Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Tim Farron (LDEM - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Labour
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Plaid Cymru
Ben Lake (PC - Ceredigion)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Labour
Baroness Hayman of Ullock (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Luke Pollard (LAB - Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Scottish National Party
Deidre Brock (SNP - Edinburgh North and Leith)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Daniel Zeichner (LAB - Cambridge)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Olivia Blake (LAB - Sheffield, Hallam)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ministers of State
Victoria Prentis (CON - Banbury)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (CON - Life peer)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Rebecca Pow (CON - Taunton Deane)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lord Benyon (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Jo Churchill (CON - Bury St Edmunds)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
14:00
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
Fisheries Negotiations
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
15:45
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
19 Oct 2021, 3:45 p.m.
Organics (Equivalence and Control Bodies Listing) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill: Consideration of Lords Amendments
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 20th October 2021
10:00
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
20 Oct 2021, 10 a.m.

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Scheduled Event
Thursday 21st October 2021
10:30
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
21 Oct 2021, 10:30 a.m.
Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill - consideration of Commons amendments
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Thursday 14th October 2021
Culling of Pigs
Lords Chamber
Select Committee Docs
Friday 8th October 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Labour shortages in the food and farming sector

There have been reports of labour shortages affecting some businesses throughout the food and farming sector, for example:

  • farms have …
Written Answers
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Palm Oil: Production
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their analysis of the impact of palm-oil production on (1) indigenous small farmers, …
Secondary Legislation
Tuesday 28th September 2021
Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Periods) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
These Regulations amend the Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Periods) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/809) to remove one of the provisions …
Bills
Tuesday 8th June 2021
Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from …
Dept. Publications
Thursday 14th October 2021
18:41

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Jul. 22
Oral Questions
May. 22
Urgent Questions
Sep. 15
Westminster Hall
Jul. 19
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


A bill to make provision in relation to fisheries, fishing, aquaculture and marine conservation; to make provision about the functions of the Marine Management Organisation; and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 23rd November 2020 and was enacted into law.


This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 11th November 2020 and was enacted into law.


To make provision for the incorporation of the Direct Payments Regulation into domestic law; for enabling an increase in the total maximum amount of direct payments under that Regulation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 30th January 2020 and was enacted into law.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations amend the Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Periods) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/809) to remove one of the provisions appointing the end date in England and Wales for “the transitional staging period” (defined in Annex 6 to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (EUR 2017/625)) in respect of documentary checks for products of animal origin and certain types of animal by-product.
These Regulations amend Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the integrated administration and control system, rural development measures and cross compliance (EUR 2014/809) to reduce cross compliance inspection requirements for direct payment schemes in England for claim year 2021 from 1% to 0.5%. The amendment is made in consideration of the situation caused by the coronavirus. A similar change was made for claim year 2020.
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secondary Legislation

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).

Trending Petitions
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(15,283 in the last 7 days)
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Petitions with most signatures
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104,396 Signatures
(15,283 in the last 7 days)
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83,019 Signatures
(1,415 in the last 7 days)
Petition Debates Contributed

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Neil Parish Portrait
Neil Parish (Conservative - Tiverton and Honiton)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Derek Thomas Portrait
Derek Thomas (Conservative - St Ives)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Julian Sturdy Portrait
Julian Sturdy (Conservative - York Outer)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Sheryll Murray Portrait
Sheryll Murray (Conservative - South East Cornwall)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robbie Moore Portrait
Robbie Moore (Conservative - Keighley)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Neil Hudson Portrait
Neil Hudson (Conservative - Penrith and The Border)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rosie Duffield Portrait
Rosie Duffield (Labour - Canterbury)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Dave Doogan Portrait
Dave Doogan (Scottish National Party - Angus)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Geraint Davies Portrait
Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Byrne Portrait
Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Barry Gardiner Portrait
Barry Gardiner (Labour - Brent North)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 8th June 2020
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
Fisheries Negotiations
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
20 Oct 2021, 10 a.m.
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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition
21 Oct 2021, 10:30 a.m.
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50 most recent 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

6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their analysis of the impact of palm-oil production on (1) indigenous small farmers, (2) global climate, (3) food manufacturing, and (4) consumer diets and health.

To inform our policies on palm oil, the Government draws on the analysis of experts and NGOs, as well as working with the UK roundtable on sustainable palm oil, and the work of certification schemes like Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. In addition, we utilise government programming like Partnerships for Forests and the independent Global Resource Initiative to help inform policies on palm oil and on supply chains more widely.

This analysis has indicated that palm oil can be associated with negative environmental impacts, such as deforestation, land conversion and associated climate impacts. However, it also shows that oil palm is a very efficient crop, producing more oil per hectare than other vegetable oil crops. Substitution with other oils (e.g. soybean, rapeseed, sunflower), which typically require significantly more land to produce, may lead to greater deforestation as more land is converted to agricultural use. More than 3 million smallholder farmers make a living from palm oil, providing 40% of total production, and palm oil is important for food security in many countries

Certifiably sustainable palm oil increases traceability and transparency through the supply chain, supporting manufacturers and retail to make more informed decisions about their sourcing, and allowing them to source from producers with a lower environmental footprint. The UK’s Partnership for Forests programme includes support to develop new standards for the sustainable production of palm oil, and support to test new ways of growing oil palm that brings greater benefits to local communities and protects forests.

Finally, palm oil is an important part of food production globally. We want the entire supply chain to help to deliver healthier food and encourage healthy eating. To that end, our Food Strategy White Paper will build on existing policy work such as that developed under the Agriculture Act, and the obesity strategy, to help ensure our food system delivers healthy and affordable food for all people and is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist local authority waste and recycling departments with driver shortages.

