David Warburton Portrait

David Warburton

Independent - Former Member for Somerton and Frome

First elected: 7th May 2015

Left House: 19th June 2023 (Resignation (Northstead))



Division Voting information

David Warburton has voted in 1284 divisions, and 19 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
3 Apr 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 95 Conservative Aye votes vs 203 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 105 Noes - 509
27 Mar 2019 - EU: Withdrawal and Future Relationship Votes - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 200 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 377
25 Apr 2016 - Immigration Bill - View Vote Context
David Warburton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative No votes vs 288 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 294 Noes - 276
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

All Debates

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

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

23rd November 2022
David Warburton signed this EDM on Thursday 19th January 2023

Intimidation at community, parish and town councils

Tabled by: Julian Lewis (Conservative - New Forest East)
That this House expresses its support and appreciation for local community, parish and town councils which are the first tier of local government in England and Wales and play a vital role in our communities; notes with concern that whilst the vast majority of local councils are well run, there …
27 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Mar 2023)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 8
Labour: 7
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
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: 16
Liberal Democrat: 5
Independent: 4
Conservative: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 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

1 Adjournment Debate led by David Warburton

Thursday 8th March 2018

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.

Commons Completed
Lords - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Lords
Thursday 16th May 2019

Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that guide dog and assistance dog owners are not denied entry to (a) taxis, (b) shops and (c) businesses.

We are clear that no one should be refused access to businesses or services, including taxis, because they have an assistance dog.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act), businesses that provide goods and services to the public must not unlawfully discriminate against people who meet the Act’s definition of disability. The Act places a duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises, buildings and services.

This duty could include allowing access to guide dogs or assistance dogs so that disabled customers have the same access to goods and services and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance for all businesses, including service providers, on their duty towards disabled people who own assistance/guide dogs. The guidance explains that assistance dogs should be treated as auxiliary aids and not as pets. The guidance is available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/assistance-dogs-a-guide-for-all-businesses.pdf and makes clear that businesses and service providers should allow assistance dogs access to buildings where dogs would normally not be permitted whenever this is reasonable.

Taxi and private hire drivers also have a duty under the Act to carry guide dogs and assistance dogs at no extra cost to the passenger. The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022, amended the Act to provide any disabled person with specific rights and protections to access and receive assistance when travelling in a taxi or private hire vehicle.

These duties and protections are ultimately enforceable through the courts, but as a first step, anybody who thinks they have been discriminated against in the services offered to them - including a failure to make reasonable adjustments - can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) which provides free bespoke advice and in-depth support to individuals with discrimination concerns via their website - http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com, or by telephone on 0808 800 0082 or by text phone on 0808 800 0084.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the effect of proposed changes to the feed-in-tariff on solar firms and small businesses in (a) Somerton and Frome constituency, (b) the South West and (c) the UK.

Our consultation on the feed-in tariff review is still underway until 23rd October. The consultation document reflects the need to balance sector support whilst keeping bills down for consumers.

We strongly welcome evidence from the sector during the consultation to assist our analysis of the potential impact on businesses in the sector.

.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to strengthen the UK’s response to cyber threats.

Our National Cyber Strategy, launched in December 2021, sets out how we will ensure that the UK continues to be a leading, responsible and democratic cyber power, able to protect and promote our interests in the rapidly evolving online world. This includes our approach to making the UK more resilient to cyber attacks and countering cyber threats. It is supported by £2.6 billion of investment up to 2024 - 25.

The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves through our world leading capability in this area. We are vigilant to cyber threats, wherever they come from, and ready to defend against them. We are continuing to work to make the UK more resilient to cyber threats and raise the cost for those who would do us harm.

5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent steps she has taken to help support (a) recruitment and (b) retention in the hospitality sector.

The Government is in regular dialogue with the hospitality and tourism sectors and is aware of the recruitment and retention challenges facing businesses. The Hospitality Sector Council is actively looking at this issue and the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, which comprises businesses across both sectors, is considering ways to strengthen training.

We are also helping to fill vacancies through our Plan for Jobs programmes, which use work coaches to help match local talent with jobs in hospitality. Our sector-based work academy programme and flexible support fund, and various initiatives, are also encourag-ing jobseekers to look for opportunities in the sector. In addition, on 1 April 2023, the Gov-ernment increased the National Living Wage by 9.7% to £10.42.

