David Warburton Portrait

David Warburton

Independent - Somerton and Frome


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Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Tuesday 11th January 2022
Ultrafast Broadband: Devon and Somerset
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard), who made many important …
Written Answers
Wednesday 13th July 2022
Planning Permission: Public Consultation
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Support for the music sector and the covid-19 roadmap
That this House notes that stage four of the covid-19 roadmap has been moved from 21 June to 19 July …
Bills
Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill 2017-19
A Bill to make provision about rivers authorities; to make provision about the expenses of internal drainage boards; and for …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th February 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Betting and Gaming Council
Address of donor: 1st Floor, 90 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1EU
Amount of …
EDM signed
Wednesday 27th January 2021
Visas for musicians in the EU
That this House applauds the over 100 musicians who wrote to The Times on 20 January 2021 and agrees that …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Schools and Educational Settings (Essential Infrastructure and Opening During Emergencies) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for educational settings including early years, schools, colleges and universities to be classified as essential …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, David Warburton has voted in 391 divisions, and 16 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
26 Jan 2021 - Environment Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 352 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 217 Noes - 360
26 Jan 2021 - Environment Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative Aye votes vs 354 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 227 Noes - 354
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
6 Jan 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 322 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 524 Noes - 16
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 326 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All David Warburton Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(4 debate interactions)
James Heappey (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
(2 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(2 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(4 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(3 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Armed Forces Act 2021
(391 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all David Warburton's debates

Somerton and Frome Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

David Warburton has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by David Warburton

16th June 2021
David Warburton signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 16th June 2021

Support for the music sector and the covid-19 roadmap

Tabled by: David Warburton (Independent - Somerton and Frome)
That this House notes that stage four of the covid-19 roadmap has been moved from 21 June to 19 July 2021; further notes that many music businesses and freelance workers have been without work since March 2020 and that, in 2020, 70 per cent of musicians lost over three quarters …
31 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 17
Liberal Democrat: 5
Scottish National Party: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
27th January 2021
David Warburton signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 27th January 2021

Visas for musicians in the EU

Tabled by: Harriet Harman (Labour - Camberwell and Peckham)
That this House applauds the over 100 musicians who wrote to The Times on 20 January 2021 and agrees that the UK Government must immediately seek supplementary agreement with the EU to secure the ability of all creative workers including musicians, performers, their equipment and others such as technicians to …
81 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 14
Liberal Democrat: 10
Independent: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All David Warburton's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by David Warburton, 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.


David Warburton has not been granted any Urgent Questions

David Warburton has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by David Warburton


A Bill to make provision about rivers authorities; to make provision about the expenses of internal drainage boards; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Lords
Thursday 16th May 2019
(Read Debate)

53 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
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the remaining coal plants at the Drax power station will close in September 2022.

The Government has committed to phasing out unabated coal generation in Great Britain by October 2024. Closure of coal units ahead of this date is a commercial decision for the companies involved. The Drax Group, which operates Drax Power Station, has previously announced its intention to close coal units at the site in September 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the maximum number of years is following the cutting down of trees used to make wood pellets for the Drax power station within which replanting must (a) start and (b) match the number of trees felled.

The Government does not hold this information. In accordance with the government’s strict sustainability criteria, where biomass is sourced from forests, it needs to be sourced from areas managed in a way that is consistent with sustainable forest management practices, irrespective of location.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a table showing the number of (a) tree equivalents burnt at the Drax power station and (b) trees planted in the UK in each of the last five years.

The Department does not model tree equivalents of biomass used by power generators. Ofgem reports volumes of biomass fuel, such as wood pellets, used by power generators on a per-tonne basis.

UK tree planting statistics, held by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), are reported in terms of area (hectares). The most recent data was published on 30th September (https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics/forestry-statistics-2021/1-woodland-area-planting/ and https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/8144/Ch1_Woodland_FS2021_kRWbQlW.xlsx). UK tree planting over the past five years was as follows: 6,520 ha (2016-17); 9,050 ha (2017-18), 13,540 ha (2018-19), 13,660 ha (2020-21) and 13,290 ha (2020-21)

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the transport costs per MWh in terms of carbon dioxide emissions for power generated at Drax from (a) coal and (b) wood pellets.