We are aware of some current impacts driver shortages are having on local authorities. We continue to work with the Department for Transport and the other departments to resolve this.

The Government recently announced a significant package of measures, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence, and increased capacity for HGV driving tests. As driver shortages across Europe demonstrate, this is a widespread problem caused by a range of factors, including an ageing workforce.

We are moving to a high wage, high skilled economy and the government is encouraging all sectors to adapt and make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options and wage increases. The waste sector is already making good strides in this, highlighting that many rounds can be conducted close to home with defined hours, promoting a healthy work/life balance.

More information about the measures we are taking to tackle the haulier shortage is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-support-to-help-people-to-become-hgv-drivers-among-package-of-government-measures-to-ease-risk-of-shortages

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the quantity of (1) brassicas, (2) salad foodstuffs, (3) fruit, and (4) vegetables, that remain unpicked due to a shortage of workers; and what impact they expect this to have on (a) food prices, and (b) the Consumer Price Index.

The Government recognises the importance of a reliable source of labour for crop picking and packing, and that it is a key part of bringing in the harvest for the horticultural sector. Defra is working closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, and to help our world-leading growers access the labour they need to ensure our crops are picked and not wasted.

On 22 December 2020, the Government extended the Seasonal Workers Pilot into 2021, with up to 30,000 visas available, granted for workers to come to the UK, from EU or non-EU countries, for a period of up to 6 months to pick and package fruit and vegetables on our farms.

In 2021 and beyond, agricultural and food businesses continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.3 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme and EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do seasonal work in the horticulture sector in 2021.

Defra is working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers. All horticultural and agricultural businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through DWP’s Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies. The DWP does not charge for this service and it is available across the United Kingdom.

Defra is leading on a review of automation in horticulture, which will cover both the edible and ornamental sectors in England. The review will work alongside the extended and expanded Seasonal Workers Pilot - and Defra’s efforts to attract more UK residents into agricultural work – to support the overall aim of reducing the sector’s dependency on seasonal migrant labour.

Defra monitors both wholesale fruit and vegetable prices, and food prices on a weekly basis using the Office for National Statistics’ experimental food price indices, as well as on a monthly and annual basis using Consumer Price Index (including Housing Costs). Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates. Changes in food prices are dependent on changes in any of these factors.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the delivery timeline of environmental land management schemes will ensure timely access to new payments for farmers moving on from old payments.

The first Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot agreements will start this year. Then, next year we will start to rollout core elements of the SFI, expanding those elements until we have the full offer available in 2024/2025. Importantly, we are running Countryside Stewardship and the SFI in parallel, and both are open to new and existing scheme agreement holders, though we will not fund the same action twice.

The final round of Countryside Stewardship will open in 2023, with agreements starting on 1 January 2024. We plan to start a phased rollout of the Local Nature Recovery scheme from 2023. We will be launching at least ten Landscape Recovery projects between 2022 and 2024. This makes us confident that the full environmental land management offer will be on tap before the end of the transition period.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment he has made of the support available to farmers (a) under environmental land management schemes and (b) in the countries with which the Government is pursuing free trade deals.

We are undertaking an assessment of our proposed reforms to the agricultural industry as they are developed, including the impact of our future schemes that reward environmental land management. It is our intention to publish a comprehensive assessment in due course.

The Government also produces and publishes analysis for each new free trade agreement it pursues and is committed to publishing a full impact assessment following the conclusion of negotiations prior to implementation of an agreement.

The OECD publishes an annual agricultural policy monitoring and evaluation report which contains estimates of support to agriculture. One metric of particular interest from that publication is the ‘producer support estimate’ (PSE) as a percentage of receipts. As an example, it shows that for the UK the PSE is approximately 20% of receipts compared with 1% in New Zealand and 2% in Australia.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to grant new regulatory powers to councils to combat non-transport related pollution.

Local authorities already have powers to require controls on many non-transport sources of pollution through environmental permitting. Through the Environment Bill we are strengthening the Local Air Quality Management framework to broaden the range of partners required to work with local authorities to tackle local sources of pollution, and making it easier for local authorities to use their powers to tackle domestic solid fuel burning. We will continue to work with local authorities to review existing powers and build capability.

There are already emission standards that Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) must comply with before they are sold, and the Government recently agreed to increase the stringency of these standards. Defra also recently completed a research project aimed at improving the evidence base on emissions from NRMM, and we are currently considering next steps. We have introduced Medium Combustion Plant and Specified Generator controls which require new generators to meet nitrogen oxide emission limits from January 2019.   Further, since October 2019, operators of existing diesel generators which may pose a risk to local air quality have been required to hold an environmental permit and comply with permit conditions to protect local air quality.

New solid fuel boilers placed on the market after 31 December 2019 must comply with the requirements of Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2015/1189 and new regulations will also come into force in 2022 which mean that all new stoves sold in England will need to meet agreed, stringent emission standards. This will raise the minimum standard of new appliances across the country.

As outlined in our Clean Air Strategy we will also consider the case for tighter emissions standards for medium combustion plants to those already introduced and to consider how to tackle emissions from smaller plants which do not fall within the scope of these regulations or eco-design regulations.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to coordinate (a) Police and Crime commissioners, (b) the Environment Agency and (c) local police forces to ensure that they are adequately responding to fly-tipping.

Defra is committed to working with partners to stamp out the menace of fly-tipping wherever we can. Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to tackling waste crime, including fly-tipping. Our focus is on enabling local action by providing a clear legal framework of rights, responsibilities and powers and setting national standards.

