Lord Patten

Conservative - Life peer

Lord Patten is not a member of any APPGs
Secretary of State for Education and Science
10th Apr 1992 - 20th Jul 1994
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jun 1987 - 9th Apr 1992
Minister of State (Department of Environment) (Housing)
2nd Sep 1985 - 12th Jun 1987
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Security)
14th Jun 1983 - 2nd Sep 1985
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
5th Jan 1981 - 13th Jun 1983


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education Bill [HL]
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 170 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 193 Noes - 186
Speeches
Friday 22nd October 2021
Assisted Dying Bill [HL]

My Lords, I wish to make three points. First, I am totally opposed to this Bill because of my belief …

Written Answers
Wednesday 6th October 2021
Working Class
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they use the term “working class” in official business; and if so, how they …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Patten has voted in 127 divisions, and 5 times against the majority of their Party.

15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Lord Patten voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative Aye votes vs 125 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 112 Noes - 388
15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Lord Patten voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 127 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 355 Noes - 77
28 Apr 2021 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 - View Vote Context
Lord Patten voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 156 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 93 Noes - 418
28 Apr 2021 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 - View Vote Context
Lord Patten voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative Aye votes vs 151 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 401
28 Apr 2021 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 - View Vote Context
Lord Patten voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative Aye votes vs 144 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 70 Noes - 409
View All Lord Patten Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Department Debates
Ministry of Justice
(2 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(1 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(1 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Patten's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Patten, 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 Patten has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Patten has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Patten has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

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


168 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they use the term “working class” in official business; and if so, how they would define it.

The ONS guidance document titled ‘National Statistics Socio-economic classification’ explains and defines socio-economic groups and this is guidance we follow.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value to the UK taxpayer of defined benefit pension payments to retiring civil servants.

The Cabinet Office submits five year cash forecasts to the Office for Budget Responsibility in order for them to monitor the fiscal implications of the scheme, and the Government considers these long-term projections of expenditure, as published in their Fiscal Sustainability Reports, including expected pension cash flows as a percentage of GDP.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of when civil servants, in all departments, will be working in their offices for all of their contracted hours.

Since the pandemic began, civil servants have been delivering the Government’s priorities from home and the workplace. This includes the vaccine rollout, one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses and continuing to run vital public services.

Following the Government’s move to Step Four of the Roadmap on 19 July 2021, all Civil Service employers are making corporate decisions regarding the working arrangements of their staff and a return to greater workplace-working. Departments are gradually and steadily increasing the number of staff in workplaces, whilst ensuring they remain safe and secure through the regular review of building risk assessments.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the accuracy of the Office for National Statistics’ population growth forecasts when used in planning for future house building needs in green belt areas of England; and whether algorithms are used in the construction of the forecasts.

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 Rt. Hon, the Lord Patten of Barnes

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

20 May 2021

Dear Lord Patten,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what assessment has been made of the accuracy of the Office for National Statistics population growth forecasts when used in planning for future house building needs in green belt areas of England; and whether algorithms are used in the construction of the forecasts (HL79).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes population estimates and the methods used are set out in the Mid-year Population Estimates Quality and Methodology Information paper.[1] Similar quality and methodology information papers are published for national population projections[2], subnational population projections[3] and household projections[4]. Each round of our mid-year population estimates and population projections is fully quality assured and where appropriate (such as for subnational outputs) includes reviewing differences between local authorities and small geographies.

The ONS’ projections are not forecasts but are based on the continuation of recent trends and do not take into account social or economic factors that could affect the population in the future. As such, they do not try to predict any potential demographic consequences of future political or economic changes.

Individual local authorities have responsibility for planning future housing needs through their own local plans. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) are responsible for setting out guidance and policy on the use of ONS statistics for the purposes of planning.

You may be aware of the recent Office for Statistics Regulation report[5] about the ONS’ population projections and estimates, which found that at the national level, the ONS’ approach to projections and estimates was fit for purpose. The ONS has published a National Statistical blog explaining how the Centre for Ageing and Demography (responsible for population estimates and projections) at the ONS will meet the challenges raised by the report[6].

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/methodologies/midyearpopulationestimatesqmi

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/methodologies/nationalpopulationprojectionsqmi

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/methodologies/subnationalpopulationprojectionsqmi

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/methodologies/householdprojectionsinenglandqmi

[5]https://osr.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/news/osr-publishes-its-review-of-population-estimates-and-projections-produced-by-the-office-for-national-statistics/

[6] https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2021/05/17/meeting-the-challenges-in-population-estimation/

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy on the use of algorithms by their departments.

Safe and ethical use of algorithms in the public sector offers major opportunities for government, including improving public service delivery and increasing productivity and efficiency. The Government’s Data Ethics Framework and ‘Guide to Using AI in the Public Sector’, alongside other area-specific guidance available on GOV.UK, support the ethical and safe use of algorithms in the public sector.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last conducted a review of the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and the related costs; and what were the results.

Government constantly monitors and gains insight on public awareness. We use regular evaluations to maximise the impact of our campaigns across the UK.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on COVID-19 and other national campaigns on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 29 January (HL528), what was the proportion of successful candidates to the Civil Service Fast Stream with science-related degrees who graduated from (1) Oxford, (2) Cambridge, (3) Russell Group universities, and (4) all other higher education establishments.

Information relating to candidates' university background is published in the Fast Stream and Early Talent 2017-18 annual report.

We do not currently cross-tabulate information relating to science degrees and universities. Providing this information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

The Russell Group is not in of itself a kite mark of quality and is not considered as such.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
30th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 21 January (HL527), what plans they have to increase the number of those with science and engineering graduate-equivalent qualifications who enter the Civil Service Fast Stream.

The Fast Stream responds to the needs of government departments and professions who request the number of Fast Stream entrants they require. These are called ‘bids’. Our marketing attraction campaign targets specific audiences to meet those needs.

The Fast Stream marketing campaign targets science and engineering graduate applications through paid media channels; advertising on job sites such as STEM graduates, Stats Jobs, Economist jobs and with the New Scientist; ensuring a Civil Service presence at the ‘Ultimate STEM Graduate Recruitment Fair’; and posting blogs and content targeting science and engineering graduates on our social media channels.

Furthermore the campus outreach programme involves Year 2 Fast Streamers sharing their Civil Service experiences on campuses including those with science and engineering faculties.

The attached Civil Service Fast Stream: Annual Report 2017-2018 shows appointments of candidates with a science and engineering degree background have increased from 13.5% in 2016 to 19.7% in 2018.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people (1) applied, and (2) were accepted on to, the Civil Service Fast Stream, in each of the last three years; and how many of the successful applicants had science and engineering graduate-equivalent qualifications.

The information requested is in the table below.

Fast Stream Recruitment Summary, External Applicants Only

2016

2017

2018

Applications

32,450

40,570

40,457

of which: applicants with a Science & Engineering degree background

5,519

7,302

7,620

Science & Engineering degree background applicants, % of known total

17.1%

18.5%

19.4%

Appointments

1,245

1,233

1,411

of which: appointments of candidates with a Science & Engineering degree background

168

211

272

Science & Engineering degree background appointments, % of known total

13.5%

17.4%

19.7%

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks made on 12 January by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, that the Civil Service needs to recruit more science and engineering graduates.

The government plans to build on the successful reforms of the Civil Service since 2010, going further and faster to ensure that it has the right skills. In particular this means attracting more people with quantitative and data analytics skills - which are developed through training in science and engineering.

Demand for science and engineering graduates is increasing - with Fast Stream bids for this specialism having doubled this year.

Those with science-related degrees make up an increasing proportion of those entering the Fast Stream. Candidates with science-related degrees (where known) made up 19.7% of entrants in 2018 compared with 17.4% in 2017.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of who was originally responsible for the prosecution of Post Office subpostmasters.

The Government understands the serious impact that issues arising from faults with the Horizon IT system, and the Post Office’s management of these issues, have had on affected postmasters’ lives and livelihoods.

Justice Fraser has considered what happened over this period and has set out his findings in considerable detail. The findings outlined an extensive insight as to what went wrong at the Post Office, including an independent judicial view of the facts that all sides have been looking for.

The Government has also launched the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry on 29 September 2020. The purpose of the Inquiry is to understand and acknowledge what went wrong in relation to Horizon, establish a clear account of the implementation and failings of Horizon over its lifecycle and identify what key lessons must be learned for the future. The Inquiry is chaired by Sir Wyn Williams FLSW. Sir Wyn Williams is independent of both the Post Office and the Government, so he can draw conclusions based on the evidence submitted and produce recommendations and actions that may, in his view, be appropriate as a result of his findings. It would not be appropriate to draw conclusions on responsibility before the work of the Inquiry is complete.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential of the use of (1) biomimicry, and (2) design processes and technology based on natural behaviour models, in the UK economy.

The Government has funded research through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in a number of areas. This includes investment by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the Centre for Nature-Based Engineering (CNIE). Launched in 2013, as one of five EPSRC “Frontier Engineering” Centres, the CNIE draws lessons from nature to engineer innovative solutions to our grand challenges in energy, water, materials, health, and living space. In 2017, the Centre was awarded an EPSRC Progression Grant, to enable the Centre to continue to explore novel, transformative, multi-disciplinary solutions to key engineering challenges, where mechanisms found in nature systems can deliver superior performance over traditional approaches. In addition, the Centre accelerates translation of its findings into practice, through a wide range of industrial collaborations and entrepreneurship. The Frontier Engineering Progression Grant extends underpinning EPSRC investment in the CNIE until at least the end of 2021.

Biomimicry is also one of the potential features of the National Engineering Biology Programme being developed by UKRI partners and the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory. As part of the proposed programme, Engineering Biology aims to draw upon discovery-inspired advanced research themes in Bioinspired Design (e.g. biomimicry, biocomputing), Bioengineered Cells & Systems (e.g. artificial life, protocells, genome engineering) and Novel Materials (e.g. smart materials, new chemistry).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what assessment they have made (1) of, aside from the Crown and the UK Government, which (a) person, (b) family, (c) organisation, or (d) charity, is the largest landowner in England and Wales; and (2) of how many acres are held by that landowner.

None. HM Land Registry holds the database that records the legal ownership of registered land in England and Wales. While the register currently holds some 87% of the freehold surface area by individual land owner, the data is not structured in a way that makes it practical to assess the largest single landowner.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of compensation available to the providers of electricity, gas and water when the supply of such services has been affected as a result of damage caused by third parties, such as interruptions caused by road works or agricultural machinery.

A specific assessment of this sort has not been carried out by Government, as far as can be established. Compensation in this type of circumstance is likely to be a civil matter between the relevant parties.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the delays to, and (2) the costs of, the South Somerset District Council and Opium Power Limited energy storage plant project.

The Government has not made any such assessment. This is a matter for the parties involved.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic benefits, if any, of astro-tourism in places awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status.

The Government has not made any specific assessment of the economic benefits of astro-tourism in places awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status.

Across the UK's 15 National Parks there are a number of locations that have been awarded International Dark Sky Reserve or Dark Sky Discovery Site status. In 2017, VisitEngland published a Discover England Fund Research Summary Report titled ‘Making Great memories in England’s National Parks and countryside’. While it did not specifically mention dark sky reserves, this report highlighted some of the key trends in visitor trips to National Parks in England.

Across the UK's 15 National Parks there are a number of locations that have been awarded International Dark Sky Reserve or Dark Sky Discovery Site status. The Government has no formal role in the Dark Sky designation process as it is non-governmental and non-statutory.

The Independent Review of Landscapes recommended, ‘A night under the stars in a national landscape for every child.’ The Government has welcomed the Review and will respond in due course. We are committed to increasing opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy the benefits of spending meaningful time in our national landscapes in England.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the work of the Heritage Lottery Fund in administering grants under the Culture Recovery Fund, and (2) whether that organisation has sufficient staffing capacity to ensure timely decisions for grant applicants.

The Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage is being administered by both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

Leaders from these arms-length-bodies are in constant communication with DCMS and we work collaboratively to ensure that deadlines and workload are appropriate for the resource in each team. We are confident that decisions will be communicated to grant applicants in a timely way.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many listed historic houses and gardens have been supported with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund for recovery and business continuity purposes.

The Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage has been jointly coordinated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Heritage England. In the first round of funding, 277 awards were made to historic areas, buildings and monuments, totalling £49,486,500.

At least 15% of these awards were made directly to historic houses and gardens, including Blenheim Palace, which received £1,896,000.

The second round of funding is now live. Listed historic houses and gardens can apply for grants that will support reopening to the public in the late spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution to national health and wellbeing of the re-opening to the public in May of gardens owned by (1) members of Historic Houses, and (2) other private individuals.

Although no specific assessment has been made, the government recognised that increasing the green amenity space available to the public was important for both physical health and mental wellbeing, especially as one in eight households in Britain has no garden.