The Government does not hold this information. Electricity generators only receive subsidies for biomass where they comply with the UK’s stringent sustainability criteria. The criteria requires that electricity generation from biomass does not exceed a set GHG threshold and produces life-cycle GHG emission savings (including transport and supply chain emissions) compared to fossil fuels. Suppliers/generators must demonstrate to the regulator (Ofgem) that they meet the criteria. Their evidence is independently audited.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that the businesses in Somerton and Frome constituency that have benefited from the construction of Hinkley Point C will have a future pipeline of contracts to move on to through the development of further gigawatt nuclear new build in the UK.

The Government has been clear that it wants more new nuclear power. Our Net Zero Strategy confirms plans for at least one large-scale nuclear project brought to the point of Final Investment Decision by the end of this Parliament, subject to clear value for money and all relevant approvals. Any large-scale nuclear new build project would be expected to offer similar opportunities for the supply chain as at Hinkley Point C.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the number of EU member states that enable touring UK musicians to work visa free in cultural touring in their territories for the full Schengen Area allowance of 90 in 180 days.

The Government has engaged bilaterally with all EU Member States about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 21 out of 27 Member States have confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for performers for some short-term touring. More recently, following further discussions, and having sought evidence from industry, Bulgaria and Croatia have also confirmed that they offer visa and work permit free routes for some touring activity. Most of these Member States have confirmed that they offer visa and work permit free routes of at least 30 days, and many for up to 90 days, including important touring markets such as France, Germany and, following close work between our governments and industry, Spain.

Discussions are ongoing with the remaining Member States to encourage them to make touring easier, including through ministerial discussions between the Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure and the Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Ambassador in December 2021.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with which EU member states the Government has conducted formal negotiations on reducing barriers to cultural touring since January 2021.

The Government has engaged bilaterally with all EU Member States about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 21 out of 27 Member States have confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for performers for some short-term touring. More recently, following further discussions, and having sought evidence from industry, Bulgaria and Croatia have also confirmed that they offer visa and work permit free routes for some touring activity. Most of these Member States have confirmed that they offer visa and work permit free routes of at least 30 days, and many for up to 90 days, including important touring markets such as France, Germany and, following close work between our governments and industry, Spain.

Discussions are ongoing with the remaining Member States to encourage them to make touring easier, including through ministerial discussions between the Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure and the Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Ambassador in December 2021.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has undertaken (a) assessments, (b) projections, (c) estimates and (d) modelling of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement on the ability of working class musicians to tour EU member states.

The Government understands that the cultural and creative sectors rely on the ability to move people across borders quickly, simply, and with minimal cost and administration. Touring is a vital part of musicians and performers’ careers, providing not only an important income stream, but also enriching opportunities for cultural exchange across the world. We recognise that there are changes in the way creative workers can work in the EU, and the sector will need to adapt to new requirements now the UK is no longer an EU Member State.

This government engaged extensively with the sectors throughout negotiations and since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including through the DCMS-led touring working group, to hear views, understand the impact of new requirements, and to support working and touring in the EU. We know that British creatives want to tour in the EU, and venues and audiences in the EU want to host them. That is why we continue to work across government, in collaboration with the sector, and directly with Member States to support the creative and cultural industries to adapt to new arrangements and resume touring with confidence.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has undertaken (a) assessments, (b) projections, (c) estimates and (d) modelling of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement on the (i) number and (ii) value of UK live cultural tours in EU member states.

The Government understands that the cultural and creative sectors rely on the ability to move people across borders quickly, simply, and with minimal cost and administration. Touring is a vital part of musicians and performers’ careers, providing not only an important income stream, but also enriching opportunities for cultural exchange across the world. We recognise that there are changes in the way creative workers can work in the EU, and the sector will need to adapt to new requirements now the UK is no longer an EU Member State.

This government engaged extensively with the sectors throughout negotiations and since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including through the DCMS-led touring working group, to hear views, understand the impact of new requirements, and to support working and touring in the EU. We know that British creatives want to tour in the EU, and venues and audiences in the EU want to host them. That is why we continue to work across government, in collaboration with the sector, and directly with Member States to support the creative and cultural industries to adapt to new arrangements and resume touring with confidence.

16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to accelerate the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband across Somerton and Frome.

We are backing Project Gigabit with £5 billion so hard to reach communities are not left out. The constituency of Somerton and Frome falls within Phase 3 (Lot 6) of Project Gigabit. Somerton and Frome’s designation as a ‘Future Phase’ reflects the extensive gigabit delivery now contracted to take place across Devon and Somerset, including the extensive additional delivery now confirmed by Openreach following their announcement of their target to reach 25 million premises by 2026.