Local authorities and the Environment Agency are encouraged to work in partnership with national and local police bodies in carrying out their enforcement functions against fly-tipping. Defra are working with a wide range of interested parties through the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG) to raise awareness of fly-tipping and to develop a fly-tipping toolkit. Members of the NFTPG include local authorities, the National Police Chiefs Council and the Environment Agency. The toolkit will support partnership working, intelligence sharing, dealing with fly-tipping associated with unauthorised encampments and the use of technology to report fly-tipping.

In the Environment Bill, we are bringing forward measures to go further, giving agencies and authorities enhanced powers of entry and access to evidence to strengthen their ability to tackle waste crime, and enhancing our ability to track waste and to crack down on rogue operators.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the evidence presented in the BBC Panorama documentary, entitled The Dark Side of Horse Racing, broadcast on 24 July 2021, that some horses are travelling from Ireland to Great Britain to be slaughtered, whether his Department has plans to review its policy and legislation on the distance travelled by horses for slaughter in response to that evidence; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare during transport.

We consulted earlier this year on a wide range of proposals to improve how animals are transported in England and Wales, including reduced journey times for horses. In August we published a joint response, with the Welsh Government, to the consultation[1] outlining how we will be taking reforms forward.

[1] Improvements to animal welfare in transport: summary of responses and government response (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to tackle littering in coastal areas.

Local councils are responsible for keeping public land clear of litter and Defra is committed to supporting them in doing so. We published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter. We have almost doubled the maximum fixed penalty fine for littering to £150. Through a recent grant scheme administered by the environmental charity WRAP, we have also awarded almost £1m to local councils to provide new litter bins. We have been proud to support national clean-up days such as the Great British Spring Clean and the Great British Beach Clean, and we will continue do so in future. Measures in the Environment Bill, including the Deposit Return Scheme and restrictions on single-use plastic items, will also provide significant additional support to local councils in tackling this issue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the amount of discarded fishing gear from foreign fishing fleets around the UK coastline.

The UK is committed to protecting the marine environment. However, due to the transboundary nature of marine litter from discarded fishing gear and the challenges around identifying the provenance of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, we have not made an estimate of the amount of discarded fishing gear from foreign fishing fleets around the UK coastline.

Under the Merchant Shipping Regulations on the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships (2020), the discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited with very limited exceptions. In all cases the discharge of plastic is prohibited. These regulations bring the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships (MARPOL Annex V) into UK law.

The Regulations require fishing vessels to record the discharge or loss of fishing gear in the Garbage Record Book or ship’s logbook and to report the accidental loss or discharge of fishing gear which poses a significant threat to the marine environment or navigation. Under the Merchant Shipping Regulations it is an offence to fail to report the discharge of fishing gear which poses a significant threat to the marine environment or navigation to (a) the ship’s flag State and (b) any coastal state who has jurisdiction over the waters where the loss or discharge occurs.

The UK collects data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters including on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methodologies agreed through the OSPAR Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/

Recognising the scale, urgency and transboundary nature of the global action needed to tackle marine plastic litter and microplastics, the UK this year has driven the G7 to commit to step up international action to tackle ghost gear, including an agreement to support organisations such as the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and agreement to carefully consider the recommendations of the UK commissioned OECD report ‘Towards G7 Action to Combat Ghost Fishing gear’. The communique and OECD Ghost Gear report can be found here: G7 Climate and Environment Ministers' meeting, May 2021: communiqué - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with representatives of the Northern Irish fishing industry about the effect of (1) the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, and (2) the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, on the fishing industry.

(1) Since 1 January 2021 the UK Government has met and engaged in written correspondence with representatives of the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation and the Northern Ireland (NI) Fish Producers Organisation on the effect of the Protocol. Minister Victoria Prentis has also met with NI Members of Parliament, Minister Walker and Minister Poots to discuss NI fishers and industry.

Officials in both Defra and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in NI continue to collaborate and to engage with NI fishers on operationalising the Protocol.

(2) Representatives from all regions of the UK industry were briefed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement earlier this year.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to involve (a) Leicestershire and (b) other food and drink producing counties in the development of a marketing strategy for British food exports.

The Government has a manifesto commitment that ‘we want people, both at home and abroad, to be lining up to buy British’.

We are working with the sector to raise domestic and international awareness of the UK’s growing reputation for high-quality food and drink produced to high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability. This will provide a catalyst for growth for all regions of the UK and increase global recognition of the UK as an innovative food nation.

Defra works in tandem with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Cabinet Office to deliver the food and drink pillar of the GREAT campaign, which helps businesses to succeed in overseas markets by building global recognition of UK excellence in food and drink. The campaign showcases exemplar food and drink products from all parts of the UK, including quality local and protected food and drink from our regions. For example, in recent activity we have highlighted traditional Melton Mowbray pork pies, Red Leicester cheese and craft gin from Leicestershire.

The GREAT food and drink campaign is focused on priority markets, including the USA, China, Japan and the UAE. Activity is being planned across all priority markets for the coming year, where we will work with UK businesses and UK overseas posts to promote the best of UK food and drink on the international stage.

In addition, the Government is appointing more dedicated ‘agri-food attachés’ to act as representatives on the ground to unlock key markets across the world. This will build on the excellent teams already working in our Embassies around the world.

We are also establishing a Food and Drink Exports Council to work collaboratively to expand our food and drink exports strategy. In tandem, we are strengthening our technical expertise as well as our farmers and producers’ understanding of export markets to ensure that food and drink exporters are able to benefit from market opportunities.

We are providing food and drink companies with advice and tools to build export capability. DIT recently launched its Open Doors campaign with a focus on the food and drink sector. This provides companies with access to online tutorials, webinars, mentoring and specialist advice to help them capitalise on export opportunities across the world.

Taken together, this range of initiatives will support food and drink businesses from across the UK to access growing opportunities to export.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that UK food security is incorporated into the Government’s national emergency preparedness.