The Government was keen that sites and organisations could freely reopen to the public, once it was safe to do so. These included the likes of National Trust gardens and parkland (not houses), the grounds and gardens of privately owned historic houses, Kew Gardens and the outdoor spaces of Royal Horticultural Society properties. Only those outdoor spaces that could be opened safely and in compliance with wider social distancing guidelines reopened. Opening these sites provided a wider range of safe opportunities for the public to engage in outdoor recreation, helping to reduce pressure on pinch points and hotspots such as urban public parks, beaches and areas of natural beauty.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last met representatives of the National Trust; and what was discussed at that meeting.

Representatives of the National Trust last met with the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage on 21st October 2020 as part of the Heritage Working Group. The meeting focussed on covid-19 impacts on the heritage sector.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the practical outcomes of the maintenance of the at risk register of listed buildings in England.

Historic England’s Heritage at Risk programme identifies designated heritage assets – including Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments and Protected Wreck Sites – that are deemed to be at risk of damage or destruction (whether by human interventions or natural processes). It also helps to focus efforts to find creative solutions, and provides opportunities to celebrate successful outcomes.

The last five years have seen a steady net decline in the number of entries in the Heritage at Risk Register, from 5,478 in 2015 to 5,073 in 2019. Notable successes from the last 12 months include the Grade II* listed former School of Art (Moseley Road, Birmingham), now a community hub and studio space; and the Grade II* listed Holy Trinity Church (Bristol), now a thriving arts centre.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which three local authority areas in England have the (1) fastest, and (2) slowest, current rates of broadband connectivity.

According to Thinkbroadband as of 1 June, the three local authority areas with the fastest median download speed are as follows:

  1. The London Borough of Southwark - 52.2Mbps

  2. City of Kingston-upon-Hull - 49.6Mbps

  3. Stevenage Borough Council - 42.7Mbps

The three local authority areas with the slowest median download speed are as follows:

  1. West Devon Borough Council - 16Mbps

  2. Forest of Dean District Council - 16.5Mbps

  3. Braintree District Council - 17.6Mbps

In regard to superfast broadband coverage, the highest performing local authority areas are as follows:

  1. Watford Borough Council - 99.9% superfast coverage

  2. Epsom and Ewell Borough Council - 99.8% superfast coverage

  3. Worthing Borough Council - 99.7% superfast coverage

The lowest performing local authority areas in terms of superfast broadband coverage are as follows:

  1. City of London Corporation - 57.2% superfast coverage

  2. Eden District Council - 82.9% superfast coverage

  3. Richmondshire District Council - 84.1% superfast coverage

Further details of speed and coverage statistics for local authorities across the UK can be found here: http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/councils.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of new religious teachers across different faith groups in England and Wales being assessed and trained through internal monitoring; and whether they consider this self-regulation adequate.

Providing the best possible initial teacher training (ITT) is at the heart of the government’s drive to improve teaching standards. In order to be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) for all subjects and phases, including Religious Education, trainees must demonstrate that they have met the Teachers’ Standards (2011), which include a requirement that they demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge, and do not undermine fundamental British values, such as tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

It is for accredited ITT providers who deliver teacher training to use their professional judgement to design and deliver the courses, but they must ensure that the content, structure, and assessment of programmes are designed to enable trainee teachers to meet all the Teachers’ Standards for QTS across the age range of training. This includes Religious Education. The mandatory ITT criteria sets out the requirements that ITT providers must adhere to in order to remain compliant, this can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice#c21-programmes.

Accredited ITT providers have full discretion in assessing trainee ability to meet the Teachers’ Standards and recommending QTS. ITT providers must ensure that no trainee teacher is recommended for the award of QTS until they have met all the standards. Furthermore, Ofsted is responsible for testing the quality of teacher training and currently 100% of ITT providers are rated good or outstanding.

In addition, the performance of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) is assessed frequently throughout their induction period. The Appropriate Body (AB) has the main quality assurance role within the induction process and makes the final decision as to whether an NQT continues to meet the Teachers’ Standards (based on the headteacher / principal’s recommendation). Further information about ABs and the induction period for NQTs is set out at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923070/Statutory_Induction_Guidance_2019.pdf.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits to Coventry University of having, in addition to the vice-chancellor, five deputy vice-chancellors, eight pro-vice-chancellors and seven assistant pro-vice-chancellors.

Effective management of a university and meeting the demands of high-quality teaching, research and delivering quality outcomes for students is a complex task. Decisions on the structure of leadership teams or the job titles within any institutional hierarchy are an issue of institutional autonomy. However, students and taxpayers all contribute to our higher education system, and rightly expect value for money. We have set up the regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), to regulate the higher education sector and ensure it is delivering real value for money. Where issues with senior staff pay lead to concern, the OfS has power to carry out independent reviews of a provider’s governance to ensure that these arrangements are fit for purpose.

14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they define the term “re-wilding” when used in environmental policy.

The concept of ‘rewilding’ is a relatively new and evolving concept and as such, it is currently defined and approached in different ways. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is developing a conceptual and methodological framework for rewilding with the goal of restoring functional native ecosystems, which - where possible - are self-sustaining. We will continue to develop our definition and approach to rewilding working with the IUCN and other expert stakeholders.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the flood prevention measures in place on the Somerset Levels in advance of winter 2021–22.

The Environment Agency (EA) is acutely conscious of the impacts that flooding has on local communities in the Somerset Levels and Moors and is spending around £3 million each year on flood risk management asset operation and maintenance in the Levels and Moors. This financial year, the EA is forecasted to spend £1.3 million on repairing 20 assets in the area and will continue to collaborate with partners through the Somerset Prepared initiative to train community flood wardens and improve local resilience to flooding.

The EA has a sizeable fleet of plant and equipment at the centrally located Bradney Depot, including Ultra High Volume Pumps, sandbags, flood barriers, excavators, and other specialist plant and equipment. It also operates a ‘trigger point’ early warning system on a number of the moors, where incident response activity kicks in well before actual risk to property. This allows the use of permanent pumping stations to be maximised and gives the option of bringing in extra temporary pumping capacity if required, especially at key locations like Currymoor Flood Storage Reservoir.

In addition, construction works are underway to enhance the capacity of the River Sowy/Kings Sedgemoor Drain. These works are being delivered by the EA but funded by the Somerset Rivers Authority and will help reduce the flood risk to a number of communities. This work will be completed before winter.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the primary sources of phosphates present in English watercourses are from (1) agricultural activities, (2) water industry discharges, or (3) other activities.

The overall largest source of phosphorus entering English rivers is effluent from water industry sewage treatment works, contributing about 70% of the total phosphorus loading. 25-30% of phosphorus entering rivers comes from agriculture. For lakes, agriculture tends to be the largest contributor.

Other sources of phosphate are relatively small (less than 5%) at a national scale but can sometimes be important at a local level. These include effluent from septic tanks, road/urban runoff, leaking sewers and storm overflows.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the environmental condition of the Sites of Scientific Interest within the Somerset Levels and Moors being downgraded.

As the Government’s conservation advisory body, condition assessments of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are carried out by Natural England. Natural England’s assessment of the Somerset Levels and Moors SSSIs is based on the latest available evidence including monitoring and modelling work carried out by Wessex Water and agreed with the Environment Agency.

A full assessment of Natural England’s evaluation has been set out in their SSSI condition change briefing note. This was published in May 2021 and is attached here.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of phosphates entering English watercourses is declining or increasing.

Environment Agency monitoring data show dramatic reductions in phosphorus concentrations in English rivers over the last 25 years. Average concentrations now are about one-fifth of those in the mid-1990s.

The Environment Agency has also assessed the loadings of phosphorus entering rivers from water company sewage treatment works nationally. From 1995 to 2020 the phosphorus loadings were reduced by 66 percent.

The amounts of phosphorus applied to land as fertiliser have also reduced significantly over the last 25 years and livestock numbers have fallen leading to less manure production.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the numbers of recorded ancient and veteran trees in England are increasing or declining.

The Government does not have a statutory duty to collate numbers of ancient and veteran trees. The Natural England and Forestry Commission Standing Advice on Ancient Woodland, Ancient and Veteran Trees, available at gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences, directs users to the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Inventory which is collated by volunteers around the country: https://ati.woodlandtrust.org.uk/. The Ancient Tree Inventory currently lists 160,000 ancient, veteran and notable trees across the UK.

In 2019, we also announced that Government would give the Woodland Trust £210,000 to work with Natural England to update the Ancient Woodland Inventory which identifies over 53,000 ancient woodland sites in England.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need, if any, to improve the protection of ancient and veteran trees in England.

The irreplaceable nature of ancient and veteran trees and woodland is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan. We therefore strengthened the protection of ancient and veteran trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss and deterioration of ancient and veteran trees, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In 2019, we announced that Government would give the Woodland Trust £210,000 to work with Natural England to update the Ancient Woodland Inventory which identifies over 53,000 ancient woodland sites in England. Having an up-to-date inventory will make it easier for us all to protect this important habitat. Updates to the Ancient Woodland Inventory will also seek to identify further ancient wood pasture sites, which contain a significant number of ancient and veteran trees. By adding these sites to the inventory, we will strengthen the protection of ancient and veteran trees in England.

On 18 May we published the England Trees Action Plan which set out our long-term vision for trees, including for ancient and veteran trees. We announced a number of measures to improve protection of our ancient and veteran trees.

  • Introducing a new category of Long-Established Woodland. These are woodlands that have been in situ since 1840. We will consult on the protections these woodlands are afforded in the planning system, recognising their high ecological and societal value.
  • We will update the Ancient Woodland Inventory to review the whole of England. This will include mapping smaller ancient woodland sites down to 0.25 hectares in size. The original inventory only mapped sites down to 2 hectares, missing many smaller woods which are important for landscape-scale habitat connectivity.
  • We will also update the Keepers of Time policy on management of ancient woodland, veteran trees, and other semi natural woodland.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact, if any, that ancient and veteran trees may have on particular ecosystems.

Ancient and veteran trees are both irreplaceable habitats. Ancient trees can have significant biodiversity value as a result of significant wood decay and the habitat created from the ageing process, proving important for wildlife, including rare and threatened species. A veteran tree may not be very old, but it has decay features, such as branch death and hollowing. These features contribute to its biodiversity, cultural and heritage value.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they differentiate between ancient and veteran trees; and if so, what is their definition of each type.

Ancient and veteran trees can be individual trees or groups of trees within wood pastures, historic parkland, hedgerows, orchards, parks, or other areas. They are often found outside ancient woodlands.

An ancient tree is considered an irreplaceable habitat. Attributes can include its great age, size, condition, biodiversity value as a result of significant wood decay and the habitat created from the ageing process, and cultural and heritage value. All ancient trees are veteran trees, but not all veteran trees are ancient. A veteran tree is also considered an irreplaceable habitat. It may not be very old, but it has decay features, such as branch death and hollowing. These features contribute to its biodiversity, cultural and heritage value.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current rate of removal of hedgerows by (1) housebuilders, and (2) farmers.

The Government does not have an up to date assessment of hedgerow removal but is committed to protecting hedgerows, and other field boundaries, and the habitats they provide.

Hedgelink, a partnership supported by environmental, farming and heritage organisations, has estimated that between 1984 and 1990 the length of hedgerows in Great Britain had declined by about 23%. The Countryside Survey 2000 indicated that by 1998 this decline in the length of hedgerows had been halted.

Legal protection for hedgerows is provided by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 which prohibit the removal of countryside hedgerows without first seeking approval from the local planning authority. The authority is required to decide whether a hedgerow is “important” according to the criteria in the Regulations and should not be removed. Although there is local variation, research has indicated that, nationally, over 70% of hedgerows in England and Wales are 'important'. The Regulations therefore play a valuable role in providing statutory protection for a large proportion of hedgerows in the countryside.

When granting planning permission, a local authority has the power to impose enforceable planning conditions on a developer in order to protect hedges or trees assessed as being worthy of retention, which might otherwise be harmed by construction or the new land-use.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value of hedgerows in carbon capture.

A Defra-funded review in 2014 by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology illustrated the ability of hedges to store and accumulate significant amounts of carbon both above and below ground. The value of hedgerows in carbon capture was shown to vary with hedge structure, woody species and age. Tree lines were shown to be particularly impactful.

Separate analysis by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has looked at the existing agricultural hedges in England and estimated a total carbon stock of 9 million tonnes.

There is potential to increase this carbon stock in England through hedgerow creation and reducing hedgerow removal. This is reflected in Defra’s ongoing “Delivering Clean Growth Through Sustainable Intensification” project. The total potential carbon savings from hedgerow creation in England, based on a high ambition scenario, are estimated at 100,000 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) over carbon budget 4 (2023–27) and 300,000 tonnes CO2e over carbon budget 5 (2028–32). This equates to a total of 696ha and 2262ha of grassland converted to hedgerows in carbon budget 4 and in carbon budget 5 respectively.