The last of Project Gigabit’s Phase 2 procurements start in late 2022 and we expect Phase 3 procurements to follow directly, with all areas under contract as soon as possible. Due to the dynamic nature of the UK telecoms market we will regularly review and respond to opportunities for future procurement wherever possible.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme is delivering new gigabit-capable connections in Somerton and Frome via contracts with Wessex Internet and Truespeed which were awarded in December 2020.

Somerton and Frome is covered by Wessex Internet’s full fibre network for North and South Barrow, Babcary, Woolston, Queen Camel and Marston Magna. This particular project is nearing completion, with Wessex Internet being ready to connect customers in these areas from October 2021.

If it becomes clear that any premises will miss out from the UK’s broadband upgrade, Project Gigabit will make sure that they are included in its plans.

To accelerate delivery, premises in rural areas may also be in line for funding through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, with up to £210m allocated to the scheme over the next four years to support hard to reach communities. The voucher scheme offers up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses to help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps when used as part of a group scheme. Home and business owners can check the eligibility of their address and then look up suppliers in their area by going to https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.

Somerton and Frome has made good use of the scheme so far, seeing 698 voucher connections worth £1.1m, with a further 699 vouchers to be connected, totalling over £2.3m.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government's timescale is for allowing the (a) reopening of residential outdoor learning centres and (b) recommencement of residential school trips as covid-19 restrictions are eased; and what plans he has to provide additional financial support to residential outdoor learning centres.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department is working on advice for schools on the planning and booking of residential visits when it is safe to do so and in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021. The advice will be published shortly.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support and understand whether there is additional need.

The Government would encourage businesses who are unable to access support, or who are unsure of the support available, to access free tailored advice through the Business Support Helpline, which can be accessed through the Business Support website at: www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline, or through local Growth Hubs in England: www.lepnetwork.net/local-growth-hub-contacts. Businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can access business support through the devolved Governments.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of funding reductions to the Environment Agency over the last 10 years on the level of phosphates in Somerset.

The water environment faces multiple pressures, including from population growth and climate change. Improving our water environment will be challenging and requires a combined effort of government, industry, businesses and civil society. The Government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency, are taking action. We are committed to our goal of delivering clean and plentiful water, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Defra and its agencies received a £1 billion increase in overall funding at the 2020 spending review so we can do more to tackle climate change and protect our environment for future generations. Discussions are underway about the allocation of funding through the upcoming spending review to support delivery of the government's environmental priorities.

In addition, from 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the water environment. This includes £600 million of additional funding for the environment enabled through the Government and regulators' Green Recovery scheme.

The Government is aware of the impact of phosphate and other pollutants on the degradation of waterbodies in Somerset and nationally. We are working closely with Natural England and the Environment Agency (EA) to provide the tools to address this problem. I have also been working with MHCLG on the nutrient pollution taskforce, which meets every four to six weeks, to ensure action is coordinated and joined up.

Regulations, including the Farming Rules for Water, are in place to protect the water environment from diffuse agricultural pollution.

We have increased agricultural inspections in Somerset and other affected areas to address phosphate pollution at source by recently allocating the EA an additional £1.2 million to significantly increase the number of inspectors visiting farmers. We have also escalated our efforts to help farmers take voluntary action beyond regulatory requirements to reduce water pollution by expanding the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme - jointly run by Natural England, EA and Defra - to operate across the whole of England.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the health of England's rivers of reductions in funding allocated to the Environment Agency since 2010.

The water environment faces multiple pressures, including from population growth and climate change. Improving our water environment will be challenging and requires a combined effort of government, industry, businesses and civil society. The Government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency, are taking action. We are committed to our goal of delivering clean and plentiful water, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Defra and its agencies received a £1 billion increase in overall funding at the 2020 spending review so we can do more to tackle climate change and protect our environment for future generations. Discussions are underway about the allocation of funding through the upcoming spending review to support delivery of the government's environmental priorities.

In addition, from 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the water environment. This includes £600 million of additional funding for the environment enabled through the Government and regulators' Green Recovery scheme.

The Government is aware of the impact of phosphate and other pollutants on the degradation of waterbodies in Somerset and nationally. We are working closely with Natural England and the Environment Agency (EA) to provide the tools to address this problem. I have also been working with MHCLG on the nutrient pollution taskforce, which meets every four to six weeks, to ensure action is coordinated and joined up.

