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Written Question
Green Belt: Conservation
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that agricultural land on Green Belts is being preserved for agricultural purposes.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

Farming efficiently and improving the environment will be rewarded through our future farming policy. The Government recognises the need to protect the natural assets which are essential to the production of food in this country.

We regularly assess the effectiveness of environmental protections and work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that planning supports agriculture and food production as well as protecting and enhancing the environment. This is reflected in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework requires local planning authorities to take into account all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.

We are committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, as set out in our manifesto, which is created by local authorities to prevent urban sprawl and the merging of settlements. Green Belt policy in the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that open land is an essential characteristic of Green Belt, and that most new buildings in a Green Belt are inappropriate and should be refused planning permission unless justified by very special circumstances.


Written Question
Green Belt: Environment Protection
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of special environmental protection for agricultural land in the Green Belt.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

Farming efficiently and improving the environment will be rewarded through our future farming policy. The Government recognises the need to protect the natural assets which are essential to the production of food in this country.

We regularly assess the effectiveness of environmental protections and work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that planning supports agriculture and food production as well as protecting and enhancing the environment. This is reflected in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework requires local planning authorities to take into account all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.

We are committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, as set out in our manifesto, which is created by local authorities to prevent urban sprawl and the merging of settlements. Green Belt policy in the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that open land is an essential characteristic of Green Belt, and that most new buildings in a Green Belt are inappropriate and should be refused planning permission unless justified by very special circumstances.


Written Question
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Chilterns
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of potential merits of expanding the Chilterns Area of National Beauty to include the areas of Colne Valley Regional Park and Burnham Beeches.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Natural England, the statutory advisor to the Government on landscape, announced in June 2021 an ambitious Landscape Designations Programme. This programme includes consideration of an extension of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The proposal submitted to Natural England for consideration to extend the Chilterns AONB includes Burnham Beeches. Before any technical designation assessments are carried out,an evidence-based area of search will be agreed with partners. The purpose of agreeing an area of search is to ensure areas that are considered likely to meet the designation criteria are included in the assessments. Inclusion of the Colne Valley would be considered at the time of determining the area of search.


Written Question
Housing: Green Belt
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what impact assessments his Department has undertaken on the effect of the Government's proposed changes to planning on the preservation of Green Belt.

Answered by Christopher Pincher

The Government will continue to protect the Green Belt in line with our manifesto commitment. The new method for calculating local housing need introduced last year and reforms to the planning system through the Planning Bill will not change national planning policy on the protection of Green Belt. Local communities will still use local plan policies to establish and protect their Green Belts, and the National Planning Policy Framework will remain a material consideration. The Government has also made clear that local authorities should consider local constraints, such as Green Belt, in the process of planning for new homes.


Written Question
Housing: Green Belt
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the preservation of the Green Belt of increased housing targets in the Government's proposed changes to planning.

Answered by Christopher Pincher

The Government will continue to protect the Green Belt in line with our manifesto commitment. The new method for calculating local housing need introduced last year and reforms to the planning system through the Planning Bill will not change national planning policy on the protection of Green Belt. Local communities will still use local plan policies to establish and protect their Green Belts, and the National Planning Policy Framework will remain a material consideration. The Government has also made clear that local authorities should consider local constraints, such as Green Belt, in the process of planning for new homes.


Written Question
Property Development: Buckinghamshire
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of construction developments in the Ivers on (a) biodiversity and (b) local wildlife welfare.

Answered by Christopher Pincher

We do not centrally hold information on the potential effect of individual developments. The potential effects of developments are to be considered by local planning authorities as part of the plan-making and decision-taking process. Our partners in local government have the requisite local knowledge that allows them to make the best decisions for their own areas when it comes to development.

The Government has pledged that this generation will leave the natural environment in a better state than when we inherited it. To contribute towards this goal, the Environment Bill will legislate for mandatory 10% biodiversity net gain as a condition of most new development. Ensuring new development leads to more nature, not less, the Government will additionally legislate to introduce biodiversity net gain for new Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in England through an amendment to the Environment Bill.

The reformed planning system will continue to protect the places of environmental and cultural value which matter to us. In line with the ambitions in our 25 Year Environment Plan, we want the reformed system to play a proactive role in promoting environmental recovery and long-term sustainability.


Written Question
Nurses: Coronavirus
3 Feb 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to recognise the work of nursing apprentices in tackling the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Helen Whately

The National Health Service workforce deserves our recognition and support. We are proud of all staff, including nursing apprentices, who have provided world-class care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Trainee nursing staff have adapted and developed new skills and practices at pace.

Over 320 health and social care workers were recently recognised in the Birthday Honours and New Year’s honour’s list. We also want to make the NHS the best place to work. The NHS People Plan, published last July, puts the health and wellbeing at its core with a new support package for NHS staff.


Written Question
Apprentices: Vocational Guidance
3 Feb 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to to encourage students to take up (a) nursing apprenticeships and (b) other vital vocational apprenticeships following the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow in light of COVID-19.

To help employers offer new apprenticeships, as part of the government's Plan for Jobs, they are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over. As set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at Spending Review, we have extended the eligibility period for these incentives until 31 March 2021, continuing our support for employers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nursing apprenticeships offer a high-quality work-based route into the profession, in addition to the established higher education route. There is now a complete apprentice pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate-level from Nursing Associate at Level 5 to Registered Nurse at Level 6. Other standards available include District Nurse and Community Public Health Nurse. A full list of apprenticeship standards can be found here: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/?.