The Government is also supporting six Private Member’s Bills which will improve workers’ rights and encourage more people into work. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act has now achieved Royal Assent meaning more than 2 million workers will have their tips protected when the measures come into force. This package of Bills will help new parents, unpaid carers, hospitality workers, and give employees better access to flexible working.

The Government is continuing to improve apprenticeships, making them more flexible and making it easier for employers to make greater use of their levy funds. The catering and hospitality sector serves up a host of different apprenticeships in restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, nightclubs and hotels, including for example chef de partie.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking with industry representatives to address labour shortages in the (a) hospitality and (b) tourism sectors.

The Government is in regular dialogue with the hospitality and tourism sectors and is aware of the recruitment and retention challenges facing businesses. The Hospitality Sector Council is actively looking at this issue and the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, which comprises businesses across both sectors, is considering ways to strengthen training.

We are also helping to fill vacancies through our Plan for Jobs programmes, which use work coaches to help match local talent with jobs in hospitality. Our sector-based work academy programme and flexible support fund, and various initiatives, are also encourag-ing jobseekers to look for opportunities in the sector. In addition, on 1 April 2023, the Gov-ernment increased the National Living Wage by 9.7% to £10.42.

The Government is also supporting six Private Member’s Bills which will improve workers’ rights and encourage more people into work. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act has now achieved Royal Assent meaning more than 2 million workers will have their tips protected when the measures come into force. This package of Bills will help new parents, unpaid carers, hospitality workers, and give employees better access to flexible working.

The Government is continuing to improve apprenticeships, making them more flexible and making it easier for employers to make greater use of their levy funds. The catering and hospitality sector serves up a host of different apprenticeships in restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, nightclubs and hotels, including for example chef de partie.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that music exports benefit from new UK trade agreements.

The Department for Business and Trade has engaged extensively with the music sector to inform our trade negotiations and to date we have been able to secure a number of commitments for the music sector. For example, with Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreements (FTA), the music sector will benefit from rules that ensure that data can flow freely between the UK and both countries.

Furthermore, the UK has secured commitments from Australia for continued discussions on measures to ensure adequate remuneration for music performers and producers and to tackle online infringement of intellectual property rights such as music piracy. We also secured a commitment from New Zealand to extend its copyright term of protection for authors and producers by 20 years. In our FTA with the EEA EFTA, we secured improved access for British touring artists into Norway supporting touring as live music generates vitally important revenue for UK artists and our economy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps the Government is taking to (a) minimise disruption caused by industrial action and (b) reach a compromise on outstanding industrial issues.

The Government’s door always remains open. We continue to talk to unions but any settlements must be affordable and not stoke higher inflation.

The Government continues to put contingency plans in place to mitigate the impact of industrial action in the public sector. To help reduce disruption caused by strikes, we lifted in July last year the ban on agency workers being used during industrial disputes. We have also recently introduced in Parliament the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill to ensure that a minimum service is provided in a range of important public services when industrial action takes place in future.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent steps his Department has taken to facilitate access to the Alternative Fuel Payment for people without a permanent address.

The Government has been engaging with key stakeholder groups who represent those households without a permanent address. The Government is keen to support these households to ensure they can receive energy bills support. Officials are working to establish whether there is a robust method for these households to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim the AFP support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many and what proportion of households in Somerton and Frome constituency did not have access to fibre optic broadband on 1 May 2023.

Currently, over 89% of premises in the Somerton and Frome constituency can access a superfast broadband connection. Over 51% have access to a gigabit-capable connection and 38% have fibre to the premises.

The Government is committed to working with broadband suppliers to ensure 85% of UK premises can access gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, and then for nationwide coverage by 2030. We are on track to achieve our target.

As part of Project Gigabit, the Government’s £5 billion mission to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband across the UK, we have begun launching procurements that give subsidies to broadband suppliers to build gigabit-capable infrastructure to premises that will not be reached by suppliers’ commercial plans alone. In the coming months, we plan to launch a procurement that will improve broadband connectivity for premises in Somerton and Frome.

Constituents in Somerton and Frome have also made excellent use of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which provides a subsidy of up to £4,500 for residents and businesses towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband. More than 960 premises in Somerton and Frome have received a fast, reliable connection through the voucher scheme, worth over £1.5 million.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to increase the number of businesses that apply for Cyber Essentials certification.