Regulations, including the Farming Rules for Water, are in place to protect the water environment from diffuse agricultural pollution.

We have increased agricultural inspections in Somerset and other affected areas to address phosphate pollution at source by recently allocating the EA an additional £1.2 million to significantly increase the number of inspectors visiting farmers. We have also escalated our efforts to help farmers take voluntary action beyond regulatory requirements to reduce water pollution by expanding the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme - jointly run by Natural England, EA and Defra - to operate across the whole of England.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the Environment Agency has sufficient funding and resources to manage phosphate pollution in (a) Somerset and (b) England.

The water environment faces multiple pressures, including from population growth and climate change. Improving our water environment will be challenging and requires a combined effort of government, industry, businesses and civil society. The Government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency, are taking action. We are committed to our goal of delivering clean and plentiful water, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Defra and its agencies received a £1 billion increase in overall funding at the 2020 spending review so we can do more to tackle climate change and protect our environment for future generations. Discussions are underway about the allocation of funding through the upcoming spending review to support delivery of the government's environmental priorities.

In addition, from 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the water environment. This includes £600 million of additional funding for the environment enabled through the Government and regulators' Green Recovery scheme.

The Government is aware of the impact of phosphate and other pollutants on the degradation of waterbodies in Somerset and nationally. We are working closely with Natural England and the Environment Agency (EA) to provide the tools to address this problem. I have also been working with MHCLG on the nutrient pollution taskforce, which meets every four to six weeks, to ensure action is coordinated and joined up.

Regulations, including the Farming Rules for Water, are in place to protect the water environment from diffuse agricultural pollution.

We have increased agricultural inspections in Somerset and other affected areas to address phosphate pollution at source by recently allocating the EA an additional £1.2 million to significantly increase the number of inspectors visiting farmers. We have also escalated our efforts to help farmers take voluntary action beyond regulatory requirements to reduce water pollution by expanding the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme - jointly run by Natural England, EA and Defra - to operate across the whole of England.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the speed of investment in sewage water treatment by Wessex Water to reduce phosphorous discharge.

To address water company derived phosphates, the Environment Agency sets limits based on achieving statutory objectives. Improvements to treatment works or through changes to land use are planned on a 5 year cycle of asset improvements with the water companies. Wessex Water is expecting to invest up to £57m across Somerset to achieve phosphate removal targets by 2024.

In addition to regulatory requirements, the EA is working with Wessex Water to trial nature-based solutions such as wetlands and woodlands as part of the government's green recovery initiative. This involves rewarding landowners and farmers for land use changes that will significantly reduce phosphate releases.

There is more to be done to reduce phosphorous discharge from sewage water treatment. The Strategic Policy Statement for Ofwat, which is currently out for consultation, outlines the government's ambition for Ofwat to drive water companies to be more ambitious in their environmental planning and delivery to contribute towards our environmental goals and enhance the quality of the water environment.

We have also introduced the requirement for at least one legally binding water target in the Environment Bill. This target will complement existing regulations and legislation, moving us closer to achieving our goal of clean and plentiful water set out in Defra's 25 Year Environment Plan.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress the Government's task force on nutrient pollution has made on tackling phosphate pollution, including that which prevents local authorities from granting planning permission.

The task force on nutrient pollution meets every 4 to 6 weeks and brings together Defra, Natural England, Environment Agency and MHCLG to develop strategic solutions to the phosphate and wider nutrient pollution issues. We want to enable much needed development whilst at the same time protecting and enhancing the environment.

Environment Agency and Natural England are working in partnership to understand the causes of pollution within areas, and ways of addressing them. They report back regularly to the task force on progress.

Natural England has already developed several tools which enable local authorities to understand possible mitigations that can be put in place. Natural England works closely with affected local authorities to support them to develop workable solutions.

Planning Advisory Service have also organised a number of virtual “lessons learnt” events on nutrient pollution during July for local authority planners. Natural England, the Environment Agency and Defra attended and shared good practice.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent enforcement activity the Environment Agency has undertaken to help control the release of phosphates from the agricultural sector in the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar catchment area.

We are increasing agricultural inspections in Somerset and other affected areas, which will help address phosphate pollution at source, by recently allocating the Environment Agency (EA) an additional £1.2 million to significantly increase the number of inspectors visiting farmers. We have also escalated our efforts to help farmers take voluntary action beyond regulatory requirements to reduce water pollution by expanding the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme - jointly run by Natural England, EA and Defra - to operate across the whole of England.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of potential measures to reduce phosphorous discharge into the surface water catchment area for the Somerset Levels and Moors Special Protection Area.

