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Written Question
Natural Gas
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Climate Change Committee’s 2021 Progress Report to Parliament, if he will make it his policy ahead of COP26 to commit to phasing out unabated gas generation by 2035.

Answered by Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Following the Climate Change Committee’s advised budget level does not mean that government is agreeing to their specific policy recommendations. We will bring forward our own policies to meet carbon budgets, and the Net Zero Strategy (to be published before COP26) will set out our own vision for transitioning to a net zero economy.

As we transition to net zero emissions by 2050, our record levels of investment in renewables will meet a large part of the increasing electricity demand, alongside technologies such as storage, demand side response, interconnection, CCUS-enabled generation and low carbon hydrogen. However, unabated natural gas generation will continue to provide a critical source of firm and dispatchable electricity, ensuring security of supply whilst we develop and deploy low carbon alternatives that can replicate its role in the electricity system.


Written Question
Eswatini: Demonstrations
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) King Mswati III and (b) the Government of Eswatini on (i) the death of Thabani Nkomonye in May 2020, (ii) reports that pro-democracy protests that have taken place since Mr Nkomonye's death have been met with violent retaliation by the Eswatini authorities, (iii) evidence from Amnesty International of violent retaliation by state security forces and (iv) the telecommunications ban in place since the start of the protests; and if he will call on the Eswatini authorities to (1) carry out an investigation into reports of use of excessive force, (2) investigate and conduct fair trials of anyone suspected to be responsible and (3) uphold human rights; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by James Duddridge

The UK is deeply concerned by the recent violent confrontations and civil unrest in Eswatini and we continue to monitor developments closely. Alongside the EU and US, the UK has made it absolutely clear to the Government of Eswatini that it must exercise restraint and respect the human rights of its people, including their right to peaceful protest, and called for all alleged incidents of police brutality and mishandling to be investigated. At the same time, the UK and our partners have stressed that protestors must voice their concerns via non-violent means, and desist from looting or the destruction of private property. The UK, welcomes the calling of a Sibaya which allows HM King Mswati III to address his people and presents an initial opportunity for citizens to express their views.


Written Question
Gas Fired Power Stations: Overseas Aid
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which overseas gas power-related projects have received commitments of funding from the public purse since 12 December 2020.

Answered by James Duddridge

There have been no new commitments to provide public funding for overseas gas power-related projects since 12 December 2020.

However, UK Export Finance have continued to provide support for the fourth phase of General Electric's ongoing "Power Up Program" in Iraq. This includes providing essential maintenance, parts and services to improve efficiency and safety for various power stations. This is in line with the UK's newly introduced Fossil Fuels policy.


Written Question
Marine Protected Areas: Fishing Vessels
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s plan to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPA) over the next three years, what assessment his Department has made of the benefits to mobile fish stocks of banning supertrawlers from the offshore MPA network.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

We are reviewing our policy on supertrawlers, and their impact on fish stocks, and this will be driven by evidence. We will need to consider how any measures fit with our obligations under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2021 to Question 25974 on Arthritis: Coronavirus, whether he plans to publish the results of the OCTAVE study on covid-19 vaccine response in people with impaired immune systems before Step 4 of the roadmap for lifting covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

We recognise the importance of this study. UK Research and Innovation, the Department and the OCTAVE study team are preparing a pre-print paper for publication shortly.


Written Question
Jerusalem: Palestinians
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to his letter dated 9 July to the hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, FCDO reference MC2021/03479, for what reasons Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv did not raise the issue of human rights with the Israeli Ministry of Justice at the time of the Israeli efforts to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in May 2021; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by James Cleverly

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. The UK regularly raises the issue of forced evictions from their homes, including in Sheikh Jarrah, with the Government of Israel, most recently with the Ministry of Justice on 12 July. On 8 May I publicly expressed concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. We monitor the situation in East Jerusalem closely, and officials regularly visit areas at risk of demolition and eviction and attend related court hearings.


Written Question
Marine Protected Areas: Fishing Vessels
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the blue carbon climate benefits of banning bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

The UK recognises the important role that blue carbon habitats can play to prevent biodiversity loss and support adaptation and resilience to climate change, alongside carbon sequestration benefits. The Government understands that marine carbon stores in sediments can be released due to human activities such as bottom trawling. However, the magnitude of change in these carbon stores following trawling impacts remains uncertain, and difficult to quantify accurately based on the current knowledge.

To support our work here, we recently published a report from Cefas scientists that provides us with the evidence base to help understand the carbon stocks and fluxes of marine blue carbon habitats in UK waters. We continue to build the evidence base on blue carbon habitats in the UK.

The UK Government has a clear, long-standing ambition to implement measures which protect the marine environment, both internationally and domestically. This is set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan, which includes commitments to protect the UK 'Blue Belt' network of Marine Protected Areas and to support the protection of 30% of the global ocean by 2030.

England already has 40% of our waters in Marine Protected Areas (MPA), covering the majority of saltmarsh and seagrass blue carbon habitats. 98 sites in our inshore waters now have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom-towed fishing gears. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing activities which could prevent them achieving their conservation objectives through a three-year by-law programme being undertaken by the Marine Management Organisation.


Written Question
Fossil Fuels: Overseas Investment
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he can provide a full list of fossil fuel projects in CDC Group’s portfolio.