Food supply is one of the UK's 13 Critical National Infrastructure sectors. Defra and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are joint Lead Government Departments (LGDs), Defra leading on supply and the FSA on food safety. As such we work closely with the Cabinet Office and other LGDs ensuring food supply is fully incorporated as part of emergency preparedness, including consideration of dependencies on other sectors.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including robust supply chains domestically, and from a diverse range of other stable countries. We produce 60% of our entire food supply need, and that increases to 74% for indigenous food that we can grow or rear here in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have been steady over the past 20 years. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra and the FSA have well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

The Government has a duty to report triennially on food security in Section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020. The reports will cover a range of current issues relevant to food security including the resilience of the food supply chain. The first such report is due to be published before 25th December 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to maintain UK (a) food security and (b) self-sufficiency in key food products.

Food supply is one of the UK's 13 Critical National Infrastructure sectors. Defra and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are joint Lead Government Departments (LGDs), Defra leading on supply and the FSA on food safety. As such we work closely with the Cabinet Office and other LGDs ensuring food supply is fully incorporated as part of emergency preparedness, including consideration of dependencies on other sectors.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including robust supply chains domestically, and from a diverse range of other stable countries. We produce 60% of our entire food supply need, and that increases to 74% for indigenous food that we can grow or rear here in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have been steady over the past 20 years. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra and the FSA have well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

The Government has a duty to report triennially on food security in Section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020. The reports will cover a range of current issues relevant to food security including the resilience of the food supply chain. The first such report is due to be published before 25th December 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to reduce methane and CO2 emissions from animal agriculture in order to help meet the UK's net zero emissions target.

The Government is committed to take action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impact. We are introducing three schemes that reward environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Together, these schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through these schemes, farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering public goods, including adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

The Agricultural Transition Plan outlined how the government will support farmers and land managers by investing the money freed up from phasing out direct payments to pay for improvements to the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

Defra takes a key role in supporting emissions reduction by providing scientific advice and evidence. This includes long term breeding work to develop more efficient, productive and resilient crops and livestock, as well as research on more efficient feeding strategies for livestock. Innovation in livestock feeds is resulting in promising technologies to reduce methane emissions. We have commissioned work to holistically evaluate suitability, scalability and net mitigation effects of methane-inhibiting livestock feed supplements in a UK context.

More detail on the Government plans to help the UK meet its climate targets will be set out in the Net Zero strategy, to be published ahead of COP26.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage local public sector bodies to procure locally produced food.

We have a manifesto commitment to encourage the public sector to buy British. To help meet this commitment, we will be consulting on proposals to strengthen the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services early in 2022. The consultation will seek views on ways to promote greater take-up of local produce and make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.

We are also working across Government to identify and trial innovative approaches to public food procurement. This includes a pilot in the South West, in collaboration with Crown Commercial Services, aimed at simplifying the route into the public sector for local and sustainable SME businesses. If successful, the trial could be rolled out nationally, extending opportunities to food producers from all regions and nations of the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support innovation and the use of new technology by farmers.

The Government is investing to unlock innovation and translate our world leading research into practical farmer-led solutions that improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of agriculture and move towards net zero emission farming systems.

Our £90 million investment in the ‘Transforming Food Production’ (TFP) challenge, launched in 2018, is supporting ground-breaking research and development so farmers will be able to harness the latest technology to produce high quality food, increase their productivity and move towards net zero emission farming systems by 2040. This will put the UK at the forefront of advanced sustainable agriculture and food production while reducing emissions, pollution, waste and soil erosion.

We have also recently launched a £14.5 million Defra-funded collaborative agricultural Research & Development competition ‘Farming Innovation Pathways’ targeting existing and new farm focused innovation, which will also be delivered through the TFP initiative.

In Autumn we are building on this momentum and launching a new R&D funding package for England as part of the proposed measures to stimulate innovation and boost sustainable productivity in agriculture and horticulture as we move away from the CAP system of farming subsidy payments. The Farming Innovation Programme will de-risk industry investment in innovation and pull-through R&D to deliver farmer-led solutions to common challenges and opportunities. Our ambitious proposals for future investment in R&D for England will enable more farmers and agri-food businesses to become involved in R&D, maximising the impact of investment and improving the take up of innovation on farms.

Later this year we will also be opening the new Farming Investment Fund which will provide grants to farmers, foresters and growers (including contractors to these sectors) so that they can invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help their businesses to prosper, while improving their productivity and enhancing the environment. These grants will help producers to focus on more efficient production methods that will reduce resource costs, improve yields, and give them a better return.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the effective operation of food and drink supply chains in the context of labour shortages.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including robust supply chains domestically, and from other countries. Government has well established ways of working with the industry monitor and address risks that may arise. Measures currently in place to ease supply chain pressures include a relaxation to driver's hours rules and food retail delivery hours restrictions. Up to 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 HGV drivers transporting food and fuel will be able to enter the UK for work in the lead up to Christmas 2021. Defra continues to work closely across Government and with key stakeholders to assess how we can best facilitate food supply sectors to operate normally through this period.

The Government is also working closely with the industry on specific measures to support the logistics sector as it experiences shortages of qualified HGV drivers, including a package of measures to support recruitment and retention of new drivers.

We are encouraging all industry sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and investment in automation technology. In 2021 and beyond, food and farming businesses also continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.3 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme and EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do work in the food and drink sector in 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the flood prevention measures in place on the Somerset Levels in advance of winter 2021–22.