As part of the government's £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is committed to improving cyber resilience across the economy and promoting the take-up of accreditations and standards such as the Cyber Essentials (CE) certification scheme. Over 122,000 certificates have now been issued over the lifetime of the scheme, with over 25,000 organisations, including over a third of the UK’s largest organisations, currently holding either a CE or CE Plus certificate.

DSIT is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), other government departments and industry to increase the uptake of the CE scheme, including through requiring CE certification from suppliers using procurement levers. For example DSIT recently announced a partnership with St James’s Place which now requires its partners to be CE Plus certified.

The NCSC is also leading a three year funding programme, providing support to help organisations work towards certification. Over the past three months 369 support packages have been awarded to small legal aid firms and charities.

Research to date has found 93% of organisations with CE are confident of protection against common cyber attacks, compared to just 71% of non-certified organisations and 83% report a positive impact on customer and investor confidence. Further research is being undertaken to assess the impact of the scheme and will be published shortly.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Cyber Essentials programme.

As part of the government's £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is committed to improving cyber resilience across the economy and promoting the take-up of accreditations and standards such as the Cyber Essentials (CE) certification scheme. Over 122,000 certificates have now been issued over the lifetime of the scheme, with over 25,000 organisations, including over a third of the UK’s largest organisations, currently holding either a CE or CE Plus certificate.

DSIT is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), other government departments and industry to increase the uptake of the CE scheme, including through requiring CE certification from suppliers using procurement levers. For example DSIT recently announced a partnership with St James’s Place which now requires its partners to be CE Plus certified.

The NCSC is also leading a three year funding programme, providing support to help organisations work towards certification. Over the past three months 369 support packages have been awarded to small legal aid firms and charities.

Research to date has found 93% of organisations with CE are confident of protection against common cyber attacks, compared to just 71% of non-certified organisations and 83% report a positive impact on customer and investor confidence. Further research is being undertaken to assess the impact of the scheme and will be published shortly.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to reduce the cyber skills gap.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) commissions an annual survey on the need for cyber security skills across the UK labour market, which suggests an annual shortfall of around 14,000 professionals.

As part of the government's £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy, DSIT committed to significantly increase the number of people who have the skills they need to enter the cyber workforce. This requires the clarification of pathways into and through a cyber career and getting more people interested in cyber at a young age. In order to create and publicise clear routes into a cyber career DCMS funded the creation of a professional body for cyber, the UK Cyber Security Council, to create professional standards and pathways that will inform employer recruitment and an individual's career development. We deliver extracurricular youth programmes to inspire and develop future talent, including the DSIT ‘Cyber Explorers’ platform targeted at 11-14 year olds. This complements the National Cyber Security Centre ‘CyberFirst’ competitions and degree bursaries. For those already in the workforce, free cyber skills bootcamps are offered through the Department for Education ‘Skills for Life’ scheme and the DSIT ‘Upskill in Cyber’ programme.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to (a) retain and (b) invest in post offices in uncommercial parts of the network.

The Government has provided over £2.5 billion in funding to support the Post Office network over the past 10 years and is further providing £335 million for the Post Office over the next three years. This package includes funding to ensure the viability of rural and community branches. Since 2019 funding for the network has been maintained at £50 million a year and will remain at the same level until 2025.

Additionally, the Government-set access criteria requires 95% of the population in rural areas to be within three miles of the nearest branch. The Post Office network meets and exceeds this at a national level.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure effective provision of post office services in rural areas.

The Government has provided over £2.5 billion in funding to support the Post Office network over the past 10 years and is further providing £335 million for the Post Office over the next three years. This package includes funding to ensure the viability of rural and community branches. Since 2019 funding for the network has been maintained at £50 million a year and will remain at the same level until 2025.

Additionally, the Government-set access criteria requires 95% of the population in rural areas to be within three miles of the nearest branch. The Post Office network meets and exceeds this at a national level.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how off-grid energy users will be able to access the one-off support payment towards their energy bills this winter.

Eligible households in Great Britain will receive £100 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. For Northern Ireland, the Government is working with electricity suppliers to explore how the payment could be delivered via electricity bills.

Households that are eligible for, but do not receive AFP, because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will receive £100 via the AFP Alternative Fund.

