further work to make sure that the proposed scheme can be made affordable, will attract sufficient traffic, and is part of the right long-term solution for all Trans-Pennine rail traffic. We will publish when these important issues have been explored and we understand the full picture.

15th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the franchise requirement for ending the use of Pacer trains (classes 142 and 144) on the Northern franchise; and what is the expected date when this will be achieved.

The franchise requirement is that Northern will oversee the complete removal of the Pacer train fleets by the end of 2019. Northern are on course to achieve this.

15th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what requirements there are for the drivers of public service vehicles to report unruly passengers to their depots and to the police at the time when a disturbance is taking place; whether there are any restrictions on how drivers communicate this; and what requirements there are to provide drivers with the equipment to enable them to do this.

Bus/Coach crews have a duty of care towards their passengers under Section 5(1) of the Public Services Vehicles (Conduct) Regulations 1990. This section states that a driver and/or a conductor shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of passengers, who are on, or are boarding or alighting from the vehicle. Internal operator safety procedures, including provision of equipment is a matter for individual operators.

The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in and undertaking wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

17th Dec 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport on 3 February on the feasibility study into the value of reopening the Skipton–Colne railway for passenger services and as a new freight connection between the North-West and North-East, what progress they have made on that study; whether the consultants have completed the study and delivered it to the Secretary of State and to Transport for the North; and when they expect to announce whether the proposal will be taken to the next stage.

The feasibility study into the reinstatement of the Skipton-Colne rail link as part of a route for passengers and freight, carried out in partnership with Transport for the North, has only very recently been completed and submitted to the Secretary of State. The Government is considering next steps and expects to make an announcement shortly.

26th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the system for compensation for passengers who have bought a ticket for their journey but whose trains have not turned up, and who have therefore (1) suffered delays by having to catch the next train, or (2) had to take a taxi to complete their journeys.

Passengers who are delayed due to the cancellation of a scheduled train service but who have to travel on a subsequent train or take a taxi to complete their journey should be entitled to compensation in accordance with the Train Operating Company’s (TOC’s) published Passenger’s Charter. The passenger’s arrival time at their destination should determine their entitlement to Delay Repay compensation.

The majority of TOCs operate the Delay Repay compensation system which provides compensation to the value of 50% of the ticket price for delays or cancellations when the passenger is delayed in reaching their destination by 30-59 minutes. Delay Repay 15 (DR15) additionally entitles passengers who have been delayed by 15-29 minutes to compensation worth 25% of the ticket price. The next TOC to introduce this will be Northern expected by the end of December.

The rail industry has also recently launched the new Rail Ombudsman service, which will give passengers a stronger voice and help ensure they get a fair deal when disputes with train operators cannot otherwise be resolved.

6th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Arriva UK Trains in relation to the continuing rail strikes on the Northern Rail franchise; what proposals they have to end the disruption to services caused by the strikes; and what assessment they have made of whether Arriva UK Trains has breached the terms of its franchise agreement on the delivery of services.

The Department for Transport has had discussions with Arriva Rail North regarding contingency planning for strike days as well as on progress they have made on discussions with RMT.

Proposals to end the disruption are a matter between the operator and the Trade Union. However, we urge the RMT to call off the strikes and for both parties to work on resolving the dispute.

The assessment on service delivery related compliance is still taking place with a number of claims requiring validation.

30th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the development funding to be made available for Northern Powerhouse Rail announced in the Budget is additional to that which is already being spent on that project by Transport for the North; if so, what it will be spent on and when; and whether the spending of those funds depends on decisions which will be made following the publication of the business case at the end of this year.

The £37m made available at Budget for financial year 2019-20 to develop Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is in addition to funds already being spent by Transport for the North to develop the scheme. This will be used to take forward development work on NPR following the submission of the business case at the end of this year.

30th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Baroness Sugg on 29 October (HL Deb, col 1119) that "we are working closely with Transport for the North to help transform the economy of the north of England through Northern Powerhouse Rail" and "are looking forward to its business case which will be published at the end of this year, and which will set out details of routes and indeed costs”, whether the terms of reference for the details of those routes include a requirement that the new route will include stops at (1) Bradford, and (2) Sheffield; and whether any assurances on this have been given to those two cities.

We are working closely to support Transport for the North in developing the Strategic Outline Business Case for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) which they intend to submit to Government at the end of this year. Services between Sheffield and Manchester, Leeds and Hull have always been a core part of the NPR proposal. Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan set out that serving Bradford as part of the Manchester and Leeds corridor was a priority and options for this are being considered in the business case.

30th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the development of a business case for a new high speed railway line across the north of England will include a Determine Stage, Stage 1 of the Department for Transport's five stage Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline; and if not, whether work on Stage 1 will follow the publication of the business case.

The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for Northern Powerhouse Rail is being developed by Transport for the North and is being produced in line with the Department’s guidance for transport business cases. In the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP) process, the production of the SOBC is one of the key outputs of the Determine Stage of work. Further stages of development work, depending on the nature of the intervention being considered, could follow a range of processes including those outlined in the RNEP process, Network Rail’s Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) and HS2 Ltd’s processes for hybrid Bill preparation.

22nd Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of electric vehicle charging points that are required to be installed in each city, town or village, per units of 1,000 population, within the (1) next year and, (2) next five years.

The Government has not made an estimate of the number of electric vehicle chargepoints required for individual towns, cities or villages. The needs will be highly dependent on local circumstances, such as how many people travel to work by car and level of off street residential parking. We expect the transition to cleaner road transport to be industry- and consumer-led, supported in the coming years by the measures set out in the Road to Zero strategy published in July.

A widespread public chargepoint network is important for drivers who do high mileage, travel long distances and/or have no access to chargepoints at home or work. The UK already has more than 14,000 public chargepoints, one of the largest and most comprehensive rapid networks in Europe.

The Government’s goal is to encourage and leverage private sector investment to build and operate a thriving, self-sustaining public network with the right framework of policy support. The Road to Zero document, for instance, includes commitments to expand electric and low emission vehicle infrastructure significantly across the country. The department will continue to monitor whether any significant gaps, in uptake or infrastructure provision, emerge in the medium term and consider whether there is a case for direct central Government support in areas where there is a market failure.

22nd Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what responsibility the franchise holder has for assisting and compensating rail passengers travelling to Brierfield, Nelson or Colne but who must leave the train at Burnley Central when it terminates there; and whether the operator is required to make an assessment of the degree of vulnerability or distress of the passengers concerned when determining what assistance should be provided.

The franchisee is responsible for complying with their Passenger Charter and their Disabled people's protection policy for assisting passengers.

For compensation, the franchisee is responsible for complying with their Delay Repay scheme. Details of these can be found on the Northern Rail website.

22nd Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of rail services in the past six months that have not travelled beyond Burnley Central to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne stations but have instead gone back to Preston; and of the effect these service cancellations have had on (1) passengers from these three stations, (2) the number of passengers continuing to use that service, and (3) the reputation of the railway.

The Department does not hold information at the level of detail requested on rail services that, in the past six months, have not travelled beyond Burnley Central to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne stations.

17th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government which rail enhancement schemes are currently covered by the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline system; and which stage each scheme is at.

We are committed to transparent policy making and intend to make clear public statements as we take investment decisions on enhancements at each stage of the pipeline. This means that there will be a clear picture of the schemes that are progress