The Environment Agency (EA) is acutely conscious of the impacts that flooding has on local communities in the Somerset Levels and Moors and is spending around £3 million each year on flood risk management asset operation and maintenance in the Levels and Moors. This financial year, the EA is forecasted to spend £1.3 million on repairing 20 assets in the area and will continue to collaborate with partners through the Somerset Prepared initiative to train community flood wardens and improve local resilience to flooding.

The EA has a sizeable fleet of plant and equipment at the centrally located Bradney Depot, including Ultra High Volume Pumps, sandbags, flood barriers, excavators, and other specialist plant and equipment. It also operates a ‘trigger point’ early warning system on a number of the moors, where incident response activity kicks in well before actual risk to property. This allows the use of permanent pumping stations to be maximised and gives the option of bringing in extra temporary pumping capacity if required, especially at key locations like Currymoor Flood Storage Reservoir.

In addition, construction works are underway to enhance the capacity of the River Sowy/Kings Sedgemoor Drain. These works are being delivered by the EA but funded by the Somerset Rivers Authority and will help reduce the flood risk to a number of communities. This work will be completed before winter.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they define the term “re-wilding” when used in environmental policy.

The concept of ‘rewilding’ is a relatively new and evolving concept and as such, it is currently defined and approached in different ways. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is developing a conceptual and methodological framework for rewilding with the goal of restoring functional native ecosystems, which - where possible - are self-sustaining. We will continue to develop our definition and approach to rewilding working with the IUCN and other expert stakeholders.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees have been planted in England in the last five years.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These can be found in Forestry Statistics and in Provisional Woodland Statistics: 2021 edition on the Forest Research website. These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2020-21.

For all new planting of woodland since 2020-21, there is also a published estimate of the approximate number of trees this represents available from the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators on the gov.uk website.

The areas of new planting (woodland creation) for England taken from the published statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting in England (thousand hectares)

New planting in England (estimated number of trees)

2016-17

1.15

..

2017-18

1.50

..

2018-19

1.42

..

2019-20

2.34

..

2020-21 (provisional)

2.18

4,252,000

2021-22 quarter 1 partial interim report

0.47

926,000

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, grant schemes and with estimates for areas planted without grant aid.

Planting rates in 2020/21 were impacted by Covid-19. The England Tree Action Plan published in May 2021 stated our aim to at least treble tree planting rates in England by end of this Parliament.

Note 1: ‘..’ denotes data not available. Estimates of numbers of trees in newly-planted woodland are incomplete for years before 2020-21.

Note 2: Estimates for areas planted without grant aid are believed to be under-reported and, as a result, the reported figures are likely to under-estimate the true level of planting activity. For England, woodland planting funded by sources other than the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant and the former English Woodland Creation Grant, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the High Speed 2 Woodland Fund, include planting supported by the Woodland Trust, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the National Forest Company, in the Northern Forest, and by the Community Forests.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to reduce toxic landfill by encouraging the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) incineration of waste.

The Government's Resources and Waste Strategy, published in 2018, sets out how we will minimise the damage caused to our natural environment by reducing and managing waste safely and carefully. A key principle is to prevent waste in the first place, in keeping with the waste hierarchy, which ranks options for waste management according to their environmental impact. Where waste does occur, we need to manage it in the most efficient way possible. After waste prevention, priority goes to reuse, recycling, and then recovery. Disposal, for example in landfill, is generally regarded as the worst option.

We are therefore encouraging increased use of heat through Combined Heat and Power (CHP) from EfW as it almost doubles the fuel efficiency and can play a really valuable role in our transition to decarbonising the heating of homes and buildings. There is financial support from government for EfW plants and heat networks developers to do this in the form of the existing Heat Networks Investment Project and the upcoming Green Heat Network Fund. The Heat Network Investment Project is already funding CHP based EfW projects in Leeds, London and Cardiff that will supply low carbon heat to local homes and businesses.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of House of Lords report stage amendment 53 to the Environment Bill, which would insert a clause on the protection of pollinators from pesticides.

Decisions on pesticide authorisation are based on expert assessment by the Health and Safety Executive. The independent UK Expert Committee on Pesticides advises on novel scientific issues. Current legislation already requires that active substances and pesticide products have “no unacceptable effects on the environment … having particular regard to its impact on non-target species”, which can include impacts on bees and other pollinators.

The scientific risk assessment relies on detailed data requirements and processes, carried across from EU law at the end of the transition period. The Government will ensure that these are updated to keep in step with developments in scientific understanding. Risk assessments made for active substances are already subject to public consultation. These assessments establish the key risks posed by pesticide substances in representative conditions of use.

Protecting pollinators is a priority. The National Pollinator Strategy, developed and updated alongside many partners following thorough scientific review, identifies pressures on pollinators on which we are acting, including potential harm from pesticide use, habitat loss and fragmentation, and invasive species.

We continue making decisions on pesticides use based on scientific risk assessments, while aiming to achieve high levels of protection for people, wildlife, and the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of amendment 53 to the Environment Bill at report stage in the House of Lords regarding the diversity of insect life and pollination.

Decisions on pesticide authorisation are based on expert assessment by the Health and Safety Executive. The independent UK Expert Committee on Pesticides advises on novel scientific issues. Current legislation already requires that active substances and pesticide products have “no unacceptable effects on the environment … having particular regard to its impact on non-target species”, which can include impacts on bees and other pollinators.

The scientific risk assessment relies on detailed data requirements and processes, carried across from EU law at the end of the transition period. The Government will ensure that these are updated to keep in step with developments in scientific understanding. Risk assessments made for active substances are already subject to public consultation. These assessments establish the key risks posed by pesticide substances in representative conditions of use.

Protecting pollinators is a priority. The National Pollinator Strategy, developed and updated alongside many partners following thorough scientific review, identifies pressures on pollinators on which we are acting, including potential harm from pesticide use, habitat loss and fragmentation, and invasive species.