Future work should focus on gathering more empirical data on the carbon stock of hedgerows, including below-ground carbon stocks.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 26 April (HL14806), who is responsible for conducting tests to ensure overseas vets have adequate English; and whether they have had representations from the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers on this matter.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the regulatory body for the UK veterinary profession, has the power to ensure that overseas vets wishing to practise in the UK have adequate English language skills. Rather than Defra, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has received representations from the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) which refer to Official Veterinarian (OV) communication skills. The FSA continues to engage and respond to AIMS on these important matters. The FSA has a contract in place with its Service Delivery Partner to ensure that OVs who are supplied from overseas have adequate English language skills.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) number, (2) welfare, and (3) distribution, of barn owls in England.

The State of UK Birds report provides the latest population trends for all the UK’s bird species.

The population estimate for barn owl in the most recent report was 4,000 – 14,000 breeding pairs in 2016. The BTO’s Nest Record Scheme shows the species is widely distributed across Great Britain. There has been no specific assessment about the welfare of England’s wild barn owl population.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last reviewed the penalties for (1) owning, or (2) being in charge of, a dog that is dangerously out of control; and what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the penalties for such crimes that are currently available to courts.

It is an offence to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The penalties for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control were increased in 2014.

In 2017, Defra reviewed the way the police and local authorities have used the powers available to them to tackle dog control and welfare issues. This resulted in further Defra guidance for these enforcement authorities emphasising their respective responsibilities and encouraging the use of good practice such as application of the LEAD initiative (Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs).

Defra commissioned Middlesex University to examine measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership. The report was submitted to Defra in March this year. The report is currently being peer reviewed and will be finalised in light of peer review comments. Our intention is to publish the final report later this year.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce further protections for the remaining areas of ancient woodland in England.

The irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands as a habitat is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

We therefore strengthened the protection of ancient woodlands through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss and deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In 2019, we announced that the Government would give the Woodland Trust £210,000 to work with Natural England to update the Ancient Woodland Inventory (which identifies over 53,000 ancient woodland sites in England). Having an up-to-date inventory will make it easier for us all to protect this important habitat.

We will soon be publishing an England Trees Action Plan which will set out our long-term vision for trees, including ancient woodlands.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the acreage of ancient woodlands lost in England in each of the last ten years.

The irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands as a habitat is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan. We will also be publishing this spring our England Trees Action Plan, which will set out our long-term vision for trees, including ancient woodlands.

The Government is committed to protecting ancient woodlands. In 2016, the National Forest Inventory report " Preliminary estimates of the changes in canopy cover between 2006 and 2015" found that overall, in England the level of permanent ancient woodland loss to other land uses was 57 hectares or 0.02% between 2006-2015. A copy of the report is attached to this answer.

Natural England and the Woodland Trust have an active project to revise Natural England's Ancient Woodland Inventory to cover the whole of England. This will include mapping smaller ancient woodland between 0.25 and 2ha, as the original inventory only included woodlands above 2ha, to provide a better assessment of these irreplaceable habitats.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the availability of English-speaking Official Veterinarians to monitor abattoirs.

The Department can confirm that all vets working in abattoirs, on behalf of the Food Standards Agency or for Food Standards Scotland, providing statutory controls and certification duties, are registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and speak English.

12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for requiring dogs to be on leads when near livestock on working farms.

My department takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

All reported crimes should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (the 1953 Act) provides a specific offence of allowing a dog to worry livestock on any agricultural land with a maximum fine of £1,000.

For the purposes of the 1953 Act, a dog can be said to be worrying livestock if it attacks or chases livestock, or if it is at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep. In this Act, the definition of “livestock” covers sheep, goats, swine, horses, asses, mules, poultry (including domestic fowls, turkeys, geese or ducks), and cattle (including bulls, cows, oxen, heifers or calves).

In addition to the 1953 Act, the police can and do take action under the Dogs Act 1871 where there are dogs that are out of control and dangerous to other animals. Section 2 of the 1871 Act allows a complaint to be made to a Magistrate’s court by any individual, the police or local authorities, where a dog is “dangerous and not kept under proper control”. The court may make any Order it considers appropriate to require the owner to keep the dog under proper control, or if necessary, that it be destroyed. The court may specify measures to be taken for keeping the dog under proper control, such as muzzling and remaining on a lead when in public.

Guidance is available to educate owners about handling their dogs responsibly in the vicinity of livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing.

The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs clearly sets out that all dogs need to be trained to behave well, ideally from a very young age and should be introduced gradually and positively to different environments, people and animals. The Code asks owners to ensure that they prevent their dogs from chasing or attacking any other animals, including livestock and horses; for example, through use of a lead or avoidance of such situations.

Natural England has recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code: advice for countryside visitors, which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code-advice-for-countryside-visitors. A copy is also attached to this answer. Both the short and long versions of the Countryside Code make specific reference to keeping dogs under control and in sight to make sure they stay away from wildlife, livestock, horses and other people unless invited. The Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are situations when you must keep your dog on a lead for all or part of the year. An associated campaign will run throughout 2021, which will include a broader conversation with stakeholders about what a ‘post Covid’ Code for the 21st century would look like and how to promote more awareness and positive behaviour.

In light of the relevant legislation and statutory guidance available, the Government does not consider it necessary to introduce any additional requirement for dogs to be on a lead when near livestock.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the performance of flood prevention and mitigation measures in Somerset in 2020.

The Environment Agency's (EA) top priority has been to maintain flood defence assets to ensure communities in Somerset and across England are incident ready and resilient for potential flooding this winter. The EA has strengthened working arrangements with the support of delivery partners in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The EA's flood risk assets have performed satisfactorily across Somerset. During 2020 the EA operated coastal flood defences to protect people, properties and low lying land in Somerset. The risk from seasonal wet weather in October and most of December for the most part was managed without issue although it meant catchments were very wet. However, both Storm Alex and Storm Bella, sadly resulted in flooding.

During Storm Alex, over 100mm of rain (more than the monthly average of rain) fell in two days on the steep sided upper reaches of the River Sheppey and this resulted in flooding at Croscombe and Shepton Mallett (initial estimates are that 20 properties flooded in total). Roads were also flooded from surface water. This is a complex flooding issue and the EA is assisting Somerset County Council with its Section 19 investigation (Flood and Water Management Act) into the cause, likelihood of recurrence and need for measures to reduce the risk.

Over Christmas, Storm Bella on wet, saturated catchments generated rivers flows in excess of the River Parrett and Tone's capacity. This passed into the adjacent flood plains and moors, Currymoor, Haymoor, Wetmoor, Westmoor Allermoor and the King's Sedgemoor Drain. Using these areas as water storage is an established approach and has been a frequent and normal winter occurrence over many decades.

The EA has been using its pumps and other assets to reduce river levels, and clear water from the moors, making use of the enhanced pumping capacity at Currymoor pumping station.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the dataset produced by the Environment Agency Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) Classification Status Cycle 2, published on 29 September, why no rivers in Somerset meet the current criteria for good ecological status or ecological potential.

While water quality in rivers has generally improved since the 1990s, recent progress has slowed. The 2019 Water Framework Directive classification revealed that no waterbodies in England meet the criteria for good chemical status and therefore do not meet the criteria for overall good ecological status or ecological potential. This compares with about 97% of waterbodies achieving good chemical status in the 2016 classification.

This apparent decline in results is largely due to the use of new monitoring methods rather than a sudden deterioration in water quality, and this means that the 2016 and 2019 classifications are not directly comparable. The use of new monitoring methods by the Environment Agency (EA) to assess the presence of a number of now banned or closely regulated chemicals has meant that in many rivers in Somerset the chemical classification has reduced, although all the other chemical and biological elements which the EA monitors remain largely unchanged. This new method has resulted in a more comprehensive assessment of certain substances in the environment and will allow the EA to begin to understand and address the legacy of these chemicals.

The EA continues to monitor rivers in Somerset and seek improvements in light of this latest classification. It does this by working in partnership with a wide range of local and national organisations to reduce pollution and tackle the areas of biggest concern like storm overflows, working with farmers to support environmentally friendly farming that doesn’t damage water quality, and responding to water quality incidents and prosecuting polluters where applicable.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of flood mitigation measures installed on the course of the river Aller and its headwaters in Somerset.

The River Aller is a rapid response, rural catchment that has required a number of innovative flood mitigation measures to protect properties from rainfall running off the steep sided slopes of Exmoor.

Approximately 70 properties are at risk of flooding in or near the villages of Allerford and Bossington. The most recent flooding in 2000 impacted properties and the A39 road. The measures set out below have been effective in reducing the impact of flooding in a number of ways and no significant flood events or property flooding has occurred since they have been in place.

Natural flood management (NFM) storage bunds, woody debris dams and woodland planting has reduced the risk of high flows since it was completed in 2015.

Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures such as removable boards in doorways and air brick covers have been installed in 38 properties at risk of flooding in Allerford and Bossington that provide an effective defence to flooding up to 600mm.

The Environment Agency’s Flood Warning Service provides targeted and timely alerts and warnings to people about the likelihood and severity of any potential flooding. This then allows people to activate flood plans and install their PFR measures. A siren is also sounded to provide immediate warning that life threatening flooding is imminent.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to introduce legislation banning all harvesting of peat; and if not, why not.

We have taken action to tackle domestic extraction of peat; the National Planning Policy Framework, first published in 2012, ends the granting of new licences for peat extraction. Peat extraction in England will therefore end when the remaining licenses expire.

The Government continues to be committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England. The biggest user of peat is the amateur sector and this is an important part of our policy focus. We signalled to the industry that if we have not seen sufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020, then we would look at further measures that could be taken, and we are currently considering what these potential further measures could look like.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of preparations to mitigate flooding of the Somerset Levels in the winter.

At this time of year, being incident ready and resilient for winter flooding is a top priority for the Environment Agency (EA). The EA are working to ensure that its incident response rosters are well-populated and that incident duty staff have had refresher training.

This summer, across the Levels and Moors, EA field staff have been working to deliver a multimillion pound programme of maintenance works. This includes repairs and essential maintenance to pump stations, clearing main rivers to ensure maximum conveyance, localised repairs to damaged flood banks, and asset inspections to address any defects. Contingency plans have also been developed for strategically important assets with an ongoing programme of tests and exercises.

In October, the EA has planned specialist training for its staff on deploying ultra-high volume pumps and temporary defences. Separate training sessions are also planned with supply chain partners so that they are well briefed if they are needed.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they have allocated for flood defences and further related mitigation measures in the Somerset Levels in the current financial year; and what current schemes are underway to mitigate flooding in the area.

This current financial year, £4.7 million of capital flood defence capital grant in aid (FDGiA) has been allocated for flood defences and further related mitigation measures on the Somerset Levels and Moors. This funding is being used to progress schemes such as the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier and Dunball sluice refurbishment, as well as works to flood defence reservoirs and pumping station improvements.

In addition, a further £0.5 million of capital funding has been allocated for the recondition of existing flood defence assets.

£3.5 million of revenue FDGiA has been allocated for maintenance and operation of flood defence assets. This is supplemented by £0.5 million of Internal Drainage Board precept.

On behalf of the Somerset Rivers Authority, the Environment Agency and the Somerset Consortium of Internal Drainage Boards are also delivering £4 million of capital works to increase channel conveyance on the River Sowy and King Sedgemoor Drain, and to dredge a further section of the River Parrett.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Ragwort Control Act 2003 in preventing and controlling the spread of ragwort on (1) privately owned property, and (2) publicly owned land, such as roadside verges.

Defra’s injurious weeds policy aims to balance a variety of different interests in the countryside. We have not made an assessment of the effectiveness of the Ragwort Control Act 2003, as this Act amends the Weeds Act 1959 by inserting a provision enabling the Secretary of State to produce statutory guidance in the form of a ‘code of practice’ on how to prevent the spread of ragwort.

The Secretary of State published a code of practice in 2004, which aims to define the situations in which there is a likelihood of ragwort spreading to neighbouring land where it will then present an identifiable risk of ingestions by vulnerable animals, and to provide guidance on the most appropriate means of control, taking into account both animal welfare and environmental considerations. This is available on the GOV.UK website.

Natural England is the responsible authority for investigating complaints about injurious weeds under the Weeds Act 1959 in England and collects data on injurious weeds complaints to monitor the number of complaints in each season. This data is reviewed annually by Defra and Natural England, and from the 2018 season this data is available on data.gov.uk.

15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the landscape value, and (2) the level of landscape protection, of the Somerset Levels.

Natural England published a detailed Natural Character Area profile of the Somerset Levels in June 2013. This study provides a description of the natural and cultural features that shape the landscape, how the landscape has changed over time, the current key drivers of landscape change and a broad analysis of the area’s characteristics and ecosystem services.

The Somerset Levels have no formal landscape protection. Large areas of the Somerset Levels are, however, afforded protection because of their nature conservation value through designation as: a National Nature Reserve; a Special Protection Area (under the Wild Birds Directive); and a Ramsar site (under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance). These designations are underpinned by several Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Further information is available online via Natural England’s Designated Sites Viewer and the MAGIC website:

designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteList.aspx?siteName=somerset&countyCode=&responsiblePerson=&DesignationType=All

magic.defra.gov.uk

14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of re-wilding in England on established fauna and flora.