The Energy Bill Support Scheme (EBSS) will provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills to the small minority of households who will not be reached through the EBSS. This includes those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier, such as those who live off-grid.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in addition to the one-off £100 support payment, what steps he will take to ensure that off-grid energy users are able to receive equal support to on-grid households.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) delivers a £400 non-repayable discount to households with an electricity meter. For those not on standard gas or electricity contracts the EBSS Alternative Fund will provide equivalent support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to help support the growth of community energy schemes.

Legislative mechanisms already exist which enable community energy groups to produce renewable energy, and the Government has no plans to bring forward further legislative proposals, at this time.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support households in rural areas with the rising cost of domestic heating oil.

Households not on standard gas or electricity contracts, such as those in rural areas, will receive equivalent support to that provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme, and the Energy Price Guarantee. The Government is working at pace to determine the most practical and tested routes to deliver this support. As part of this, for households who do not use gas for domestic heating, the Government has committed to provide an additional payment of £100 to compensate for the rising costs of other fuels such as coal.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
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 and Trade)
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 and Trade)
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 and Trade)
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 and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential to replicate the economic benefits of Hinkley Point C to Somerton and Frome constituency in other areas of the country through the development of future gigawatt nuclear new builds.

The construction of Hinkley Point C shows that new gigawatt nuclear power stations can provide economic benefits to their local area, as well as to regions across the UK through the supply chain. EDF have reported that £3.5 billion has been spent with companies in the South-West during the construction period, with Hinkley Point C creating 12,786 job opportunities and 787 apprentices trained to date. The government expects future larger scale nuclear new build project to have similar benefits to Hinkley Point C, and we have committed to at least one more gigawatt power plant during this Parliament, subject to clear value for money for both consumers and taxpayers and all relevant approvals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
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 and Trade)
26th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to promote opportunities for businesses in the South West to access high growth markets abroad.

This financial year UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has helped more than 800 South West (SW) businesses access new markets. UKTI’s Passport to Export programme provided intensive support to 170 companies entering new markets including high growth markets (HGMs) such as China and UAE.

A further 850 South West business delegates have attended business clinics and seminars promoting export opportunities including those in HGMs. During Export Week in November 2015, 233 business delegates had 787 one-to-one meetings with 69 visiting overseas Trade Officers at the ExploreExport event in Bristol.

Additionally, in December alone SW businesses responded to 116 Export Opportunities as part of the Exporting is Great campaign, including 25 in China. To date UKTI South West has issued 119 Market Visit Grants to businesses, 42 of which were to HGMs.

UKTI South West activity is supported by a High Impact in Growth Economies programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund. That programme has assisted forty South West SMEs to trade successfully in Brazil. Focused mainly on sectors with innovative high value products the programme is forecast to increase employment in the region by 260 jobs by 2017 as well as adding £100 million to South West export sales by 2020. UKTI South West aims to continue the programme by targeting further high growth markets over the next 3 years including Mexico, Cuba, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil.

19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to help ensure that creators and performers receive a fair return from the income made from streaming music.

A key priority for this Government is ensuring the music streaming market functions well and that creators and performers are properly remunerated. In response to the DCMS Select Committee’s inquiry into the Economics of Music Streaming, the Government launched a comprehensive programme of work focusing on the key issues identified.

This includes the establishment of expert working groups, chaired by the Intellectual Property Office, to develop industry-led solutions on metadata and transparency. These aim to bring improvements for creators and performers, including quicker and more accurate payments for songwriters and enhanced confidence in creators’ dealings with labels and publishers.

The Government encouraged the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) to conduct a market study into music and streaming services, which concluded in November 2022. The CMA found no suggestion that publishing revenues are being suppressed by distorted or restricted competition and that the overall share of streaming revenues enjoyed by publishers and songwriters has increased from 8% in 2008 to 15% in 2021.

We have also commissioned independent research into the impacts on creators, performers, and the wider industry of potential changes to copyright law in the areas of equitable remuneration, contract adjustment, and rights reversion. And the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation has completed research into playlisting algorithms used by streaming services, which will be published shortly.

The Government also notes action taken by industry to improve remuneration for creators. The major record labels have committed to disregarding unrecouped advances in older contracts, meaning many artists are being paid from streaming for the first time. Many independent labels have gone further, leading the way by setting minimum digital royalty rates across new and existing contracts.

