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Written Question
Plastics: Pollution
Tuesday 20th February 2024

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle pre-production plastic pellet, nurdle, pollution in the marine environment.

Answered by Robbie Moore - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Tackling marine plastic pollution in all its forms is a priority for the UK Government, and we’re taking action domestically, regionally and internationally to address this issue.

Our statutory UK Marine Strategy sets out a vision for UK waters to achieve clean, safe, healthy biologically diverse and productive seas, which are used sustainably. The UK Marine Strategy Part One set out our aim for the amount of litter on coastlines and in the marine environment to be declining over time and for levels to not pose a significant risk to the coastal and marine environment.

In 2019, the British Irish Council Ministers recognised the need to address the loss of plastic pellets and supported the development of a Publicly Available Specification developed by the British Standards Institution. This Specification sets out requirements for the handling and management of plastic pellets, flakes and powders throughout the supply chain to prevent spills, leaks and loss to the environment, and was the first of its kind when published in July 2021. Details can be found on the BSI website: PAS 510:2021 | 31 Jul 2021 | BSI Knowledge (bsigroup.com).

As a Contracting Party to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, the UK develops and implements actions under the OSPAR Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and has led an action on preventing plastic pellet loss in the supply chain. The action has resulted in the adoption of a Recommendation on minimum requirements for pellet loss certification schemes, to promote coherence in national approaches and drive improved standards throughout the supply chain.

The UK is a leading voice in the negotiation of a new international treaty on plastic pollution and has called for binding provisions to reduce and prevent microplastic pollution from all sources. In particular, the UK has called for specific provisions to prevent and eliminate emissions and releases of plastic pellets, flakes and powders across the whole supply chain.

Additionally, the UK is contributing to discussions at the International Maritime Organisation regarding requirements for the shipping of plastic pellets. Recommendations on the carriage of plastic pellets by sea in freight containers are under development and are expected to be approved this year. The UK is pushing for action to be taken as soon as possible to reduce the incidence of plastic pellet spills at sea.


Written Question
Plastics: Pollution
Tuesday 20th February 2024

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has made representations to the International Maritime Organisation on the potential merits of classifying pre-production plastic pellets, nurdles, as a hazardous shipment.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Yes, the Government has made representations to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the classification of plastic pellets as harmful substances.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which provides the UK’s representation to the IMO, has been actively involved in the discussions about, and development of, both voluntary and mandatory measures for the transport by sea of plastic pellets. The UK, in conjunction with a number of other IMO member states, has submitted a proposal to the IMO to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in order to identify plastic pellets as a harmful substance and to establish mandatory requirements for their transport by sea.


Written Question
Dental Services: South East
Monday 20th November 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if her Department will publish the projected spend in NHS England's dentistry budget for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Answered by Andrea Leadsom - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The information requested on projected spend in NHS England’s dentistry budget for Hampshire and Isle of Wight has not yet been validated.


Written Question
Dental Services: Training
Monday 10th July 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason NHS dentists are required to have an extra year of training compared to private dentists.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

To practice in the National Health Service, dental graduates must complete a further one year of training on a Dental Foundation Training scheme. This helps ensure that dentists have the necessary competences and meet the necessary standards to practice in the NHS


Written Question
Further Education: Teachers
Thursday 6th July 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing funding to help support the recruitment and retention of staff in further education colleges.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The department is making significant investments to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers. The Spending Review 2021 made an extra £1.6 billion available for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with 2021/22. We are investing £125 million of available funds in the 2023/24 financial year for 16-19 education to increase the national funding rate by 2.2% from £4,542 to £4,642, and boost specific programme cost weightings by 10%, to support the additional costs of recruiting and retaining teachers in construction, manufacturing, engineering, and digital subject areas.

The department is supporting teacher recruitment in the sector through a national campaign to encourage industry professionals to become further education (FE) teachers. We have supported the creation of new, high-quality routes into FE teaching, including a revised Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher apprenticeship for those planning to work in the FE sector. We are providing bursaries worth up to £29,000 each, tax free, to support FE teacher training in priority subject areas for the 2023/24 academic year.

Our Taking Teaching Further (TTF) programme has supported around 1,000 people to retrain as FE teachers since it launched in 2018. In addition, the department is piloting a new £6,000 financial incentive for TTF recruits teaching in some of the most hard-to-fill subject areas, including digital, construction and the built environment, engineering and manufacturing, and maths.


Written Question
Ukraine: International Red Cross and United Nations
Wednesday 28th June 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Russian counterparts on allowing the Red Cross and UN to have access to flooded areas in the Kherson region.

Answered by Leo Docherty - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam has had major humanitarian consequences for Ukrainian citizens living in the vicinity and beyond. The UK's humanitarian commitment to Ukraine and the region stands at £347 million, including £16 million pledged on 10 June to help aid partners such as the Ukraine Red Cross evacuate civilians affected by the flooding. Our aid partners stand ready to respond on the left bank in Russian-held territory, but Russia has not facilitated access or provided security guarantees. Without these, they cannot safely operate. We call all parties to respect International Humanitarian Law; giving aid workers rapid, unimpeded access and allowing vulnerable communities access to vital humanitarian assistance.


Written Question
Wagner Group
Thursday 8th June 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to designate the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.

Answered by Tom Tugendhat - Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Whilst the Government keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

The Government remains concerned about Russia's use of private military companies such as the Wagner Group. We take the provision of mercenaries and other military support to parties in conflicts such as Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere very seriously. We continue to work closely with our international partners to counter Russian malign activity and respond to actions that undermine the rules based international system.

Our package of sanctions in support of Ukraine targets those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes the Wagner Group and on 24 March 2022 the UK designated Wagner Group under our autonomous sanctions regime.


Written Question
Beavers: Conservation
Thursday 18th May 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the wild release of beavers on (a) local economies and (b) the environment.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

Any application for a licence to release beaver would need to make an assessment of the potential impact on the environment and local economic interests as part of the application process and in accordance with the Code for Reintroductions. Natural England undertook an assessment, published in 2021, of the findings from the River Otter trial in Devon, which is the only licenced wild release of beavers in England.

We are continuing to undertake further work with Natural England to develop our approach to the reintroduction of beaver in England.


Written Question
Wagner Group
Wednesday 17th May 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is taking steps to classify the Wagner group as a proscribed terrorist organisation.

Answered by Tom Tugendhat - Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Whilst the Government keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

The Government remains concerned about Russia's use of private military companies such as the Wagner Group. We take the provision of mercenaries and other military support to parties in conflicts such as Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere very seriously. We continue to work closely with our international partners to counter Russian malign activity and respond to actions that undermine the rules based international system.

Our package of sanctions in support of Ukraine targets those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes the Wagner Group and on 24 March 2022 the UK designated Wagner Group under our autonomous sanctions regime.


Written Question
Defence: Seas and Oceans
Thursday 27th April 2023

Asked by: Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)

Question to the Ministry of Defence:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Navy is taking to work with Joint Expeditionary Force partners and NATO to protect critical underwater cables and pipelines.

Answered by James Heappey - Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The Royal Navy routinely coordinate operations with Joint Expeditionary Force and NATO partners, recognising our shared interests in critical infrastructure and its protection.

The Government regards subsea cables and pipelines as critical to our national and international infrastructure and therefore monitors a variety of risks they face. Moreover, subsea internet cables are specifically considered within the UK's National Risk Assessment. Detailing security arrangements made to protect such cables and pipelines from sabotage would be likely to prejudice the purpose of safeguarding their security, and with it, national security.