There are a range of potential measures that can be deployed to reduce phosphorous discharge in the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment. Natural England and the Environment Agency are working with all the relevant parties, including local planning authorities (LPAs) and Wessex Water as well as landowners and developers to evaluate and implement the various options.

To prevent additional phosphorous loading from new development, mitigation measures such as wetland and woodland creation will need to demonstrate that they will be effective in the long term. It is clear from other catchments facing nutrient loading that they have a key role to play in removing nutrients, enabling nutrient-neutral development. Several mitigation schemes for specific developments have been assessed and approved and the LPAs in Somerset are developing a strategy to support wider rollout of these mitigation schemes. There will be significant further investment of up to £57 million over the next three years by Wessex Water to reduce phosphorous discharge from water treatment works.

In the farming sector there are many joint projects underway and more is likely to be needed. The current approach is to encourage the uptake of voluntary measures to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the system, including Catchment Sensitive Farming. These include a focus on river and habitat improvements, better farming infrastructure, and enforcement by the Environment Agency where necessary.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of specialist event haulage vehicles, as defined in his Department's recent consultation on Support for specialist event hauliers working on cross border tours, in the UK since January 2019.

The Department for Transport does not collect data on the different sub-sectors of haulage operators through the vehicle operator licence system, so no assessment of trends in the number of specialist event haulage vehicles is available. The Department is carefully considering responses to its recent consultation on support for specialist hauliers working on cross border tours and will set out proposed next steps in the coming weeks.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of specialist event haulage vehicles, as defined in his Department's recent consultation on Support for specialist event hauliers working on cross border tours, in the UK in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Department for Transport does not generate annual estimates of the number of specialist haulage vehicles under the draft definition in its recent consultation on support for specialist hauliers working on cross border tours.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to face-to-face GP appointments in the South West.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance states that general practitioner practices must provide face to face appointments, alongside remote consultations. Patients’ input into consultation type should be sought and practices should respect preferences for face-to-face care, unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary. In May 2022, in the South West National Health Service region 64% of appointments, excluding COVID-19 vaccinations, were conducted face-to-face, compared to 59% in May 2021.

We have made £520 million available to improve access and expand general practice capacity during the pandemic. This is in addition to at least £1.5 billion announced in 2020 to create an additional 50 million general practice appointments by 2024 by increasing and diversifying the workforce.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of surgical hubs in aiding the recovery of elective services following the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England is currently assessing the impact of surgical hubs, including with evidence published in the Getting it Right First Time guidance on elective hubs in April 2022.

27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for NHS ambulances in the South West.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) have introduced measures to ensure that ambulance crews can respond to incoming calls. This includes a remote clinical triage team, the direct referral of patients to same day emergency care departments and the placement of Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers to improve the flow of patients and reduce handover delays. SWASFT is also undertaking recruitment activity to ensure sufficient resources are available to meet demand.

27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made to establish clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of unlicensed cannabis-based products for the medical treatment of children with epilepsy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is developing a programme for two randomised controlled trials into epilepsy in adults and children. The trials will commence as soon as possible and the results will be published once the trials have completed and the findings have been peer reviewed. The NIHR encourages high quality proposals for research in this area as a priority and supports researchers to develop applications.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to NHS dentistry services in the South West.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Health Education England and Bristol and Peninsula Dental schools through the South West Dental Reform programme to address the challenges facing National Health Service dentistry in the region. An additional £50 million was provided for NHS dentistry for the final quarter of 2021/22 to provide urgent care for patients. Of this, £4,726,000 was made available to the South West region. From July 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked all practices to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity, including in the South West region, to improve access.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders, including the British Dental Association, on improvements to the NHS dental system and negotiations are currently underway on initial measures. This aims to improve access to NHS dentistry nationally, including in the South West.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to attract high quality dental professionals into NHS dentistry across the (a) South West and (b) UK.

In the South West, NHS England are working with Bristol and Peninsula Dental schools as part of the South West Dental Reform programme to address the challenges facing National Health Service dentistry in the region. The programme is looking at innovative ways to attract dental staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are leading on reforms to the current dental contract and wider dental system to make the NHS dental offer more attractive for dentists and their teams. Health Education England has made recommendations in their September 2021 Advancing Dental Care Review to tackle recruitment, retention and attracting dentists into the NHS. These recommendations are being implemented through their Dental Education Reform Programme.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that access to NHS dental care is easily accessible across Somerton and Frome.