The work of the expert working groups is advanced, as is the research. Based on this, and the action taken by industry, the Government will be taking decisions on this work in the coming months.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether recording studios are eligible for Government support for businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, extensions to the furlough scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes, as well as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Bounce Back Loan Schemes.

The Chancellor has also announced further support for businesses with one-off top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property, plus a further £594 million discretionary fund to support other impacted businesses. That builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary fund that local authorities in England have already received to help impacted businesses.

The guidance for these additional restrictions grants encourages local authorities to develop discretionary schemes to help those businesses that are perhaps not legally forced to close but are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of covid.

On this point, I have received reports that some businesses such as recording and rehearsal studios, which might not be ratepayers and which are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance on these grant schemes, are being deemed ineligible by some local authorities.

To be clear to local authorities and businesses, although the ultimate decision is at the local authority’s discretion, the fund can, and in my opinion should, be used to provide grants to businesses like recording and rehearsal studios. Supporting these businesses is vital to preserve the UK’s talent pipeline, even if they do not sell to consumers directly on a specific premise.

I therefore encourage and expect local authorities to be sympathetic to applications from these types of businesses that have been impacted by covid-19 restrictions but are ineligible for other grant schemes.

26th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Ofcom's review of the future regulatory framework of the independent television production sector; and if he will make a statement.

Ofcom reported on the operation of the television production sector on 23 December. I am now considering that report, and will make a decision in due course.

19th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on the digital single market.

The Department for Business and the Cabinet Office have overall policy responsibility for the Digital Single Market. The Department for Culture Media and Sport leads on telecoms, audio visual policy, IT Security and now Data Protection. The Digital Single Market is a key priority for the UK Government and we welcome its ambition. It offers huge potential for jobs and growth and could increase UK GDP by up to 2%, and it can also benefit citizens, as shown by our recent deal within the European Council on roaming.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking through the national curriculum to help primary school children engage with nature.

The National Curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what schools are expected to cover in each curriculum subject. Teachers use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils the content of the curriculum, tailoring their lessons to the individual needs of the pupils.

The geography and science curricula offer opportunities to teach about nature and related topics. In science at Key Stages 1 and 2, under the topics of ‘Plants’ and ‘Living things and their habitats’, the National Curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to engage with nature and explore the local environment to answer questions on plants and animals in their habitat. In the Key Stage 2 geography curriculum pupils use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

In April 2022, the Department released its Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy which will increase opportunities for pupils to spend time in nature. Key initiatives of this strategy include the National Education Nature Park and Climate Action Award. These programmes will not only engage pupils with the natural world, but will directly involve them in measuring and improving biodiversity in their nursery, school, college or university.

On 18 May, the Department announced £15 million in funding will be provided to nurseries, schools and colleges to create opportunities for outdoor education in natural settings. The funding boost will help them to develop the biodiversity of their site.

The Department will continue to work across Government to identify opportunities for children and young people to access education in natural settings.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of introducing a statutory registration system for children not in school on home educators.

The Department completed all relevant and required impact assessments when the Children Not in School measures were part of the Schools Bill.

The Children Not in School measures were subject to a thorough equalities impact assessment, which considered the impact on families with different protected characteristics, and a regulatory impact assessment which looked at the impact measures will have on businesses and charities. A summary of these impact assessments have been published online as part of the Schools Bill impact assessment document, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-bill-impact-assessment.

The Department also conducted a Local Authority new burdens assessment in relation to the implementation and maintenance of the register, and the Department is in the process of finalising our data protection impact assessment with the Information Commissioner’s Office prior to the Schools Bill being discontinued. This remains with the Information Commissioner’s Office for consideration.

When a suitable legislative opportunity arises to take forward the Children Not in School measures, all necessary assessments will be reviewed.

25th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will take steps to encourage local authorities to help children of separated parents maintain a relationship with their grandparents.

Statutory guidance states that local authorities should offer Family Group Conferences to families undergoing or about to undergo care proceedings, with many providing this service before the care proceedings stage. Family Group Conferences allow extended family members to offer their practical support to parents, in order to develop a family plan that meets the needs of and promotes the welfare of the children involved. Under such circumstances, these plans can enable grandparents to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren, where the parents are separated.