Answered by James Duddridge

CDC has published its full energy portfolio, as at December 2019, on its website - https://assets.cdcgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/11174306/Fossil-Fuels-and-Renewables-portfolio-as-at-31-December-2019-pdf.pdf

Having published its 2020 Annual Review on the 6th July, CDC will publish its full energy portfolio, as at December 2020, on its website in due course.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor covid-19 vaccination rates and (b) increase vaccine uptake among people who are homeless; if he will publish data to support vaccine uptake among homeless people; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

People who are experiencing homelessness were prioritised for vaccination in phase one of the programme alongside those with underlying health conditions, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). To ensure access, we have followed the JCVI recommendation that this group should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or general practitioner registration.

Vaccination rates amongst the homeless population is monitored at a regional level within England and is used to inform deployment decisions so that uptake is maximised where possible. Data on vaccination uptake is not currently available as it has not been centrally validated. This is because data provides a snapshot of homelessness rates and as such, any vaccine uptake data relating to homeless people and COVID-19 vaccination uptake is also an estimate that cannot currently be validated. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to support outreach services and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models. Local vaccination services also play a vital role in reaching vulnerable groups, including people experiencing homelessness.


Written Question
Food Supply
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the report to Parliament in 2021 on food security required under Section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020 will include analysis of statistical data relating to the food security of (a) children, (b) disabled people, (c) people with no recourse to public funds and (d) households below the poverty line of 60 per cent of median UK household income.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

The UK Food Security Report 2021 will provide a comprehensive analysis into a range of current issues relevant to food security. The key themes set out in the Agriculture Act include Global Food Availability, Supply Sources for Food, the Resilience of the Supply Chain for Food, Household Expenditure on Food, and Food Safety and Consumer Confidence in Food. The section on Household Expenditure on Food will include an assessment of food poverty in terms of economic and physical access to food, along with the ability to afford nutritious food.

The Government agrees that robust official data is required to understand the full scope of the food security picture and to support future policy making. Therefore, this report will bring together regularly reported and publicly available data on the subject of food security, including for the Household Expenditure on Food theme. All relevant data sources are being considered to reflect the full picture of each theme. Analysis is limited by the granularity of available data, which may not be sufficient to report at Local Authority level. The 2021 report will identify gaps and limitations of our data, which will be re-examined in subsequent reports.


Written Question
Food Supply
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the report to Parliament in 2021 on food security required under section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020 will contain an analysis of statistical data by local authority.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

The UK Food Security Report 2021 will provide a comprehensive analysis into a range of current issues relevant to food security. The key themes set out in the Agriculture Act include Global Food Availability, Supply Sources for Food, the Resilience of the Supply Chain for Food, Household Expenditure on Food, and Food Safety and Consumer Confidence in Food. The section on Household Expenditure on Food will include an assessment of food poverty in terms of economic and physical access to food, along with the ability to afford nutritious food.

The Government agrees that robust official data is required to understand the full scope of the food security picture and to support future policy making. Therefore, this report will bring together regularly reported and publicly available data on the subject of food security, including for the Household Expenditure on Food theme. All relevant data sources are being considered to reflect the full picture of each theme. Analysis is limited by the granularity of available data, which may not be sufficient to report at Local Authority level. The 2021 report will identify gaps and limitations of our data, which will be re-examined in subsequent reports.


Written Question
UN Climate Conference 2021: Local Government
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the President of COP26, with reference to the Local Government Association motion on Local Government contributions towards national climate action in the year of COP26, published on 7 July 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequate representation of local government at COP26 in order to highlight the progress being made on climate change at a local level.

Answered by Alok Sharma

In the run up to COP26, we are continuing to engage with local authorities and leaders across the UK through the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council. We also work closely with a number of non-state actor organisations such as the C40 Cities, ICLEI and UK100 to help further engage with local authorities.

BEIS has contributed towards a locally led campaign delivered through the local energy hubs, to highlight work on net zero by Local Authorities, communities and businesses across the UK. This will include running regional Electric Vehicle roadshow events in the run up to COP and hosting events in each region during the COP itself.


Written Question
HIV Infection
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HIV Commission's plan published in December 2020, what progress his Department has made on (a) reducing new cases of HIV in England by 80 per cent by 2025 and (b) ending new cases of HIV in England by 2030; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jo Churchill

Between 2014 and 2019, there was a 34% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in England. In March 2020, the Government announced that the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available across England in 2020/21 as part of the commitment to achieve zero new HIV transmissions. PrEP is now routinely available in the specialist sexual and reproductive health services throughout the country.

In addition, the Department is developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and an HIV Action Plan on reaching the 2030 target, both of which are planned for publication later this year.


Written Question
HIV Infection: Disclosure of Information
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from what date the Government will provide annual reporting to Parliament on progress made on the Government's commitment to end new cases of HIV in England by 2030.

Answered by Jo Churchill

The Government has made a commitment to reach zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030, and the Department is currently developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan which are planned for publication later this year. Following these publications, it is anticipated that the Government’s annual reporting to Parliament on the progress made will begin from 2022 onwards.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
21 Jul 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of people with symptoms of covid-19 who come forward for a PCR test in the most recent time period for which figures are available; and by what methods he makes that estimate.

Answered by Jo Churchill

We have not made a specific assessment.