We continue making decisions on pesticides use based on scientific risk assessments, while aiming to achieve high levels of protection for people, wildlife, and the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the introduction of quotas on present non-quota fish species.

Discussions with UK Fisheries Administrations, including the Welsh Government, on non-quota fisheries management have focused on implementing the provisions of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in relation to applying a tonnage limit to fishing of non-quota species in UK and EU waters. Longer term management of non-quota species will be reflected in Fisheries Management Plans and in discussions on shared stocks with the EU.

Whilst it is for the Welsh Government to develop and implement measures in Welsh waters, all UK Fisheries Administrations are part of a Fisheries Management Plan Working Group to collaborate on the development of future plans.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has conducted an impact assessment of the potential effect of introducing quotas on present non-quota species in Welsh waters in the period to 2024.

Assessment of the impacts of any potential fisheries management measures in Welsh waters is the responsibility of the Welsh Government, as UK fisheries management is devolved.

UK Fisheries Administrations are working closely together on the development of future plans, including for non-quota fisheries, to ensure we secure sustainability of our stocks, the environment and a thriving industry.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of reducing vessel monitoring system polling frequency of all non-UK registered fishing vessels 12 metres and above to 10-minute intervals.

As an independent coastal state, the UK has full responsibility over how it ensures compliance in its fisheries. It is for each Devolved Administration to decide how best to control its waters. Defra and the Marine Management Organisation continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement.

It is a legal requirement for all licensed fishing vessels over 12m in length operating within UK waters to be fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) device which reports their position at least once every two hours. In line with the conditions set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK will notify the EU Commission of any new VMS requirements that apply to EU vessels in UK waters, should any be brought forward. It will be the responsibility of those vessels to ensure they have a functioning VMS device on board that meets the requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the haulage industry since the start of 2021.

My Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary and I meet regularly with representatives of the food industry to discuss a wide range of issues, and we continue to work across Government, including with the Department for Transport, to find solutions to any issues. Officials in our Department also meet regularly with trade association and the haulier industry directly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of shortages of water treatment chemicals and sewage treatment on water classification in areas used for the production of bivalve molluscs.

England has an adequate supply of water chemicals, there is no shortage.

The situation with hauliers may lead to a requirement for a temporary reduction in chemical dosing at some wastewater treatment sites. The Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) was issued by the Environment Agency (EA) to facilitate a reduction in dosing requirements as a last resort. The RPS does not allow changes to discharges to shellfish waters and therefore will not impact the classification of shellfish harvesting areas used for the production of Bivalve Molluscs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his timeframe is for (a) completing flood defence work on the river Tame in Hodge Hill constituency and (b) restoring play facilities located there.

The Environment Agency (EA) has been working hard to improve flood defences at Bromford and Castle Vale, which will see more than 1,500 homes better protected from the risk of flooding. The scheme is expected to be completed by winter 2022/23.

The EA hopes the embankment area which is of particular concern to residents and Birmingham City Council will open in winter 2021/22. This is pending Section 278 approval from Birmingham City Council required before the EA can complete flood embankment works.

The EA has committed more funding to complete the scheme and deal with the various challenges the project has faced. The contractor’s senior management has also provided commitments to improve delivery confidence. They are both fully committed to completing this scheme at the earliest opportunity.

While work has been happening, some areas have had to close for the safety of the workforce and community, such as the play area in Bromford. The EA ensured the Multi Use Games Area and Skatepark adjacent to the under 12’s play area re-opened at the start of the summer holidays and has provided safety barriers to enable the community to run pop-up play sessions for younger children towards the end of the holidays. Birmingham City Council is responsible for progressing and re-opening the play area and I cannot comment on its timescales.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will commission the Foods Standards Agency to undertake a survey on methods of slaughter earlier than 2022 as planned.

Defra has been working with the Food Standards Agency on the design of a slaughter survey to take place in February 2022. The timing of the survey has been carefully selected to represent a typical week for the meat processing industry, avoiding religious festivals, and for consistency with the previous survey.

This timescale also reflects the intention to build bespoke data collection and analysis software to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the survey. It is our plan to collect data on a more regular basis in future and the new software will enable us to do this.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he (a) has made and (b) plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of using powers under The Common Fisheries Policy and Aquaculture (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 to apply trade sanctions on relevant stocks against a nation State that is overfishing, for the purposes of securing the most advantageous deals for the UK fishing industry.

Powers set out under Retained Regulation (EU) No 1026/2012 on certain measures for the purpose of the conservation of fish stocks in relation to countries allowing non-sustainable fishing. The measures can include targeted trade sanctions on the species that has been caught. Sustainable fishing remains a priority for UK and we continue to consult a range of countries through bilateral and multilateral engagement to agree suitable harvest control rules to prevent overfishing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare for the requirement for mandatory veterinary health certificates for imports from the EU, that come into force on 1 October.

The Government has set out a new timetable for introducing full import controls for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods being imported from the EU to the UK.

The new timetable considers the challenges businesses have faced due to the global pandemic, as well as its impact on supply chains across the UK and Europe. The Government believes a more pragmatic timetable will help give businesses time to recover from the pandemic and adjust to the new processes.

The controls will now be phased in across 2022.

From 1 July 2022:

  • The new requirements for GB Export Health Certificates from EU exporters, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Phytosanitary certificates for lower risk plant produce, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts will now begin on 1 July 2022.

All current controls for live animals, products of animal origin under safeguard measures and high priority plants and plant products remain unchanged.

In addition, the following customs controls will be phased in:

  • Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced.
  • Safety and Security declarations on imports will be required as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022.