There are an increasing number of examples of re-wilding in England, but limited scientific assessments of their effects.

In 2017, Natural England published a review of large-scale conservation which looked at the effects of a number of re-wilding projects. The review found some indications of positive change in the quality of woodlands, but concluded that definitive assessment was hampered by a lack of data.

It is clear, nonetheless, that re-wilding approaches can deliver benefits. For example, at Knepp Castle in West Sussex, the creation of extensive grassland and scrub habitats, has boosted numbers of declining bird species like the nightingale or the turtle dove.

Re-wilding is unlikely to be appropriate in all circumstances, but natural processes, such as natural colonisation of land with trees for example, could play an important part in connecting and expanding habitats and woodlands, alongside planting.

The Government is therefore keen to understand the potential of re-wilding approaches to provide biodiversity and carbon benefits as we develop our tree strategy and our plans for the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to humans arising from re-wilding in England.

Rewilding often includes the re-introduction of species to restore ecosystems and natural processes. Any reintroduction or conservation translocation of a species should follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) guidelines. As part of this, a rewilding project should consider the risk or impacts that the reintroduction may have on humans.

The Government is currently developing of Code of Best Practice and Guidance for assessing the merits and risks of a reintroduction proposal. We would expect any such proposal to follow this, which will set the standards that a project needs to meet where a licence for release is needed.

Natural England already considers risks to humans in its assessment of a reintroduction proposal. The Government has also taken action to address such risks. For example, we have limited the potential sources for importation of beaver to ensure that animals released in England are disease-free.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of penalties in deterring the trapping, poisoning or shooting of protected species of birds in England and Wales.

The Government has not carried out an assessment of the deterrent effect of penalties for wildlife crime. Measuring the effectiveness of deterrence is extremely challenging, as potential offenders do not often admit to being deterred from committing a crime.

Nevertheless, the Government takes wildlife crime seriously. Those who commit offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and other legislation that protects our wildlife face significant penalties including up to six months in prison and/or unlimited fines.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on (1) the environment, and (2) road safety, of the cutting of roadside verges and hedges in English local authority areas since 2015; and whether they have plans for a review of these practices.

Our roadside verges and hedges can provide a rich refuge for plants and for the pollinators and other wildlife they support. The responsibility for managing England’s strategic road network falls to Highways England and the local road network to local authorities.

All public bodies, including Highways England and local authorities, have a legal duty under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act to have regard to conserving biodiversity when exercising their functions. Management of road verges, hedgerows and other green spaces to support wildflowers, pollinators and other wildlife is one way in which public bodies can discharge this duty, although those public bodies also have to ensure public safety.

The UK Roads Liaison Group’s Code of Practice on Well Managed Highway Infrastructure recommends that authorities manage highway verges, trees and landscaped areas with regard to their nature conservation value and biodiversity principles as well as whole-life costing, highway safety and serviceability.

Many public bodies are already taking action to enhance biodiversity along public roads. Highways England’s Biodiversity Action Plan sets out its approach to promoting biodiversity while balancing this with safety on the strategic road network. A number of local authorities are also working with conservation groups such as the local Wildlife Trust to plan and implement biodiversity enhancements alongside roads.

Defra, alongside our external partners and other Government departments, regularly reviews the evidence on the value to wildlife of roadside verges and hedges, and strongly encourages positive management that balances wildlife and safety.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of fly tipping on or near roads has increased during the last 12 months and, if so, by how much.

The Government publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England around November for the preceding financial year. As such, the Government has not yet been able to assess whether the amount of fly-tipping on or near roads has increased during the last 12 months.

The most recently published statistics indicated that, as with previous years, the most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for 46% of total incidents in 2018/19. This is an increase of 6% from 2017/18. The fly-tipping statistics are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of littering from vehicles has increased during the last 12 months and, if so, by how much.

The Government does not collect data on littering rates and has made no assessment of whether littering from vehicles has increased or decreased in the last 12 months.

Data on a range of indicators relating to litter in England is published annually on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-and-littering-in-england-data-dashboard

The most recently-published data indicated that around 9 in 10 sites in England met the required standards of cleanliness in 2017-18. Data for 2018-19 will be published later this year.

Data from Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) shows that 94% of main roads, 89% of rural roads, and 93% of ‘other highways’ met the required standards of cleanliness in 2017-18, based on an independent survey of 7,200 sites across 25 local authorities. This is broadly comparable with their results from a similar survey for 2014-15, although differences in the survey sample and methodology prevent direct comparisons. The full 2017-18 report from KBT can be found online at: https://www.keepbritaintidy.org

From April 2018, we have increased the powers available to councils to tackle littering from vehicles by giving councils in England and outside London new powers to issue civil penalties to the keeper of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Similar power are already held by councils in London.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) number, and (2) geographical spread within England, of (a) buzzards, and (b) red kites.

A report published by the British Trust for Ornithology estimates that the number of breeding buzzards in Great Britain is 61,500 – 85,000 pairs and the number of breeding red kites is 4,370 pairs (https://www.bto.org/our-science/publications/peer-reviewed-papers/apep-4-population-estimates-birds-great-britain-and).

There is no similar data for English populations. However, buzzards are common throughout England and Natural England estimates that there are up to 30,000 breeding pairs. Natural England also estimate that there are 2,000 pairs of red kites which are most commonly found in central and southern England.

The most recent information on the geographical distribution of birds in Britain is provided by the BTO’s 2007-2011 Atlas of breeding and wintering birds https://app.bto.org/mapstore/StoreServlet.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK horticultural industry.

The Government recognises the crucial role that the UK’s horticulture industry plays in both feeding the country and promoting people’s wellbeing. It is clear that the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on horticulture businesses up and down the country and the Government is acutely aware of the challenges facing parts of the industry at this time.

We know it is vital that the sector has access to the labour it needs, and we are aware of concerns about the impact that current restrictions on the movement of people could have on the number of seasonal workers coming to the UK. We are therefore urgently considering what measures could be put in place to help mitigate labour shortages.

We will continue to work closely with representatives from across the horticulture supply chain to identify what short-term and long-term support the sector needs. As horticulture is part of the agricultural sector, impacts of COVID-19 on the horticulture industry are being overseen by the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group, which meets weekly to monitor UK agricultural markets and to provide forewarning of any atypical market movements. During the coronavirus outbreak, this has allowed Defra and the devolved administrations to share the latest stakeholder information and data to assess the effects of COVID-19 on the agricultural industry, to ensure we have an evidence base of what is happening in specific markets and geographical regions.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with the sector to assess and respond to emerging issues as they arise.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on plant disease of trees and shrubs brought from mainland Europe to the UK.

The UK has robust controls in place to protect against plant pest and disease threats. Horizon scanning for new and emerging threats is carried out continuously and the results are considered monthly by all UK Plant Health Authorities, facilitated by the Defra-chaired UK Plant Health Risk Group. The UK Plant Health Risk Register (UKPHRR) is the principal screening tool used for this purpose and all outputs are published. This includes an assessment of the likely impacts of pests screened, including those which are present in mainland Europe but not in the UK. The UKPHRR also includes details of pests which have been introduced to the UK from other countries, including in Europe, assessing their potential for further spread and resulting impacts. The UKPHRR now has more than 1000 entries, informing decision making and prioritisation in relation to plant health threats. Where necessary more detailed assessments are made for risks identified via the UKPHRR through Pest Risk Assessments (PRAs). These PRAs will be used as the basis for UK plant heath legislation and UK legislation is updated frequently to protect against new and revised threats.

The UK is proud of its world-leading plant biosecurity standards and we have recently introduced additional national measures against key threats including Xylella fastidiosa and the Emerald ash borer. These have introduced additional controls on the import of hosts of Xylella which are considered to pose a high risk of harbouring the pathogen. These requirements are based on the outcome of an update to the UK PRA for this pathogen and include details on potential impacts should this pathogen be introduced, including on plants from Europe.

The Tree Health Resilience Strategy sets out the current state of knowledge on tree health in England and provides a framework for management of our trees, including horizon scanning for new and emerging threats associated with plant imports from mainland Europe and beyond. The latest Woodland Natural Capital Accounts, published by the Office for National Statistics in February 2020, classify 85% of woodlands in Great Britain as in a favourable condition for tree health.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what volume of peat and peat-based products were sold in each of the last five years; what volume of peat was extracted from the UK in each of the last five years; and what volume of peat was imported from the Republic of Ireland in each of the last five years.

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of when all retail products sold in the UK will be peat-free.

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of when commercial horticulture will have ceased using peat and peat-based products.

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 30 January (HL580), whether there is a map to show the areas at (1) current, and (2) future, risk of flooding in England.

The Environment Agency’s (EA’s) Flood Map for Planning (https://flood-map-for-planning.service.gov.uk/) shows the current likelihood of flooding in England. This map takes into account extreme weather events.

While this map does not look at future risks, for many parts of the country the EA assesses future climate impacts on flood and coastal risk through local detailed flood and coastal erosion modelling. These models and outputs can be made available on request to assist in the resilient design of new development.

In addition, the EA is currently updating its national flood risk assessment. The new assessment will provide the information needed to guide and support flood risk management decisions and investment in a transparent and understandable way. It will give a dynamic, single story of flood risk for a location, for all sources of flooding, now and in the future, considering defence performance and regardless of scale.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 28 January (HL530), what are the actual numbers involved in their policy of "encouraging new tree planting on a massive scale"; and what is the period over which this will be achieved.

We have set out an ambition to increase tree planting across the UK in this parliament to 30,000 hectares a year by 2025. In England we will increase planting with support from our new Nature for Climate Fund and are developing a programme for this. This will include support for domestic nurseries, grants to plant private land and support for a range of public, private and community organisations.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the annual 2.2 per cent growth of global light pollution, according to the journal Environmental Evidence, on the (1) environment, and (2) health, of the UK.

The Government has not made a specific assessment of the impact of the annual growth of global light pollution on the environment.

Defra has published or contributed to a range of assessments of the impact of artificial light on insects and wider biodiversity, as well as global and national assessments of the drivers of biodiversity loss more generally.

Following publication of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report, ‘Artificial light in the environment’ in 2009, Defra has supported assessments of impacts of artificial light on insects and on other organisms such as bats. These are published on our science website. Defra has also funded or co-funded national and international assessments of drivers of change on insects and wider biodiversity such as the global IPBES Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which notes that effects of light on nocturnal insects may be growing and identifies the need for further study.

There have been a number of externally funded studies which have highlighted potential impacts of artificial light pollution on insects, which Defra keeps under review, for example, with our academic partners on the National Pollinator Strategy for England.

Public Health England carried out a study in 2016 for the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Society of Light and Lighting, which included an assessment of light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights on health. The study concluded that some LED streetlight luminaires emitted more blue light than was necessary, but that there was no evidence of direct adverse health effects on people.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 7 January (HL64), how many trees they intend to plant in towns and cities between 2020 and 2025.

This Government recognises the vital role trees play in delivering social, environmental and economic benefits in and around our towns and cities. They help clean and cool the air, prevent flood risk, and support our physical and mental health.

The Government is committed to increasing tree planting across the UK throughout this parliament to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. We have not set a specific target for the number of urban trees which will be planted, but have announced a Nature for Climate Fund which will support planting in rural and urban areas.

We are currently planting through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, which supports planting of at least 20,000 large trees and 110,000 small trees in urban areas in England. We are also introducing a new duty on local authorities to consult local communities when considering felling street trees.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost of wasted energy from light pollution; and what assessment they have made of the impact of light pollution on (1) health, (2) wildlife, and (3) astronomy.

1. Public Health England carried out a study in 2016 for the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Society of Light and Lighting, which included an assessment of light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights on health. The study concluded that some LED streetlight luminaires emitted more blue light than was necessary, but that there was no evidence of direct adverse health effects on people.

2. Defra has published or contributed to a range of assessments of the impact of artificial light on insects and wider biodiversity, as well as global and national assessments of the drivers of biodiversity loss more generally.

Following publication of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report, ‘Artificial light in the environment’ in 2009, Defra has supported assessments of impacts of artificial light on insects and on other organisms such as bats. These are published on our science website. Defra has also funded or co-funded national and international assessments of drivers of change on insects and wider biodiversity such as the global IPBES Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which notes effects of light on nocturnal insects may be growing and identifies the need for further study.

There have been a number of externally funded studies which have highlighted potential impacts of artificial light pollution on insects, which Defra keeps under review, for example, with our academic partners on the National Pollinator Strategy for England.

3. Government officials have met with relevant stakeholders including the Commission for Dark Skies but have not made an assessment of the impact of light pollution on astronomy.

The Government has not made an assessment specifically of the cost of wasted energy from light pollution. In respect of the Strategic Road network a full appraisal is carried out before any lighting project is commissioned, including in-depth analysis of the environmental impact and economic benefits of the scheme. All lighting on the network is designed according to current British and European standards which emphasise the importance of limiting light pollution, and older forms of lantern are in the process of being replaced with environmentally sensitive lighting when they become due for renewal.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the levels of light pollution in the UK; whether light pollution in the UK is decreasing; and if so, at what rate.