In the first quarter of the 2020/21 academic year, there have been 560 starts on the ‘Registered Nurse – Degree’ apprenticeship standard and 1,660 starts on the ‘Nursing Associate’ apprenticeship standard.

In August 2020, the government announced a new financial package worth £172 million, to support employers to increase participation in nursing degree apprenticeships over the next four years. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimate this will enable 2,000 nurse degree apprentice starts in the 2020/21 academic year.

We are working closely with DHSC, employers and stakeholders to make sure the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices it needs to deliver high-quality care.

To encourage students to consider nursing and other vital vocational apprenticeships, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
18 Jan 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the primary focus of Government school policy is the interests of parents and pupils during the national lockdown.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department recognises that face to face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. The Department has resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we need to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance during the national lockdown will support the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

During the period of national lockdown, schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. If critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time, then they should do so. The Department expects schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place, if this is required, to enable them to provide vital services. The Department encourages all vulnerable children to attend.

Schools should also continue to offer wraparound provision, such as breakfast and afterschool clubs, for those children eligible to attend school so that parents and carers who are critical workers can continue to work.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students, with the exception of vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, who can attend school or college in person. Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school, we expect schools to provide them with remote education.

The Department has updated the remote education guidance for schools and colleges to clarify and strengthen expectations while on site attendance is restricted, drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education. With most pupils now having to learn remotely and schools having made huge progress in developing their remote education provision, it is right that we increase the expectations on what pupils receive so that we mitigate the impact of children being out of school. The Department’s expectation for remote education provision has also been updated in this guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-good-practice/remote-education-good-practice.

The Department knows this will be a challenging time for pupils and their families. On 8 January we published guidance, “What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges”, to provide parents with the latest information: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951035/210108_Parents_Guidance_vF.pdf. The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.


Written Question
Primary Education: Coronavirus
18 Jan 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that primary schools, identified as a lower transmission risk, can reopen to all children as soon as possible.

Answered by Nick Gibb

Head teachers, teachers, and staff of schools, nurseries and colleges have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep schools safe, and provide education for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. On 7 January, the Department published further guidance which sets out what schools will need to do during this new period of national lockdown. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. The Department has resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we need to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance during the national lockdown will support the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, colleges and wraparound childcare and other out-of-school activities for children should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils and students should not attend and should learn remotely.

The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.


Written Question
Remote Education: Buckinghamshire
18 Jan 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of school closures on children with limited or no broadband connectivity in Buckinghamshire.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

This includes over 750,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by the end of last week.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most, during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

All schools in Buckinghamshire have been invited to order their allocation of laptops and tablets and to request connectivity support. As of the 12 January, 834 devices have been delivered directly to Buckinghamshire local authority. Devices have also been allocated to academy trusts that have schools in Buckinghamshire.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.

Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools can request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Buckinghamshire
11 Jan 2021

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has made for the roll out of the covid-19 vaccine in Buckinghamshire; and what the timetable is for that roll out.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

The National Health Service (NHS) has a tried and tested track record for delivering vaccination programmes and is working with existing partners across the healthcare system to ensure the safe and effective deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine across every region of the United Kingdom.

Alongside local partners, the NHS has been working to ensure fair access and maximum uptake of the vaccine which is why it has developed three different models of delivery. Included in this are hospital hubs, local vaccination services and vaccination centres. More than 730 vaccination sites have already been established across the UK and hundreds more are opening shortly to take the total to over 1,000.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: Felixstowe Port
22 Dec 2020

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to clear the backlog of containers being used to store PPE at the Port of Felixstowe and remove that PPE to warehouse storage and free the containers to be returned to destination to carry further supplies.

Answered by Jo Churchill

We have cleared the backlog of containers containing personal protective equipment at Felixstowe and are now managing the expected flow of containers that continue to arrive.

Our United Kingdom storage network is comprised of warehousing environments and off-quay container storage facilities combined with rental containers, all of which are being utilised to enable the release of containers back to the shipping lines.


Written Question
Shipping
22 Dec 2020

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) the UK has access to sufficient shipping capacity and (b) capacity is not being withheld to manipulate shipping costs.

Answered by Robert Courts

Shipping is a global commercial market, and shipping lines will adjust their operations and pricing to take account of demand and market fluctuations. Shipping lines are currently facing a period of exceptional demand versus capacity that is causing price rises on an international level, and causing operational challenges worldwide.

This includes operations into and out of the UK and Europe. Whilst this remains predominantly a commercial issue for the market to resolve, Government is liaising closely with shipping lines and ports to encourage mitigations and management of operations to minimise the impacts on the UK wherever possible.


Written Question
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers
18 Dec 2020

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to introduce (a) programmes for people to retrain as qualified HGV drivers and (b) other schemes to tackle the shortage of those drivers.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that HGV drivers who are out of work can find employment as quickly as possible. The Flexible Support Fund is available for unemployed drivers who need to renew their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC).

In addition, we are working with the sector to develop a suite of Trailblazer Apprenticeships to help them make the most of the apprenticeship levy. We have also provided a grant to Road to Logistics, a non-profit organisation, seeking to train ex-service personnel, the long term unemployed and ex-offenders to drive lorries.