The new timeline allows importers, exporters and EU certifiers more time to prepare for the requirements and controls. It will ensure we reduce any anticipated disruption when these measures are introduced.

Defra has been working hard with businesses to ensure they are prepared and has run numerous webinars and advice sessions, attended by around 4,000 businesses.

Around 4,600 businesses are already registered for the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). More than 13,000 individual users are registered for IPAFFS.

The process is simple and only requires a Government Gateway account to register. We have sought to make these processes as straightforward as possible, and many thousands of businesses are already prepared for their introduction.

Defra is working closely with customs agents who are keen to provide import and export support to businesses. We are looking to provide digital solutions to simplify processes and encouraging more agents to offer pre-notification support and support to EU exporters.

Pre-notification procedures from January 2022 to July 2022 have been reduced and now mirror the current import process introduced for live animals in January this year, requiring importers or their agents to complete 15 simple information boxes on IPAFFS.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September 2021 to Question 43683 on Horses: Animal Breeding, and with reference to the Government Response to the e-petition entitled Introduce national limits on horse breeding, published on 4 August 2021, which key stakeholders in the equine sector the Government has engaged with; and on which dates it has engaged with each of those stakeholders in the last 12 months.

We continue to engage closely with key stakeholders in the equine sector about a range of equine welfare issues. My department currently meets on a fortnightly basis with equine stakeholders including the British Horse Society, the British Equine Veterinary Association and World Horse Welfare.

The sector keep us regularly updated of the current health of the sector, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to rescue and rehoming rates, and information on cruelty investigations. In order to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector, we held monthly meetings with the National Equine Welfare Council during winter 2020/21 and increased our engagement with other equine stakeholders.

Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September 2021 to Question 43684 on Horses: Animal Breeding, and with reference to the Government Response to the e-petition entitled Introduce national limits on horse breeding, published on 4 August 2021, how many times in the last 12 months his Department has been in contact with (a) World Horse Welfare and (b) the British Horse Council; which other (i) equine stakeholders and (ii) rescue and rehoming bodies his Department has been in contact with; and what recent assessment the Minister has made of the health of the sector.

We continue to engage closely with key stakeholders in the equine sector about a range of equine welfare issues. My department currently meets on a fortnightly basis with equine stakeholders including the British Horse Society, the British Equine Veterinary Association and World Horse Welfare.

The sector keep us regularly updated of the current health of the sector, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to rescue and rehoming rates, and information on cruelty investigations. In order to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector, we held monthly meetings with the National Equine Welfare Council during winter 2020/21 and increased our engagement with other equine stakeholders.

Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is any legal or regulatory restriction preventing suppliers from taking back and reusing large plastic sacks that have contained animal feed or fertilizer; and, if so, whether they plan to review this restriction.

There are no specific restrictions in fertiliser legislation preventing suppliers from reusing fertiliser sacks. However, guidance around the storage and handling of certain fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate may still apply, which could impact on the feasibility of reusing fertiliser sacks. For example, the Health and Safety Executive recommends precautions to prevent the risk of contamination and spillage, including that bags should be completely sealed on filling. In practice, the reuse of large sacks used by farmers is likely to be limited as they are usually cut open to transfer the fertiliser into the spreading equipment.

There are no provisions in UK animal feed legislation preventing the reuse of plastic sacks. However, feed business operators must demonstrate through their feed safety management systems that the packaging materials used for feed are safe and do not have an adverse effect on animal health, human health, and the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what position they took on motion 69 at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress relating to the protection of deep-ocean ecosystems, biodiversity, and a moratorium on seabed mining; and for what reason they adopted that position.

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the UK abstained from voting on the motion for a moratorium on deep-sea mining because it did not fully align with UK policy.

However, there is no deep-sea mining currently happening in areas beyond national jurisdictions, there are no exploitation licences for deep-sea mining, and no exploitation regulations have yet been agreed. In addition, the UK has committed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep-sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems and strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards have been developed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and are in place.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it is the role of the ISA to regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind as a whole. In so doing, the ISA has the duty to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed activities.

The UK has a strong and respected voice in these international negotiations and the UK position emphasises the need to ensure that the highest possible environmental standards are met in the development of this new industry. We judge that engaging fully with these negotiations is the most effective way for the UK to work with others so that no deep-sea mining takes place in the absence of strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards. This includes requiring that Regional Environmental Management Plans are adopted for each region before any exploitation licence can even be considered, as well as the adoption of strong and enforceable environmental Standards and Guidelines.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives from the brewing and beer industries on the potential impact of an industrial carbon dioxide shortage on that sector in the coming months.

We are aware of the issues faced by the brewing and beer industry due to the shortage and are working closely with them to provide support and advice. We have had extensive meetings with representatives from food and drink sectors, and those conversations are continuing to further explore impacts and discuss potential solutions.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support communities worst hit by the impacts of climate change such as flooding and biodiversity loss.

Climate change is already with us, and further changes are expected in the coming decades, despite ambitious commitments from the UK and the global community to cut carbon emissions. Building the resilience of our society, economy and environment to the impacts of climate change is therefore a priority for government, on land and at sea.

Between 2015 and 2021 government invested £2.6 billion to better protect 314,000 homes from flooding. In July 2020, Defra published its floods Policy Statement, setting out the Government’s long-term ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk.

Starting from 2021, the Government will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build over 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction before the end of 2021/2022, which will provide an immediate boost to jobs supporting local economies as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus.

An additional £200 million will be invested in the Innovative Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

In England, we are establishing a Nature Recovery Network. As part of the Network, we are taking steps to bring 75% of protected sites by area into favourable condition, and to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of protected sites. Restoring and expanding habitats is good for wildlife, but nature recovery also provides wider environmental benefits, from clean air to recreation to tackling climate change.