A range of measures are in place to ensure that light pollution is effectively managed through controls in the planning system, the statutory nuisance regime and improvements in street lighting.

The Government has not made a recent assessment of overall levels of light pollution in the UK or of whether these are decreasing.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of current tree cover in the South Somerset District.

Through the National Forest Inventory (NFI), Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission, gathers data on woodland in England.

The NFI shows that South Somerset District has approximately 6% woodland cover, which amounts to an area of 5,332 hectares.

More details of the work carried out and information the NFI publishes can be found here: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/about-the-nfi/

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefit of trees in English cities; and what steps they intend to take to prevent any large-scale felling of such trees.

The Government recognises the value of urban trees in creating healthy communities and liveable places for people and wildlife. In our manifesto we pledged to plant more trees in towns and cities, and will expect all new streets to be lined with trees.

The public care deeply about this issue, and the Environment Bill, which returns to Parliament in January, will include measures to increase the transparency of decisions over street trees. The proposed duty to consult will encourage authorities to consider concerns raised by the public, and have regard to these when making decisions – giving the public a say in the management of these important natural assets.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) economic, and (2) security, assistance they intend to make available to Tunisia in 2020.

UK-Tunisia relations are close, and the UK is committed to our strong bilateral relationship with Tunisia. We share similar views on many regional and strategic issues and have good security and trade relations. We are increasing our support to help the country develop its economy and address long term challenges like youth unemployment and tackling corruption while maintaining support to help build Tunisia’s capacity to deal with the terrorist threat. In 2019/20, the UK Government’s support is higher than ever providing support to economic development, economic reform and good governance. In the past UK funding has helped support second chance school centres across Tunisia for disadvantaged youth at risk of dropping out of education; train more than 2000 teachers in English Language and core skills development; provide financial support to over 100 entrepreneurs; and train civil servants in delivering key reforms and strategic communications.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current balance of trade between the UK and Tunisia; and what assessment they have made of whether such economic activity will increase following the UK's departure from the EU.

Total trade between the United Kingdom and Tunisia was £506m in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2020, with a surplus to the United Kingdom of £38m. At the end of the transition period, we brought into effect the United Kingdom-Tunisia Association Agreement, which secures preferential bilateral trading arrangements, allowing British and Tunisian businesses and consumers to benefit from continued preferential access to each market. Looking ahead, this agreement is a clear signal of our enduring commitment to our close bilateral relationship with Tunisia and will help strengthen trade and investment ties in the future.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures. if any, they are taking (1) to ensure the economic sustainability, and (2) to mitigate the environmental impact, of the Cambridge to Oxford direct rail link.

The full East West Rail (EWR) scheme (Oxford to Cambridge) is planned to be delivered, and operational for passenger and freight services, by the end of the decade. We are currently working hard with the East West Railway Company and Network Rail to develop the right future service patterns for the scheme. This will help ensure that EWR objectives are achieved and provide the best possible connectivity for the communities and customers.

Plans, including costs, for the whole scheme are still in development. We will release further details in due course.

Environmental implications and ensuring economic sustainability have been important parts of the decision-making process for the EWR scheme.

  • A strategic objective of EWR is to provide a sustainable and value for money transport solution to support economic growth in the area. This is to be achieved by improving transport connections within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and ensuring the line supports new housing development in the area.
  • The EWR scheme aims to become a net-zero carbon railway. It is committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that avoid, minimise or mitigate negative environmental impacts. As part of this, for example, the East West Railway Company has committed to delivering biodiversity net gain in the area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of completing the Cambridge to Oxford direct rail link.

The full East West Rail (EWR) scheme (Oxford to Cambridge) is planned to be delivered, and operational for passenger and freight services, by the end of the decade. We are currently working hard with the East West Railway Company and Network Rail to develop the right future service patterns for the scheme. This will help ensure that EWR objectives are achieved and provide the best possible connectivity for the communities and customers.

Plans, including costs, for the whole scheme are still in development. We will release further details in due course.

Environmental implications and ensuring economic sustainability have been important parts of the decision-making process for the EWR scheme.

  • A strategic objective of EWR is to provide a sustainable and value for money transport solution to support economic growth in the area. This is to be achieved by improving transport connections within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and ensuring the line supports new housing development in the area.
  • The EWR scheme aims to become a net-zero carbon railway. It is committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that avoid, minimise or mitigate negative environmental impacts. As part of this, for example, the East West Railway Company has committed to delivering biodiversity net gain in the area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the new direct railway line from Cambridge to Oxford will be completed; and when the first (1) passenger, and (2) goods, trains will run in each direction

The full East West Rail (EWR) scheme (Oxford to Cambridge) is planned to be delivered, and operational for passenger and freight services, by the end of the decade. We are currently working hard with the East West Railway Company and Network Rail to develop the right future service patterns for the scheme. This will help ensure that EWR objectives are achieved and provide the best possible connectivity for the communities and customers.

Plans, including costs, for the whole scheme are still in development. We will release further details in due course.

Environmental implications and ensuring economic sustainability have been important parts of the decision-making process for the EWR scheme.

  • A strategic objective of EWR is to provide a sustainable and value for money transport solution to support economic growth in the area. This is to be achieved by improving transport connections within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and ensuring the line supports new housing development in the area.
  • The EWR scheme aims to become a net-zero carbon railway. It is committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that avoid, minimise or mitigate negative environmental impacts. As part of this, for example, the East West Railway Company has committed to delivering biodiversity net gain in the area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks, if any, for UK shipping crossing the eastern Mediterranean.

The Department for Transport regularly assesses the risks posed to British-flagged shipping worldwide. Utilising the fusion approach to security, we work with the UK Defence and Intelligence Community to monitor events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This information informs the guidance and advice we promulgate to industry.

Where a new threat is identified, we advise the industry accordingly, so they can review and adapt their risk assessment and operating procedures.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the resilience of the inter-island transport system in the Scilly Isles.

The Government fully recognises the importance of the Isles of Scilly’s inter-island transport network which allows for the provision of vital services to islanders, including ensuring that children can attend school. As such we have been engaging with local stakeholders from the outset of the current crisis and have provided bespoke financial support to Isles of Scilly transport operators to ensure that services to, from and between the islands continue.

Our immediate priority is to support the islands’ transport network through the pandemic. However, we are aware that the Isles of Scilly Transport Board are working on proposals to improve transport services over the longer term and look forward to discussing their proposals with them in due course. Going forward, DfT officials will continue to engage with local stakeholders to ensure that we fully understand the challenges facing the islands well into the future.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of (1) the Apostleship of the Sea, (2) the Mission to Seafarers, and (3) other UK based maritime worker welfare charities.

The Department recognises the role charities can play in addressing the hardships currently impacting transport workers, however the DfT does not conduct assessment of any charities, including those in the maritime sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 20 July (HL6506), what is the median length of time that foreign national crew have spent stranded in UK ports; what is the cost of the repatriation programme; and whether they claim back the costs of repatriation from ship owners.

We do not have median figures. The Department began work on facilitating repatriation 90 days ago (as at 29 July). At that time there were 11,374 crew in the UK. To date we have facilitated the repatriation of over 13,000 seafarers and there are currently 4,258 awaiting repatriation.

Many vessels arriving in the UK are able to repatriate large numbers of seafarers over the 2-3 days after arrival. However, for seafarers from certain countries the length of time in the UK will be longer due to restrictions in their own state.

It should also be noted that seafarers arriving in the UK may still be under their original contract and, outside the pandemic conditions, would not be due to be repatriated. The cost of repatriation is met by the shipping company and not by the Government.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of (1) vessels, and (2) crew members, registered abroad, currently stranded in UK ports.

There are currently 4,028 Foreign National crew on board 25 cruise vessels that are not registered in the UK or within the wider Red Ensign Group. 1,250 of these crew require repatriation.

We have so far repatriated 7,752 Foreign National crew from cruise ships not registered with the UK or the wider Red Ensign Group.

We continue to work with the industry, unions and maritime charities to provide support and assistance to all seafarers in the UK.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Transport for London about (1) cleanliness, and (2) hygiene, on the services that organisation operates.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport have been meeting regularly with Transport for London (TfL) throughout the Covid-19 outbreak to discuss a wide range of topics, including cleanliness and hygiene on the London transport network.

TfL has introduced an enhanced cleaning regime to ensure that its network is as sterile as possible, including using hospital-grade cleaning substances and new anti-viral disinfectant that protects for up to 30 days. It has also installed hand sanitiser points for customer use across the network.

The Department is satisfied with the actions that TfL has taken and continues to take, to provide a safe transport network for those who need to use it.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) cleanliness, and (2) hygiene, on passenger trains in England.

We have been clear that our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We have issued comprehensive guidance to the public transport operators, including rail operators, on keeping trains clean and ensuring staff and passengers are able to maintain good hygiene.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to develop the (1) availability, and (2) regularity, of transport links between mainland UK and the Isles of Scilly.

On Friday 24 April, the Government announced up to £10.5 million for lifeline ferry and freight services to the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight as part of a multimillion pound support package to safeguard the transport links which provide essential lifeline services to the islands.

The Department is engaging with local stakeholders, including the local transport board, to maintain the transport links throughout this current period and beyond which are normally provided commercially by profit-making operators.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many passengers, and (2) what volume of cargo, travelled from (a) Tunisia to the UK, and (b) the UK to Tunisia, in each of the last five years.

The number of passengers and volume of freight carried by air and by sea between Tunisia and the UK directly in the last five years are given in the attached tables.

  1. There were no direct sea journeys carrying passengers to or from Tunisia from the UK in the past 5 years. Data on country of destination for indirect voyages (such as cruises) are not collected by the Department.

The latest year of data available, and is published on GOV.UK, is 2019 for air freight and passenger statistics and 2018 for port freight statistics. Statistics relate to direct freight and passenger journeys between the UK and Tunisia.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 28 January (HL412), whether they will now answer the question put, namely what provisions any such legislation will include to protect the rights of railway managers dealing with strike action.

The purpose of Minimum Service Level legislation is to ensure that the right to take strike action is in future balanced with the rights of others who are disproportionately impacted by strikes. This would include the rights of rail managers.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 7 January (HL62), what assessment they have made of the impact of the South Western Railway strikes that began on 2 December 2019 on (1) schools, and (2) hospitals, in areas served by that franchise.

The Government is concerned with the impacts these strikes are having on business and the travelling public including those travelling to work, hospitals or places of education whether as workers, patients and students or as teachers or health workers. The Government will be undertaking detailed assessments in the process of preparing Minimum Service Level legislation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 7 January (HL62), what estimate they have made of the cost to the economy of the South Western Railway strikes which began on 2 December 2019.

As set out in our manifesto commitment, we are concerned about the impact of strike action on passengers and intend to implement Minimum Service Level legislation to ensure that the right to strike is in future balanced with the rights of passengers, who are being disproportionately adversely impacted by strikes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 7 January (HL63), when they intend to introduce legislation to guarantee that, in times of strike action on rail, a pre-agreed minimum level of train service is provided; and what provisions such legislation will include to protect the rights of railway managers.

It is the Government’s intention to introduce a Bill during this parliamentary session. The purpose of Minimum Service Level legislation is to ensure that the right to take strike action is in future balanced with the rights of passengers, who are being disproportionately impacted by strikes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) social, and (2) economic, effects of the South Western Railways strikes which began on 2 December.

The RMT’s decision to take industrial action is completely disproportionate. Every single train which did not run as a result of these totally unnecessary strikes affected thousands of passengers during an incredibly busy period for the railway. The impact is on not only commuters, but also on a whole range of people who rely on the railway – children travelling to school, outpatients travelling to hospital appointments and small businesses that count on the railway bringing in customers and suppliers.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban strikes on the railways.

The Government will introduce legislation to guarantee that, in times of strike action on rail, a pre-agreed minimum level of train services is provided. The purpose of this is to ensure that in future, the rights of those wishing to take strike action are balanced with the rights of those who need to travel and who rely upon the railway to go about their daily lives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take, if any, to encourage those beyond the state pension age to continue in paid employment if they wish to do so.

As people live longer healthier lives, many recognise the positive financial, health and social benefits of work, and are choosing to work beyond State Pension age. There are currently 1.3 million workers over State Pension age in employment. The Government is committed to enabling them to remain in, and progress in, work if they choose.

The extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer offers the opportunity for individuals of all ages to change or reduce their hours to accommodate other responsibilities, where the alternative would be to give up work altogether. This may be of particular interest to adults over State Pension age who would like to amend their working pattern.

We have appointed a Business Champion for Older Workers to engage and influence employers on the benefits of a mixed-age workforce both strategically and in terms of practical advice.