A key principle of the Children’s Act 1989 is that children are best looked after within their families. Under certain circumstances, grandparents can become kinship carers of children from separated parents that might otherwise have been taken into care, via informal family arrangements or through legal orders made by the court. In 2011, the department issued statutory guidance for local authorities about supporting kinship carers, explaining that there is no limit on the level of support, including financial support, that local authorities can provide them.

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care published in May 2022 set out recommendations on how the department can further support kinship families. We are now considering these recommendations, including those to create a financial allowance, and will set out an ambitious and detailed response to the recommendations in the review in early 2023.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress her Department has made on increasing the number of school places available for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The department is investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to support local authorities to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision. This represents a significant investment in new high-needs provision. It will support local authorities to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings.

As part of this commitment, in March 2022 the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment, focused on the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. It is ultimately up to local authorities to determine how to best prioritise their funding to address their local priorities.

The £2.6 billion capital investment in high needs provision announced in October 2021 will also help to deliver up to 60 new special and alternative provision free schools. This is in addition to the 48 special free schools already in the pipeline and 90 special free schools already opened.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
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.

19th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans her Department has to meet demand for school places in Somerton and Frome constituency.

Supporting local authorities to ensure sufficient school places continues to be one of the Government’s top priorities. That is why we have committed to spending £7 billion on school places up to 2021, which, along with our investment in the free schools programme, we expect to deliver 600,000 new places. Somerset received £14.6 million of basic need funding between 2011 and 2015, which helped to create almost 3,000 new places between 2010 and 2015. It has also been allocated a further £24.5 million to create the places needed by 2019.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23rd May 2023 to Question 185044 on Flood Control: Somerset, what recent discussions she has had with the Environment Agency about introducing further measures to protect (a) houses and (b) the road network in East Somerset from future flash flooding caused by high rainfall.

The significant rainfall event that occurred on 9 May in Somerset resulted in ‘flash flooding’ due to the intensity of rainfall that occurred in a very localised area, causing fluvial and surface water flooding.

In England the Environment Agency (EA) has the strategic overview for flood risk and managing the risk from main rivers, reservoirs and the sea, and lead local flood authorities are responsible for local flood risk management, covering the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

The Government is acting to drive down flood risk from every angle. In March 2020 we announced a record £5.2 billion investment over six years in flood and coastal erosion schemes to better protect communities across England. Around half of the schemes funded by the programme will be delivered by the EA and half by other risk management authorities, such as lead local flood authorities. Schemes within this investment programme in the local area include: property flood resilience measures to be installed at residential properties in Isle Brewers, Nunney and Frome; pump replacements at the Huish, Long Load, Midleney & Westover, pumping stations; and safety repairs at West Moor Reservoir.

Following the 2021 flooding in Chard and Ilminster, the EA in collaboration with Somerset lead local flood authority has secured funding to undertake a number of strategic flood risk studies to identify longer term steps to better manage flood risk in these areas. This work is due to start this financial year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions her Department has had with wildlife trusts to help support engaging with nature through volunteering.

Our aim is for more people, from all backgrounds, to engage with and spend time in green and blue spaces in their everyday lives. We recognise the important role that volunteers play in protecting and enhancing the natural environment. The Landscapes Review has proposed expanding volunteering in our protected landscapes, and we fully support this initiative.

We are actively exploring various avenues to support and promote volunteer engagement in nature conservation. For example, through our Access For All programme, we are facilitating the purchase of specialist equipment that enables volunteers of all abilities to take part in conservation activities. This not only helps protect and enhance the natural environment but also contributes to the volunteers' mental and physical well-being. The Wildlife Trusts are a key member of our Access and Engagement Forum, where we discuss the progress and development of this programme amongst others.

We remain committed to collaborating with a wide range of organisations, including wildlife trusts, to encourage and facilitate volunteering opportunities in the natural world.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that Somerset is more resilient to future flood risk.

Somerset has seen significant investment in recent years and has benefitted from the formation of the Somerset Rivers Authority partnership. Over £80 million of investment since 2014 in flood risk interventions helps the Environment Agency better manage flooding. It allows the Environment Agency to take pre-emptive action to delay the onset of flooding, to evacuate the waters more effectively. Together this enables communities to be more resilient and to recover more rapidly from flooding. The below investment was delivered in 2014/15:

  • £6m on dredging, financed by DEFRA, delivered by the Environment Agency
  • £20m on raising roads and drainage improvements financed by Department of Transport delivered by Somerset County Council
  • £20m on repairing flood damage to assets from Defra Flood defence grant-in-aid
  • £13m on improvements to the Sowy and Kings Sedgemoor Drain from Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
  • £3.5m on Pumping station extra capacity and improvements at Aller and Westonzoyland
  • £500k improvements to the Parrett and Tone hydraulic model.