National Health Service dental practices, including those in Somerton and Frome, have been asked to meet as many prioritised needs as possible, focusing on urgent care and care for vulnerable groups, including children, followed by overdue appointments. We have made an additional £50 million available for the remainder of the 2021/22 financial year to allow more patients to obtain access to NHS dental care. Patients in Somerton and Frome can contact the Somerset Dental Helpline for access to urgent dental care appointments.

The Department and NHS England are developing proposals for dental system reform, working stakeholders such as the British Dental Association. The reforms include proposals to improve patient access, reduce health inequalities and make the NHS a more attractive place to work for dentists.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department has on the number of people waiting to access NHS Dental Services in (a) Somerton and Frome, (b) Somerset, (c) the South West and (d) the UK.

The information requested is not held centrally. Appointments for National Health Service treatment are managed directly by dental practices.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of NHS commissioning services from Virgin Care, what assessment he has made of the potential reduction in services provided by Virgin Care across Somerset following its purchase by Twenty20 Healthcare; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. However, NHS England and the local clinical commissioning group are ensuring that safe, high quality services are commissioned to meet the needs of their residents.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect clinically extremely vulnerable children in mainstream education from covid-19, including children under the age of 12, following the easing of restrictions in schools.

Following the results of recent clinical studies which showed that children and young people face a very low risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19, the United Kingdom Clinical Review Panel recommended that all children and young people should be removed from the Shielded Patient List. As a result, there are no longer any children or young people under the age of 18 who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support children with intractable epilepsy until medical cannabis becomes readily available on NHS prescription.

Since January 2020, the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service has been in place to provide advice and support for doctors in tertiary neuroscience centres, including specialised paediatric neuroscience centres, to optimise the treatment of refractory epilepsy. In September 2019, the cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex was granted a marketing authorisation or licence by the European Medicines Agency, following an assessment of its quality, safety and efficacy. Epidyolex is available on the National Health Service for the treatment of two rare forms of refractory epilepsies in children and adults.

However, guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products for the treatment of refractory epilepsy and other conditions. To help improve the evidence base, the National Institute for Health Research is working with NHS England and clinicians to develop a programme of two clinical trials into refractory epilepsy.

19th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the business mileage allowance in the context of rising fuel and living costs.

The Government sets Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) to minimise administrative burdens. AMAPs aim to reflect running costs including fuel, servicing and depreciation. Depreciation is estimated to constitute the most significant proportion of the AMAPs.

Employers are not required to use the AMAPs. Instead, they can agree to reimburse the actual cost incurred, where individuals can provide evidence of the expenditure, without an Income Tax or National Insurance charge arising.

Alternatively, they can choose to pay a different mileage rate that better reflects their employees’ circumstances. However, if the payment exceeds the amount due under AMAPs, and this results in a profit for the individual, they will be liable to pay Income Tax and National Insurance contributions on the difference.

The Government keeps this policy under review.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the impact of business rates on the economic viability of music venues.

The Government is delivering a tax cut worth almost £1.7 billion for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses in 2022-23. Eligible properties will receive 50 per cent off their business rates bill, up to a maximum of £110,000 per business. Combined with small business rates relief, this means over 90 per cent of retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses will receive at least 50 per cent off their rates bills in 2022-23.

The multiplier has also been frozen for a further year, which is a tax cut worth £4.6 billion to businesses over the next 5 years.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take in 2021 to help people affected by the Equitable Life scandal.

The methodology for calculating payments to Equitable Life policyholders was published in 2011 and can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/equitable-life-payment-scheme-design.

There are no plans to reopen the Payment Scheme or review the £1.5 billion funding allocation previously made to it. The Equitable Life Payment Scheme closed to claims in 2015 and further guidance on the status of the Payment Scheme after closure is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/equitable-life-payment-scheme#closure-of-the-scheme.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the detailed calculations, including intermediary steps, used in determining payments under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme.

The methodology for calculating payments to Equitable Life policyholders was published in 2011 and can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/equitable-life-payment-scheme-design.

There are no plans to reopen the Payment Scheme or review the £1.5 billion funding allocation previously made to it. The Equitable Life Payment Scheme closed to claims in 2015 and further guidance on the status of the Payment Scheme after closure is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/equitable-life-payment-scheme#closure-of-the-scheme.