Government also recognises the importance of supporting adults to plan effectively for the future, including how to stay in work for longer. The mid-life MOT launched a webpage in 2019 which offers support to those considering whether they need to make a change in their work, health or finances in order to get the most out of work and retirement.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether there has been any inappropriate use of do not attempt resuscitation orders in (1) hospitals, and (2) care homes, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October 2020, the Department asked the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to review how Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions were used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they had been inappropriately applied. Interim findings were published on 3 December 2020, with a final report due shortly. The review will take a national view of how these decisions were made across all health and care settings and will inform national learning and good practice development.

27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the number of chaplains from all faith groups active in NHS hospitals since March 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested.

27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current arrangements for chaplains of all faith groups to visit residents in care homes.

In the face of a new variant of the virus we have acted to protect those most at risk in care homes and ensure visits can go ahead safely in some form. Visits to care homes can continue to take place with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods or behind windows.  Close-contact indoor visits are not currently allowed. However, visits in exceptional circumstances, including end of life, should always be supported and enabled.

27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of (1) doctors, and (2) other staff, being recruited into the prison medical service in meeting the needs of inmate health.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

There are currently 110 prisons in England for which NHS England commissions healthcare for. There is no mandated staffing level given to providers and contracts are awarded to those providers whose planned delivery model best fits with the need and outcomes required.

27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the work done by hospital chaplains in helping (1) the welfare, and (2) the recovery, of patients.

No formal assessment has taken place.

Chaplaincy and faith services are funded locally. The commissioning of local services is conducted by clinical commission groups responding to the needs of their individual patient populations and workforce, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the significant role chaplains and leaders of all faiths play in spiritual, emotional and psychological care and in the delivery of high-quality palliative and end of life care. This is recognised in clinical guides and for compassionate visiting arrangements.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of current levels of emergency hospital admissions related to self-harm in Somerset; and whether such levels are higher or lower than those for (1) South West England, and (2) England as a whole.

The information is not held in the format requested.

25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 29 January (HL525), what consideration they are giving to reducing the correlated colour temperature of LED lights in order to avoid any adverse affects on melatonin production in the evening.

Public Health England reviews the scientific literature and maintains regular contact with research groups studying the impact of light exposure on melatonin production. People who received normal levels of light exposure during the day, especially from daylight, appear to be less susceptible to delayed onset of melatonin production in the evening from artificial lighting. The scope to address various performance parameters of lighting sits with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of references to the replacement by some local authorities of sodium and mercury street lighting with LEDs contained in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2017, published on 2 March 2018.

Public Health England has not carried out an assessment of the replacement by some local authorities of sodium and mercury street lighting with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) since the publication of the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2017, on 2 March 2018.

Public Health England carried out a study in 2016 for Human responses to lighting based on LED lighting solutions: Commissioned by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Society of Light and Lighting. A copy of the report is attached. This study included an assessment of LED streetlights.

14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of relations between the UK and the Holy See.

The UK's relationship with the Holy See remains strong. The UK continues to work with the Holy See on a range of shared challenges, and we are proud of the global nature of our partnership. These priorities include addressing the scourge of modern slavery, seeking peaceful solutions to long running conflicts, and, particularly in view of the upcoming COP26 Conference in Glasgow, driving international collaboration to tackle the growing threat of climate change. On this issue, the UK is proud to be co-hosting the "Faith and Science: Toward COP26" event, alongside the Holy See and Italy, on 4 October - bringing together key religious figures from across the globe to build momentum towards November's summit. Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See discussed how the UK and the Holy See can further deepen our collaboration on these issues with His Holiness the Pope when he presented his credentials on 4 September and Minister Morton met key Holy See Ministers during her visit on 16 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of India about the death of Father Stan Swamy in custody whilst awaiting trial in that country.

I was greatly saddened to learn of Father Swamy's passing on July 5, aged 84. I raised Father Swamy's case with India's Foreign Secretary, Harsh Shringla, and India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy, on 15 March while in India. Most recently, I discussed Father Swamy's case with the Indian High Commissioner on 8 June.

We engage with India on a range of human rights matters and oppose discrimination against minorities because of religion, caste, or belief. The British High Commission in New Delhi and Deputy High Commission in Mumbai had been monitoring Father Swamy's case closely and will continue to monitor progress on the rights of Dalits and indigenous people in India.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India regularly meet representatives from minority communities and run projects promoting minority rights. Our project work has provided legal training for 2,000 Dalit women to combat violence against them. We also helped establish the first network of Dalit Women Human Rights Defenders who are trained as paralegals in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Furthermore, we engaged 365 state criminal justice system officials in case issues, training programmes, legal roundtables, and awareness raising programmes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of Turkey's expulsion of 60 Protestant and Evangelical Christians resident in Turkey, on security grounds.

We are aware of the issue of foreign Christians being denied permission to remain in or re-enter Turkey and have raised our concerns with the Turkish authorities. Decisions concerning immigration to Turkey are a matter for the Turkish authorities and we are unable to intervene or request information on individual cases. We will continue to monitor the situation and to encourage Turkey to safeguard freedom of religion and belief as enshrined in the Turkish constitution.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, since March 2016, what estimate they have made of how many British citizens have been expelled by the government of Turkey because of their religious belief, where the stated grounds for expulsion concern security.

We do not hold figures for the numbers involved. We would not usually become aware of such cases unless the individuals concerned approached our diplomatic missions in Turkey seeking consular assistance.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to alleviate famine in Yemen.

The UK will provide at least £87 million to Yemen over the course of our next financial year (2021/22), making us the 5th largest donor; with the UK contributing over £1 billion since the conflict began. Our funding will feed an additional 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month, support 400 healthcare clinics and provide clean water for 1.6 million people. We will also provide one-off cash support to 1.5m of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies.

An inclusive political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis. We fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to secure a lasting political settlement to the Yemen conflict. The Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa spoke with him on 1 March to discuss how the UK can best support the UN-led peace process.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the present security situation in Libya, and (2) the safety of UK citizens resident in that country.

We welcome recent positive developments and the commitment shown by Libyans to engage constructively in the UN-led political process. These include agreement on a ceasefire, a unified transitional executive, and a roadmap to elections in December 2021. The UK is actively engaged in international diplomatic efforts, in support of the UN, to help Libyans find a sustainable, inclusive political settlement for all Libyans.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against all travel to Libya. Consular support is not available from the British government from within Libya, as consular operations remain suspended. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/libya.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any of the (1) financial, and (2) advisory, aid assistance they give to (a) Morocco, (b) Algeria, and (c) Tunisia, is targeted at youth unemployment.

The UK does not provide budget support to Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia, but it does provide some Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding through trusted implementing partners. Much of this assistance is focussed on improving the economic conditions for job creation in the region, through facilitating greater exporting and inward investment (Tunisia), supporting public administration and state owned enterprise reform (Tunisia) and improving financial regulation and infrastructure (Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) to increase access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises.

In recent years the UK has also supported the formulation of Algeria's Vision 2035 for a prosperous economy and technical advice on aspects of Morocco's business environment. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact is currently undertaking a review of UK government work pertaining to youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa region, which is due to be published later in 2021.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the security issues in Tunisia, and (2) of the impact of that situation on (1) UK citizens resident there, and (2) the political stability of that country.

Tunisia continues to face security challenges, including from instability in Libya. The UK has a strong partnership with Tunisia on security issues. This has helped strengthen our response to the shared challenges of terrorism and extremism, reducing the threat to British nationals and Tunisians alike. The UK also works closely with Tunisia to support economic and political reform, strengthening Tunisia's democratic institutions, and helping build the country's resilience.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer bi-lateral (1) financial, and (2) advisory, assistance to Tunisia during 2021.

Tunisia continues to face security challenges, including from instability in Libya. The UK has a strong partnership with Tunisia on security issues. This has helped strengthen our response to the shared challenges of terrorism and extremism, reducing the threat to British nationals and Tunisians alike. The UK also works closely with Tunisia to support economic and political reform, strengthening Tunisia's democratic institutions, and helping build the country's resilience.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the government of Turkey's deployment of naval vessels to explore natural gas fields near Greece on peace in the eastern Mediterranean.

We welcome the positive decision by Turkey on 22 December to remove its seismic survey vessel from waters that are contested by Greece. We also note that Turkey and Greece will restart bilateral exploratory talks on 25 January to seek a resolution to tensions in the Aegean. This should help bring greater stability and prosperity to the Eastern Mediterranean. The UK will continue to work with all parties in support of de-escalation of tensions and dialogue. The Prime Minister raised this with Turkish President Erdoğan on 28 September and Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis on 20 October. The Foreign Secretary discussed this issue with Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu on 19 October and 19 November; and with Greek Foreign Minister Dendias on 24 November.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which Jewish and Christian UK citizens resident in Turkey are free to practise their religion.

Under the Turkish Constitution freedom of religion or belief is protected by law, regardless of the nationality of the individual. We expect Turkey to safeguard the human rights, including that of freedom of religion, of all inhabitants of Turkey, be they Turkish citizens or citizens of other nationalities. The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton MP, raised human rights with her Turkish counterpart on 16 December 2020. FCDO officials in Turkey will continue to engage fully with the Christian and Jewish communities, as well as with all other minorities within Turkey. The British Embassy liaises closely with likeminded foreign missions on human rights issues, including freedom of religion and belief and we regularly raise these issues with the Turkish authorities, both bilaterally and alongside other diplomatic partners.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their (1) political, and (2) economic, links with the government of Turkey.

Turkey is a strategic partner and key NATO Ally that sits on the frontline of some of the most difficult and serious security and humanitarian challenges we face. The UK will continue to work closely with Turkey on challenges to our peace and security, and on strengthening our trading relationship (which was worth £18.9bn in 2019) following agreement of a Free Trade Agreement in December 2020.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why Pakistan is the largest recipient of bilateral country specific official development assistance.

Helping to ensure a prosperous and stable Pakistan is critical for the future of millions of Pakistanis, and the stability and security of the region as well as the UK.

Pakistan remains significantly off track to attain many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Over a third of Pakistan's population (over 80 million people) lives in poverty. One in fourteen children dies before their fifth birthday, and 8,300 women die in childbirth every year. Food insecurity has increased over time, with four in ten children under five chronically undernourished (stunted) and 2% acutely malnourished (wasted). Pakistan ranks 5th on the list of 10 countries most vulnerable to natural disasters with more than 130 million people at risk. Across Pakistan, there are currently 6.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Since 2011, UK aid has benefited more than 10 million children in primary school education, reached over 1.7 million new family planning users and prevented 4,900 maternal deaths, over 3.49 million unwanted pregnancies, and 490,000 unsafe abortions.

Future assistance for Pakistan in 2021 and beyond will be reviewed against the priorities set out by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary in his statement to the House of Commons on 25 November 2020.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister plans to raise the case of Maira Shabbaz with the Prime Minister of Pakistan; and if not, why not.

The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. Our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, women and girls' rights and gender equality are regularly raised with the Government of Pakistan. We are closely monitoring the case of Maira Shahbaz and engaging appropriately with the Government of Pakistan at Ministerial and senior official levels. Most recently, on 16 November, I raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari. In addition, also on 16 November, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner CMG, raised our concerns about Maira Shahbaz's case with the Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, in Pakistan.

Pakistan remains an FCDO Human Rights Priority Country. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Pakistan, including restrictions on the freedom of expression and reports of discrimination and violence against religious minorities. The UK also remains committed to our longstanding opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We regularly raise human rights as a concern in our dialogue with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level. Most recently, I raised our concerns about human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 16 November. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the assistance they could provide to Maira Shabbaz.

We are closely monitoring developments in the case of Maira Shahbaz. On 16 November, I raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari. Also on 16 November, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner CMG, raised our concerns about the case of Maira Shahbaz with the Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar. As you will understand, we cannot comment further on individual cases.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last assessed the efficacy of UK aid to Pakistan.

All our programmes in Pakistan are reviewed annually and given a performance score. These reviews show that FCDO is achieving the majority of programme outputs across our portfolio. It is mandatory for all of programmes to have robust monitoring arrangements in place, to inform timely decision making, learn lessons, and ensure accountability for achieving results and correct use of funds.

Since 2011, UK aid in Pakistan has benefited more than 10 million children in primary school education; provided training in new skills for almost 300,000 people (of which 39% are women); and helped 6.6 million people (53% women) access loans. Since 2011, UK support has also reached over 1.7 million new family planning users and prevented 4,900 maternal deaths, over 3.49 million unwanted pregnancies, and 490,000 unsafe abortions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have identified any misuse of UK aid in Pakistan in the last five years; if so, what; and whether they are currently investigating any allegations that they have received from third parties of the misuse of such aid.

All our programmes have systems in place to detect misuse of aid, including active risk management and assessment of the programme delivery chain. The FCDO undertakes Due Diligence and Fiduciary risk assessments for potential partners. A financial audit is conducted annually for implementing partners. A portfolio risk assurance programme conducts in depth reviews of our implementing partners to provide extra assurance. Where cases are detected, officials ensure that a full investigation is carried out, and that action is taken to recover funding and prevent future problems. We are unable to comment on individual cases, however in the last 3 years the FCDO has overhauled its approach to fraud prevention, detection, and recovery of taxpayers' money. We expect all implementing partners to have the same zero tolerance approach to fraud that we have if they are to receive taxpayers' money.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current health situation in Yemen; and how much (1) aid, and (2) medical supplies, they intend to provide to that country in the current financial year.