The Environment Agency are continuing to invest in Somerset, this includes maintaining existing defences and also helping communities to adapt and become more resilient in the face of a changing climate. Ongoing investment includes:

  • Bridgwater Tidal Barrier scheme – investment of over £128m – Operational barrier by 2026.
  • Dunball Sluice refurbishment – total investment of around £3.6m. Delivery by 2024
  • Pumping Station upgrades – Project to invest around £5.5m. Complete by 2025
  • Reservoir improvement investment (public safety) – Investment Program of £19m – Delivery complete by 2027
  • Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation Improvements – Council have agreed £6m funding in 3 interventions:

1. River Tone left bank defence improvements, Frieze Hill to Town Bridge

2. Raising of Firepool lockgate and defences between the River Tone and the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal (TTC10)

3. Longrun Meadows - optimising flood water storage.

Communities in Ilminster, Chard and Minehead are also benefitting from recently approved investment to help reduce flood risk. The Environment Agency and Somerset Council have secured funding from the Frequently Flooded Allowance fund to carry out investigative studies on what future flood risk interventions are required.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) homes and (b) businesses in Somerset were affected by flooding in each of the last 10 years.

Property Flooding Overview

Year

Number of Properties Flooded

2011

15

2012

11

2013

2

2014

173

2015

0

2016

22

2017

10

2018

0

2019

0

2020

26

2021

45

Total

304

The above table shows the number of properties flooded during the last 10 years across both business and homes, and includes all sources of flooding – surface water, fluvial and coastal. The source of most of the data comes from Somerset Council report produced post flooding which is why the information is not split between homes and businesses. These reports are produced as part of the Flood & Water Management Act 2010. The reports from 2022 have not yet been published, although the Environment Agency are not aware of any properties flooding in Somerset during 2022.

For 2023 the Environment Agency estimated that 5 properties flooded in January and around 120 properties flooded in May, however they are working with Somerset Council to confirm exact numbers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the resilience of flood protection measures in (a) Somerset, (b) East Somerset and (c) the River Cam catchment area during the winter of 2022–23.

Much of Somerset is below sea level and many of its rivers are raised above the ground, so it will always be at risk of coastal and fluvial flooding. In January 2023, the Environment Agency put in place the largest temporary pumping operation in its history on the Somerset Levels and Moors. In combination with the innovative way water was managed through the system, this meant that on this occasion, widespread flooding of property was avoided.

During the Spring, East Somerset has experienced some of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the area. This has led to roads becoming unpassable, and in the case of the River Cam, around 100 houses flooding. In all cases, the flood protection measures performed as designed, but were overwhelmed by the volume and intensity of rainfall.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact of sewage spillages on river water quality.

We have been consistently clear that the failure of water companies to adequately reduce sewage discharges is totally unacceptable. That is why in August 2022, we published the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan - the most ambitious plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows in water company history.

Environment Agency data shows that 7% of waterbodies in England failed to reach Good Ecological Status because of storm overflows in 2019, a significant contribution to the 36% affected by the wider water industry. This compares to agriculture affecting 40% of water bodies and urban and transport affecting 18%.

We are committed to increasing transparency. We have increased the number of storm overflows monitored across the network from 7% in 2010 to 91% in 2022, and we will reach 100% cover by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, we launched our consultation on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring and Event Duration Monitoring. This outlines the Government’s proposals to enhance the monitoring of storm overflow and final effluent discharges.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps she has taken with Cabinet colleagues to support apple and pear growers in Somerset.

We have supported, and will continue to support, apple and pear growers through multiple avenues. This includes establishing the seasonal worker visa route, the Independent Review of Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain, a review of automation in horticulture, and working across Government on energy support. Support for the development of new methods and technologies is available through the Farming Innovation Programme and help to improve environment sustainability and productivity can be sought through the Farming Investment Fund. Apple and pear growers can also benefit from our Environmental Land Management schemes.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)