27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2022 to Question 7920 on Passports: Applications, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of further options to ensure that people receive their passports in a timely manner.

Since April 2021, people have been advised to allow up to ten weeks to get their passport. Across March, April, and May 2022, 98.5% of applications from the UK were completed within this published processing time of up to ten weeks.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has added 850 staff since April 2021. This has helped to ensure that more passport applications are being processed than ever before, with the processing of approximately three million applications being completed between March and May.

Processing capacity will increase further, with an additional 350 staff arriving within the summer.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that passport applications for those who need to travel urgently for compassionate reasons are prioritised.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has always prioritised the cases of those who need a passport urgently on compassionate grounds, such as in the event of a death or serious illness of a friend or relative overseas. Anyone who believes they meet this criteria should contact the Passport Adviceline.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to process outstanding visa applications for those planning to enter the UK on the Homes for Ukraine Scheme; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that their sponsors in the UK are kept regularly informed of the status of their visa applications.

This is one of the fastest and largest visa programmes in UK history and in as little as two months we have issued over 100,000 visas, helping Ukrainians displaced from their home country to come to the UK to live, work, study and find safety here.

Once an application has been processed and approved, an official permission letter confirming the applicant can travel to the UK is sent to the applicant if they possess a valid Ukrainian passport.

The Home Office is processing applications as quickly as possible with extra caseworkers being brought in to meet demand. We continually making efforts to simplify the application process for Ukrainian refugees, and keeps this under regular review.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce rural crime; and what assessment her Department has made of the impact on communities of rural crime in (a) Somerton and Frome and (b) the South West.

We are committed to driving down rural crime, which is why the Government is providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit. We have also tabled amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce tougher sentencing and improved police powers for hare coursing.

Tackling rural crime is a priority for this Government and we are supporting the police by recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers by March 2023. As of 31 December 2021, polices forces in England and Wales have recruited over 11,000 additional officers as part of the three-year Police Uplift Programme. Avon and Somerset police has recruited 254 additional uplift officers against a combined year 1 and 2 allocation of 273 officers. As of 31 December 2021, police forces in the South West region have recruited 712 additional uplift officers against a combined year 1 and 2 allocation of 843.

The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of the impact on communities or rural crime in either (a) Somerton and Frome and (b) the South West. The independent Crime Survey for England and Wales continues to show that, for those crimes covered by the Survey, people in rural areas are less likely to be the victims of crime than those in urban areas. This is echoed by DEFRA’s Statistical Digest of Rural England, published in January 2022, that states “average crime rates are lower in rural areas than urban areas”. We recognise too that within rural communities some crimes are unique and specific in that they do not occur as frequently in urban areas.

Kit Malthouse
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many dental medical professionals have entered the UK via the Skilled Visa Route.

Home Office Migration Statistics do not specifically capture information on the professions of those entering the UK under the Skilled Worker visa route.

Information on current Home Office migration statistics can be found at Migration statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that local communities are consulted on the detailed aspects of planning applications.

Local planning authorities are required to undertake a formal period of public consultation of no less than 21 days, prior to deciding a planning application. Consultees, particularly those living near to the site in question, may offer particular views or detailed information relevant to the consideration of the application. Where relevant considerations are raised by local residents, these must be taken into account by the local authority before they determine an application.

The Government is clear that communities must have the opportunity to have a say on development that affects them. The reforms in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will retain the right for people to comment on planning applications and will make the planning system more accessible, enabling a more consistent, streamlined and digitally enabled approach to the way planning applications are made. This will ensure faster and better decision making that delivers more of the development that communities want.

Marcus Jones
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to improve support for local councils to uphold their decisions when refusing planning applications.

Due to the quasi-judicial role of Ministers in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to intervene or comment on the planning decisions made by local authorities. When a planning application is refused, local authorities are required by law to set out the reasons for their decision and these will be contained in the decision notice.

The reforms in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will modernise our planning system and make it more accessible, enabling a more consistent, streamlined and digitally enabled approach to the way planning applications are made. This will ensure faster and better decision making that delivers more of the development that communities want. In addition, the Planning Advisory Service works with the Department and provides support to local authorities to deliver good decision making when determining planning applications.

Marcus Jones
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to encourage housebuilders to develop brownfield sites.