The UK Government is extremely concerned by the current capacity of the healthcare system in Yemen, with less than half of Yemen's health facilities functioning and almost 20 million people lacking access to basic healthcare.

This situation is being exacerbated by a major outbreak of COVID-19, with UK modelling showing that a worst-case scenario could result in up to 85,000 deaths.

In response, through our funding this year we expect to provide over 600,000 medical consultations, train 15,000 healthcare workers to work safely in COVID-19 environments and provide much-needed medical supplies to 600 health centres so that they can continue to deliver existing health services.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 15 May (HL3800), whether they will set out the practical and financial assistance given by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in the current year to (1) Tunisia, (2) Algeria, and (3) Morocco; and whether they expect this to decrease or increase in the coming year for each of those countries.

Final Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) allocations for the current year (2020-21) are being reviewed in light of Covid-19. CSSF teams are taking steps to ensure existing programmes consider the implications of Covid-19 and they are also working on some new programming to support Covid-19 response, including in the Maghreb region. The UK continues to support the North Africa region through the CSSF, supporting the delivery of greater security and resilience; promoting a more inclusive political dialogue; and boosting economic development. In Tunisia the CSSF is supporting projects that include counter-terrorism capacity building, countering violent extremism, border security, economic and public sector reform, education and transparency and anti-corruption. In Algeria the CSSF is tackling areas including economic development and education reform and in Morocco the focus of the CSSF includes strengthening governance, education, and economic development.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects on UK–EU relations of the decision taken on 5 May by the German Constitutional Court that the European Central Bank’s mass bond buying partly violates the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.

The decision taken by the Federal Constitutional Court is a matter for Germany, the European Central Bank and the EU. Negotiations between the UK and EU over our future relationship are ongoing: the third round of negotiations is taking place this week. The UK remains committed to a relationship with our European friends inspired by our shared history and values.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the religious freedoms of British (1) Jews, and (2) Christians, who are resident in Turkey.

The Turkish constitution provides for freedom of conscience and religion, regardless of an individual's citizenship. We regularly discuss these issues and will continue to engage the Turkish Government at all levels to urge respect for Freedom of Religion or Belief, which are essential to the long-term health of Turkish democracy. Defending persecuted Christians, and persecuted individuals of all faiths or beliefs, remains a long-standing priority for the British Government.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of current (1) terrorist, and (2) other security, threats in (1) Libya, (2) Tunisia, (3) Algeria, and (4) Morocco.

We continue to monitor terrorist and security threats, especially to UK interests, across North Africa. We are deeply concerned by the continuing conflict in Libya, which has an impact beyond Libya's borders. We continue to urge all Libyan parties to observe a ceasefire and return to UN-led political talks. We work closely with the governments of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco to promote an end to the fighting in Libya and the wider security and development of the region. UK programming, through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, supports these aims.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the present state of relations between the UK and Tunisia.

​The UK and Tunisia have a strong relationship. The signing of the UK-Tunisia Association Agreement on 4 October, and the UK-Tunisia Investment Forum on 22 October 2019 are recent highlights of our growing bilateral co-operation. We are committed to supporting Tunisia’s political and economic reform, including through a programme of assistance worth over £12 million in 2019-2020. ​We look forward to working with the new Tunisian Government when it is formed and welcome Tunisia’s participation in the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on 20 January.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to communicate to the taxpayer the economic costs of public sector pensions.

Public service pensions are a crucial part of the total remuneration package for public sector workers, this includes the current OBR estimate of a £1.9 bn Exchequer top-up payment for 2020-21 and £1.89 tn in liabilities. The Government pays close attention to the cost of public service pensions to the taxpayer, forecasts of which are regularly published by the OBR on a cashflow basis in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook[1] and Fiscal Sustainability Report[2]. Information on long-term public service pension liabilities can be found in the Whole of Government Accounts[3].

[1] https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2021/

[2] https://obr.uk/fsr/fiscal-sustainability-report-july-2018/

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/whole-of-government-accounts-2018-2019

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise the issue of debt relief for the world's poorest nations during any forthcoming meetings of the G20.

HM Government is concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the debt vulnerabilities low-income developing countries, which were already at worrying levels before the crisis.

While the UK cancelled most of our low-income developing country debt under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the Chancellor joined his G20 counterparts to commit to a temporary suspension on debt service repayments from the 77 poorest countries under the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI). Through the DSSI, official creditors will provide up to US$12bn of cash flow relief to help countries respond to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Chancellor raised the DSSI with his G20 counterparts this month to ensure full and transparent implementation and to announce a UK contribution to the African Legal Service Facility to empower borrowers to engage with their commercial creditors. The DSSI provides the breathing room for countries to respond to the crisis and for the international community to determine what further support may needed for countries on a case-by-case basis. If debts do require restructuring, the UK will work with the Paris Club of official creditors, IMF, and WBG to support equitable debt reductions and long-term sustainable growth.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic resilience of the Isles of Scilly.

We recognise that every region and community, including the Isles of Scilly, will be feeling the impacts of this crisis and we are working to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on local communities across the United Kingdom.

The Government has provided an unprecedented national package of support; supporting businesses, protecting jobs, and providing our public services with the resources they need to cope with the current economic emergency. These measures are helping the most vulnerable people and business across all parts of the country.

We are working closely with local areas to make sure that individuals and businesses in all regions are directed to the right support during this difficult period.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of attacks by dogs on children and adults reported in each of the last five years in England; and how many dogs were ordered to be humanely destroyed in each of those years.

The Home Office collects data from police forces in England and Wales on the number of offences recorded by the police where an owner, or person in charge, allowed a dog to be dangerously out of control, injuring any person or assistance dog. Data for those forces in England able to supply data can be found below, for the most recent five years where full data is held (2015-2019).

Year

Number of offences*

2015

9729

2016

12406

2017

13675

2018

13808

2019

14478

*Excludes Humberside, Kent, Greater Manchester, and Wiltshire Police. The data has not been subject to the same level of quality assurance checks as data published by the Home Office.

The Home Office does not collect data on the number of dogs which were ordered to be humanely destroyed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether specific training is given to Metropolitan Police Officers on procedures to be followed (1) before, and (2) upon entering, public places of worship.

The Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for the training of individual officers. The Home Office does not hold this information.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all applicants to police forces in England undergo (1) psychological, and (2) behavioural, assessment as part of the recruitment process; and if not, why not.

The standards, assessment and selection framework for police recruitment are managed by the College of Policing. Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for local recruitment into forces and are supported by this national framework and guidance. All forces are currently using the College Online Assessment Centre as part of the recruitment process which has been designed to maintain the same high standards as set by the College of Policing. Candidates are required to pass each stage of the recruitment process and this includes the assessment centre, vetting, medical assessment and fitness.

All new recruits are subject to a rigorous vetting and assessment process to assess suitability for the role of police officer, including testing against core behaviours and values. This does not currently include psychological assessment as standard and it would be for the College of Policing to assess if additional elements of assessment are required. Following national assessment, some forces may choose to run additional assessments locally to further refine the field of candidates.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the response by different faith groups in England and Wales to historic cases of child abuse.

In 2015, the Government set up the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to consider the extent to which institutions in England and Wales have failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. The Inquiry operates independently of Government and decides for itself what it investigates and how. As part of its work programme, the Inquiry held three investigations into child sexual abuse in religious institutions:

The Inquiry held an investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church in England and the Church in Wales. The investigation considered the adequacy of the Past Cases Review of the Church of England and the Historic Cases Review of the Church in Wales. It considered two case studies: The Diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse, and numerous investigations and reviews; and the case of Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes and subsequently Bishop of Gloucester. This investigation is now complete and a report setting out the Inquiry’s findings was published in October 2020, and can be found here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/publications/investigation/anglican-church

Separately, the Inquiry investigated the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Inquiry examined the English Benedictine Congregation and the Archdiocese of Birmingham, which have been the subject of numerous allegations of child sexual abuse. This investigation is now complete and a report with the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations was published in November 2020, and can be found here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/publications/investigation/roman-catholic-church

More recently, the Inquiry investigated the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions that have a significant presence in England and Wales, including non-conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The public hearing into this investigation concluded in August 2020. An investigation report will be published in summer 2021, and more details can be found here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/investigation/child-protection-religious-organisations-and-settings

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the numbers of illegal immigrants living in (1) England, (2) Northern Ireland, (3) Scotland, and (4) Wales.

By its very nature, it is not possible to know the exact size of the illegal population and so we do not seek to make any official estimates.

The Government is focused on making it harder for people to enter and live in the UK illegally, whilst ensuring those who have the right to reside in the UK can do so. Exit checks introduced in April 2015 will, over time provide more detailed insights into the behaviour of migrants and how they comply with the restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK, but the data obtained does not provide the total number of illegal migrants currently in the UK. In June 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a note on measuring illegal migration.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/articles/measuringillegalmigrationourcurrentview/2019-06-21

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a national memorial to the 395 National Servicemen who were killed in action between 1945 and 1963; and, if not, whether there are plans to establish one.

There is a National Service Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, which recognises the contribution of those who did National Service from 1945 to 1963. In addition, the names of those personnel who were killed in action on National Service between 1948 and 1963 are listed on the Armed Forces Memorial, also at the Arboretum. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorate war dead prior to 1948.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on their relations with the government of Qatar of the presence of a Turkish military base in Qatar; and whether UK armed forces undertake any activity with the Turkish military stationed in Qatar.

The UK and Qatar share an enduring defence partnership, most notably through a joint Typhoon squadron. The UK and Turkey also have a longstanding and strong bilateral defence relationship. We look forward to continued collaboration with all our friends in the Gulf to strengthen our shared security interests. UK Armed Forces do not undertake activity with the Turkish military stationed in Qatar.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of the night lighting specified in newbuild housing on (1) greenfield, and (2) brownfield, developments to preserve dark skies.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that planning policies and decisions should limit the impact of light pollution on local amenity, dark landscapes and nature conservation, including where there may be impacts on wildlife and ecosystems. This should be considered by local authorities when they are assessing proposals for new housing on both greenfield and brownfield sites.

The Framework is supported by guidance that emphasises the importance of getting the right light in the right place at the right time and helps local planners and developers to design in ways of avoiding glare and intrusion. The guidance also encourages local planning authorities to engage with all relevant bodies and interested parties who may feel affected by a particular development proposal.

Additionally, the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan includes a commitment to cut all forms of pollution and ease the pressure on the environment, including ensuring that light pollution is managed effectively.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many planning applications for the construction of new homes in England have been granted over the last 10 years; and how many of these applications have yet to commence building.

In the 10 years to December 2020, 434,600 planning applications for dwellings have been granted (excluding those granted under permitted development rights), of which 55,400 were major applications and 379,200 were minor applications (source: Live tables on planning application statistics: District planning application statistics (PS2)).

We do not hold information on the number of applications that have been granted and are yet to commence building.

For more information on planning application statistics, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planning-applications-statistics.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of xenophobic acts against Polish citizens resident in England.

We are clear that all forms of hatred, including that based on race, are unacceptable and will be tackled. We have a strong legal framework in place to deal with the perpetrators of hate crime, and we have asked the Law Commission to undertake a full review of the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislative provisions, which will further strengthen this.

The Government is now considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the current hate crime action plan. We will work with other departments and civil society partners to explore possible approaches, and to ensure a range of views from communities, including Polish, are taken into consideration.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was also launched to conduct a detailed, data-led examination of inequality across the entire population, and to set out a positive agenda for change. The Government will now consider the recommendations in detail and will respond before the summer.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the announcement by South Somerset District Council that it intends to develop a battery farm in Fareham, Hampshire with its joint venture partner Opium Power, whether there is any precedent of an English local authority investing in another local authority.

Local authorities borrow and invest under the Prudential Framework. It is a permissive system that gives local authorities wide freedoms to borrow and invest, and determine their own capital strategies, provided they stay within the legal bounds of the Framework and have regard to the statutory guidance. Local authorities remain accountable to their electorate for their investment decisions.

Government and CIPFA are clear that borrowing to invest for yield is not complaint with the objectives of the Framework. This is consistent with reforms HMT have put in place over the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), which prevent councils planning to invest primarily for income from borrowing from the PWLB. There is no specific restriction on where local authorities can invest, but councils investing outside their area will need to ensure they are compliant with the Framework.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what algorithmic modelling they have used to identify and plan for (1) the location, and (2) the number, of new homes to be built in England; and whether they will publish the outputs of this modelling.

The consultation on changes to the current planning system sought views on changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need (“the standard method”). Alongside a worked example of the proposed formula, it sets out the elements we want to balance when determining local housing need, including meeting our target of building 300,000 homes, tackling affordability challenges in the places people most want to live and renewing and levelling up our towns and cities.