This Government strongly encourages the re-use of brownfield land and has introduced a range of measures to support brownfield development and encourage housebuilders to develop brownfield sites.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning policies and decisions should give substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements. We have introduced a number of planning measures including uplifting local housing need in the top 20 most populated cities to make the most of brownfield land and existing infrastructure and successfully requiring every local authority to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill sets out planning measures that will support regeneration by enabling more effective use of land, improving land value capture and supporting infrastructure delivery. Reforms, including clarification on the use of compulsory purchase, will make it easier to assemble brownfield land ready for development, whilst locally led Development Corporations will have planning powers to support regeneration and brownfield development. The measures will also create more consistency and certainty in planning decisions, simplifying the system so housebuilders can deliver.

Finally, the Department and Homes England regularly engage with urban areas to support delivery of homes on brownfield. We are putting significant investment into brownfield redevelopment through, for example, the £4.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund and £550 million Brownfield Housing Fund to support brownfield development and enable housebuilders to develop brownfield sites, with £1.8 billion in new funding announced at the Spending Review.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to develop brownfield sites.

This Government strongly encourages the re-use of brownfield land and has introduced a range of measures to support brownfield development and encourage housebuilders to develop brownfield sites.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning policies and decisions should give substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements. We have introduced a number of planning measures including uplifting local housing need in the top 20 most populated cities to make the most of brownfield land and existing infrastructure and successfully requiring every local authority to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill sets out planning measures that will support regeneration by enabling more effective use of land, improving land value capture and supporting infrastructure delivery. Reforms, including clarification on the use of compulsory purchase, will make it easier to assemble brownfield land ready for development, whilst locally led Development Corporations will have planning powers to support regeneration and brownfield development. The measures will also create more consistency and certainty in planning decisions, simplifying the system so housebuilders can deliver.

Finally, the Department and Homes England regularly engage with urban areas to support delivery of homes on brownfield. We are putting significant investment into brownfield redevelopment through, for example, the £4.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund and £550 million Brownfield Housing Fund to support brownfield development and enable housebuilders to develop brownfield sites, with £1.8 billion in new funding announced at the Spending Review.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many planning applications for the construction of new homes in England he has (a) called in and (b) recovered; and how many of those planning applications were on greenfield sites.

All decisions taken by Ministers on called-in applications and recovered appeals are published. They can be found on gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planning-applications-called-in-decisions-and-recovered-appeals

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Planning for the Future White Paper, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Mendip Local Plan II meets the Government's policy of increasing the role of local communities in the planning process.

Due to the ministerial quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to comment on the details of specific local plans. We do need to modernise the planning system in England to provide better outcomes for local authorities, communities and builders, including small builders. We will ensure that communities are engaged throughout the planning process supported by digitisation, helping to bring the current system into the 21st century. Communities will retain the ability to have a meaningful say on individual planning applications.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the achievability of housing targets across Somerset in the context of the time taken to process planning applications as a result of nutrient neutrality requirements in the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar catchment area.

The National Planning Policy Framework implemented a standard method for calculating local housing need in order to give a clear understanding of the minimum number of homes an area needs to plan for. The method provides a minimum number of homes, not a maximum, and does not provide a target. Authorities are expected to use it as the starting point in the process of planning for new homes. Once this has been established, local authorities will still need to consider the constraints they face locally, which could include nutrient pollution, to assess how many homes can be delivered in their area. If they cannot meet all their need then they should work collaboratively with neighbouring authorities to see if need would best be met elsewhere. At the end of this process the authority will finalise their housing target and this will be tested by planning inspectors for robustness.

The Government is working to tackle nutrients pollution. Together with DEFRA, we have set up a monthly Government task force involving Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure a clear action plan is in place, focusing on solutions for both permitting housebuilding to resume while not compromising the condition of Protected Sites. Alongside this, we are continuing to support Local Planning Authorities through the work of the Planning Advisory Service.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of nutrient neutrality requirements on levels of approval of planning applications in Somerset.

We do not collect information on the number of planning applications that are delayed or not approved due to the nutrient pollution issue, but this data may be held at a local level by Local Planning Authorities. As such as we have not made a direct assessment of the number of planning applications that have not been approved due to the nutrient pollution issue in the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar. The Government is working to tackle nutrients pollution. Together with DEFRA, we have set up a monthly Government task force involving Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure a clear action plan is in place, focusing on solutions for both permitting housebuilding to resume while not compromising the condition of Protected Sites. Alongside this, we are continuing to support Local Planning Authorities through the work of the Planning Advisory Service.