Having consulted on each element of the indicative formula, the Government is now reflecting on the feedback. The Government response to the consultation will follow in due course.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there has been (1) an increase, or (2) a decrease, in the cutting of roadside verges and hedges by English local authorities since January.

The department does not collect data on the cutting of roadside hedges and verges by local authorities. Individual local authorities should be contacted to ascertain any change in activity.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce more elected mayors for local authorities in England; and if not, why not.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government wants to see more mayors with more powers, and has successfully concluded negotiations with West Yorkshire for a devolution deal involving electing a new mayor in May 2021. The Government intends to set out its future plans for devolution, including future governance arrangements, in a White Paper later this year and intends to work with areas at pace to deliver these plans.

It is for local areas to decide what governance arrangements would be of most benefit and value to their local communities. As set out in answer to a question (HL17399, answered on 23 July 2019) from the Noble Lord, Lord Grocott, as the effectiveness of local government is dependent on many factors, not simply the governance arrangements, the only assessment undertaken by Government of governance models has been to focus on what different models can deliver; it has concluded that only the mayoral model provides that single point of accountability necessary if significant powers and budgets are to be devolved to an area.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the right of Turkish citizens resident in the UK to freedom of religious worship.

Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, and equal rights define us as a society.?The Government is determined to promote these values, working in partnership alongside all our faith communities.

Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right, and one which underpins many of the others.?Where freedom of religion or belief is under attack, often other freedoms are under attack too.? It is important that everyone has the right to speak freely, and our strong legal framework provides the appropriate space to do so.

Britain has a proud tradition of religious tolerance, within the law. The Government is committed to creating a society in which all people are free to express their religious identity and live without fear of harassment and crime because of it.

The Government is committed to ensuring that people are protected against discrimination because of religion or belief, and that they?are able to?exercise the right to hold and manifest their beliefs in a reasonable manner.

The Government will always protect people’s legitimate rights – for example, to free speech and to practise their religion within the law. The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental value of our democracy. It is protected by Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporated into British law the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of local authorities in England that (1) have elected mayors, and (2) do not have elected mayors.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government wants to see more mayors with more powers, and has successfully concluded negotiations with West Yorkshire for a devolution deal involving electing a new mayor in May 2021. The Government intends to set out its future plans for devolution, including future governance arrangements, in a White Paper later this year and intends to work with areas at pace to deliver these plans.

It is for local areas to decide what governance arrangements would be of most benefit and value to their local communities. As set out in answer to a question (HL17399, answered on 23 July 2019) from the Noble Lord, Lord Grocott, as the effectiveness of local government is dependent on many factors, not simply the governance arrangements, the only assessment undertaken by Government of governance models has been to focus on what different models can deliver; it has concluded that only the mayoral model provides that single point of accountability necessary if significant powers and budgets are to be devolved to an area.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 27 January (HL411), whether local authorities, when considering building developments of all kinds, are required to conduct a full appraisal, including of the environmental impact, before any lighting project is commissioned.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that local planning policies and decisions should limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light. The Framework is supported by our planning guidance, revised in November last year, which sets out how environmental and other impacts of light pollution should be considered in the planning system. Local planning authorities must take the Framework into account when preparing their plans and its policies - including those on light pollution - also need to be considered in making individual planning decisions.

Light must also be considered for the relatively small number of developments that fall under the category of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development. Under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, developments which, due to their nature, size or location are likely to have significant effects on the environment must be subject to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process before planning permission can be granted. Screening is used to determine whether a proposed project is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for local authorities to be given the power to refuse planning permission for new building on greenfield sites until all brownfield sites have been developed.

In our revised National Planning Policy Framework we make clear that local authorities should prioritise brownfield land for development, especially for housing to meet local need. This is especially the case where they may be considering the release of Green Belt land, which should only occur once all other options, including the use of brownfield sites, have been fully explored. The brownfield registers of local authorities identify an estimated 26,000 hectares of brownfield with potential for around a million new homes. The question of whether to refuse an application affecting greenfield land must continue to depend, rightly, on the local authority’s planning policies and all other considerations relevant to that particular case, including the protections set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 January (HL67), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what assessment they have made of the case for ensuring that flood proofing is included in the designs for new domestic and commercial buildings.

No assessment has been made as development proposals can already be required to include flood proofing measures where the site is at potential risk of flooding. National planning policy is clear that inappropriate development in areas at current or future risk of flooding should be avoided, directing development away from areas at highest risk. Where development is necessary in such areas, and where there are no suitable sites available in areas with a lower risk of flooding, it should be made safe without increasing flood risk elsewhere and be appropriately flood resilient and resistant.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 January (HL65), how many Tree Preservation Orders there are in England; and whether they expect that number to increase between 2020 and 2025.

Information on the number of Tree Preservation Orders is not collected or held centrally, and it would be an unreliable indicator of the state of the nation’s trees. This Government is, however, encouraging new tree planting on a massive scale, and expects every local authority to be mindful of the benefits of tree cover to the environment, to place-making, and to physical and mental health, whether or not a particular tree or group of trees requires special protection on amenity grounds.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all local authority planning departments are required to employ or use landscape architects when assessing new housing or commercial developments that are proposed; and if not, whether they intend to require such architects to be used.

There is no requirement, or intention to require local planning authorities to employ or use landscape architects when assessing new development. It is for local planning authorities to decide whether this resource is required.

However, the National Planning Policy Framework does require local planning authorities to ensure they have appropriate tools and processes for assessing and improving the design of development, including access to the right skills.

We will be publishing a Planning White Paper in due course which will include measures to support resourcing and skills deficits.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for ensuring that flood proofing is included in the designs for new domestic and commercial buildings.

The Government’s National Design Guide makes clear that well-designed places should identify measures for flood alleviation and climate change adaption from the outset of the process. National planning policy is also clear that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided. Where development is necessary, it should be made safe and resilient – and without increasing flood risk elsewhere.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take, and intend to take, to encourage private housebuilders to preserve existing trees and plants in English cities during construction.

National planning policy makes clear that development should minimise its impacts on, and seek net gains for, biodiversity, including trees. Local authorities should impose Tree Preservation Orders on trees of special value, and use planning conditions to ensure that valued trees are not harmed by construction. The Environment Bill will give communities a greater say in the retention of local trees; empower local authorities to make net gain for biodiversity mandatory in certain circumstances; and give new impetus to the provision of trees, green space and other green infrastructure in our cities.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why prisoners seeking higher education in prison must be within six years of their release date.

The six-year rule relates to eligibility of prisoners for student loans and is required by the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 (“the 2011 Regulations”). The rationale for this regulation is that prisoners studying an undergraduate degree in prison would take six years to complete on a part-time basis. Prisoners who wish to complete an undergraduate degree must self-fund if they have more than six years left on their sentence. Prisoners can also apply to the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) to fund Open Universityaccess to higher education’ courses.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners are currently enrolled in higher education.

We do not hold information centrally on the number of prisoners currently enrolled in higher education. However, the Open University reports that around 1295 prisoners were registered for Open University courses in England in 2020/21.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the effect on re-offending rates of prisoners participating in higher education while serving their sentences.

The Ministry of Justice has enabled the Open University and the Prisoners’ Education Trust to use The Justice Data Lab to explore the rates of reoffending for prisoners participating in higher education. The Justice Data Lab provides group-level reoffending information to organisations who have worked with offenders and would like to understand the impact of their intervention.

The Justice Data Lab Analysis (2019) reports that 14% of people who studied for an OU degree committed a proven reoffence within one year, compared to 18% who did not.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the mental health of the prisoners serving an imprisonment for public protection sentence who continue to be detained 10 years or more beyond their tariff.

The Government recognises that those serving indeterminate sentences (life and imprisonment for public protection (IPP)) face particular challenges in maintaining their emotional wellbeing, especially during the restrictions imposed on account of the COVID pandemic. The guidance and training produced by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) directs the attention of prison staff to the needs of indeterminate sentence prisoners. HMPPS allocates a key worker to all such prisoners and also makes available to them peer supporters such as Samaritans-trained Listeners.

The unreleased IPP prisoner population is continuing to reduce, year on year; it stood at 1,849 on 31 December 2020, down from 2,134 on 31 December 2019. The majority of IPP prisoners continue to have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. In 2019/20 72% of Parole Board hearings resulted in either a recommendation for a progressive transfer to an open prison or release.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public; however, HMPPS remains committed to supporting prisoners serving an IPP to reduce their risk to the level where the Parole Board determines that they may be supervised effectively on licence in the community.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the work in prisons carried out by chaplains of all faith groups.

Chaplains of all faiths and belief systems play a central role in supporting prisoners during the pandemic. They have continued to visit prisoners on a one-to-one basis providing pastoral care, spiritual support and resources for worship. Chaplains see new receptions, visit those in segregation and speak to men and women prior to release. They have also continued to provide one-to-one support including compassionate contact with families.

The hard work and dedication of chaplains was recently reflected in the Butler Trust Awards and is widely acknowledged in the annual reports of Independent Monitoring Boards from across the custodial estate and by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Department has the overall responsibility for policy to ensure that young people without capacity can access child trust funds after reaching 18 years of age.

Her Majesty’s Treasury is responsible for the policy for Child Trust Funds, including the fact that they can be accessed when a child reaches 18 years of age. However, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which governs the processes around how to obtain the legal authority to manage the finances of people who lack the mental capacity do so for themselves, is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice.

Consequently, policy surrounding access to Child Trust Funds of young people that lack mental capacity is ultimately the remit of the Ministry of Justice.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of young people who do not have the required mental capacity to make the decision to access a Child Trust Fund at the age of 18; and what steps they are taking to ensure that such young people do have access to those funds.

We do not have figures to show what proportion of young people who wish to access a Child Trust Fund at age 18 may lack the mental capacity to make financial decisions.

While the parents (or a guardian) of children with disabilities can make decisions on their child’s behalf, once their child turns 18 this situation changes. In order for the parents of adult children to make decisions on their behalf, including in relation to their financial affairs, they must be granted legal powers to do so, either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by authorisation from the Court of Protection - the specialist court that deals with issues concerning a lack of capacity.

We are working with financial institutions to ensure that the parents of young people who do not have the required mental capacity to make the decision to access a Child Trust Fund at age 18 receive advance information about Lasting Powers of Attorney and the possible need to make an application to the Court of Protection, so that the necessary legal powers to access the accounts are obtained in advance of the Child Trust Fund maturing.

Fees are payable to register Lasting Powers of Attorney and for applications to the Court. We recognise that these fees may be difficult for some people to afford. Help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees, Court of Protection fees and deputy supervision fees is available, depending upon the financial circumstances of the person who lacks mental capacity, and in some cases a full fee exemption may be available.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the interactions between the (1) legal, and (2) judicial systems, in the UK and Poland.

The interaction between the Polish and UK legal systems is conducted within a framework of international law and practical cooperation.

The UK Government has not held any assessment of the interactions between judicial systems in the UK and Poland. The separation of powers doctrine underpins the UK’s constitutional framework. The UK Government upholds the fundamental tenet of judicial independence. Judges are free to engage with other judiciaries independently without interference or oversight from the Executive. Any oversight of such activities would be for the Lord Chief Justice.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the interactions between the (1) legal, and (2) judicial systems, in the UK and Hungary.

The interaction between the Hungarian and UK legal systems is conducted within a framework of international law and practical cooperation.

The UK Government has not held any assessment of the interactions between judicial systems in the UK and Hungary. The separation of powers doctrine underpins the UK’s constitutional framework. The UK Government upholds the fundamental tenet of judicial independence. Judges are free to engage with other judiciaries independently without interference or oversight from the Executive. Any oversight of such activities would be for the Lord Chief Justice.

25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many judicial reviews were conducted in England and Wales in each year from 1990 to 2019.

The table sets out the number of judicial reviews that were conducted in the High Court (Administrative Court) of England and Wales each year between 1999- Q3 2019. These are substantive hearings, and not applications for permission to apply for judicial review. They include all outcomes, including the substantive decision of ‘withdraw’. Unfortunately, statistics from before this time were unobtainable in the time available. Data for Q4 2019 is due to be published on 5th March 2020.

The table also includes the number of judicial review disposals in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum) Chamber from 2013 (when cases started to be heard there) and until Q3 2019. Importantly, this statistic includes all applications for permission to apply for judicial review, and not just the substantive hearings in stark contrast to the above number quoted for the Administrative Court, which only accounts for substantive hearings. The figures cannot be broken down into hearings conducted in the time available.

Year

Judicial review in the High Court (Administrative Court)

Judicial reviews in the UTIAC (Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

Substantive cases heard

Disposals (inc.applications rejected)

1999

1,117

2000

1,207

2001

729

2002

420

2003

420

2004

334

2005

392

2006

461

2007

421

2008

419

2009

488

2010

477

2011

485

2012

541

2013

546

329

2014

392

12,708

2015

374

18,788

2016

331

15,012

2017

315

11,488

2018

219

9,971

2019 Q1-Q3

57

6,529

TOTAL

10,145

74,825