Such restoration will be hugely beneficial in helping to support the resilience of ecosystems themselves to climate change. For example, improving the condition and diversity within, and connectivity between, our wildlife habitats will help species survive in their existing locations, and allow them to move towards more suitable climates where necessary.

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), has recently worked with Defra's Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, to publish adaptation guidance for local authorities. This good practice guide outlines practical steps for local authorities to enhance local resilience. ADEPT has also published its blueprint to accelerating resilience to climate change risks and green recovery at the local level.

The UK is at the forefront of marine protection with 372 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting 38% of UK waters. We have built a comprehensive network of MPAs and are focusing on making sure they are protected properly.

In June the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA). The government will designate a number of sites in 2022. JNCC and Natural England, along with Cefas, have developed and published ecological criteria based on the principles outlined in the Benyon Review to start selecting potential HPMA locations.

A number of estuarine and coastal habitat restoration initiatives to benefit people and nature are underway, including the Environment Agency’s Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative. Natural England is also leading the EU-funded LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project, which aims to restore seagrass and maerl habitat in five Special Areas of Conservation.

Marine nature-based solutions, including the protection and restoration of blue carbon habitats, will contribute towards achieving the government’s vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse ocean and seas’ and our climate change objectives. The UK Marine Strategy provides the framework for monitoring, assessing and taking measures to achieve and maintain Good Environmental Status in our seas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating an independent ombudsman for the veterinary profession; and what assessment he has made of the ability of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to regulate the veterinary surgeon profession.

The Department believes that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is a fit for purpose regulator. The Department does not consider an independent ombudsman would improve the regulation of the veterinary profession. RCVS have been developing recommendations on reforming the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, including an overhaul of the disciplinary framework and fitness to practise regime. We will carefully consider their proposals.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of seasonal workers from abroad on UK food security; for what reason the pilot Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS), currently underway, caters for only one-third of the number of such workers permitted prior to the UK's withdrawal from the EU; what recent discussions he has held with the Home Secretary on restoring the previous total permitted to enter the UK; what steps he will take to reduce the paperwork involved in processing applicants to become seasonal workers; and when a permanent SAWS will be established.

The UK's food supply is highly resilient and the food industry is well versed in dealing with scenarios that can impact food supply. However, Defra is aware of the impact that labour shortages are having on the supply chains and we continue to work with stakeholders like the NFU to monitor the situation.

Defra is working closely with industry and the Home Office - which engages with a wide range of stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations, when designing and implementing immigration policy - to understand better the effectiveness of interventions and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce beyond 2021.

Horticulture, in particular, relies heavily on seasonal labour, and whilst the number of workers needed varies throughout the year, Defra estimates approximately 50,000 seasonal workers are needed annually to bring in the harvest. For 2021 we envisaged that growers will recruit more from an increasing pool of domestic labour, supported with 30,000 workers from the Seasonal Workers Pilot extension.

Although the numbers of workers have increased based on the success of the Pilot so far, it is not designed to meet the full labour needs of the horticulture sector. The extension and expansion of the Pilot for 2021 will allow for further review of the Pilot, including how growers will reduce their reliance on migrant labour now we have left the EU , whilst also easing some of the pressure felt on farms when they are at their busiest.

The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology. To support these efforts, Defra is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the horticulture sector among UK workers.

The Home Office is responsible for the visa licensing system that processes applicants to become seasonal workers, including the paperwork involved with that process.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect hedgerows across the UK.

Hedgerows are one of the most important ecological building blocks in our farmed landscape. They maintain the distinctive character of our countryside and provide crucial habitats and food for wildlife. Legal protection for hedgerows in England and Wales is provided by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.

These regulations prohibit the removal of most countryside hedgerows (or parts of them) without first seeking approval from the local planning authority. It decides whether a hedgerow is ‘important’ because of its wildlife, landscape, historical or archaeological value and should not be removed.

A local authority also has the power to impose enforceable planning conditions on a developer to protect hedges or trees assessed as being worthy of retention, which might otherwise be harmed by construction or the new land-use. Land managers in receipt of Basic Payment Scheme payments are also required to protect hedgerows on their land.

Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship fund the management of hedgerows to deliver recognised benefits for wildlife, landscape and the historic environment. Hedgerow management is one of the most popular options within Countryside Stewardship.

Following our exit from the European Union the development of our new environmental land management schemes will continue to recognise the role and fund the management of hedgerows. The hedgerow standard, part of the new Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, will pay farmers to plant more hedgerows, leave them uncut or raise the cutting height.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the National Food Strategy, published in July 2021, what plans he has to consult UK-based food and drinks manufacturers on the recommendation that that he should bring forward a Good Food Bill before Parliament in the fourth session of the 2019–2024.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy White Paper is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. The Government will consider the contents of Henry Dimbleby’s independent review when developing the Food Strategy White Paper including the recommendation for legislative measures.

We are committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system and will encourage dialogue with a wide range of external and internal stakeholders to identify any policy gaps or potential options to transform the food system.

The Food Strategy White Paper will build upon work already underway in the Agriculture Act, Fisheries Act, and Environment Bill as well as docking into wider Government priorities, including Net Zero, 25 Year Environment Plan, and Build Back Greener. We will consider the need for mandatory or voluntary policy interventions as part of the White Paper and evaluate the need for additional primary and secondary legislation throughout its development.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect on mobile fish stocks of banning supertrawlers from the offshore Marine Protected Areas network, in the context of the Government’s plan to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPA) over the next three years.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion on 23 July 2021, PQ UIN 33201.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effects of fully and highly-protected Marine Protected Areas on the (a) ecological health of inshore waters and (b) livelihoods of local fishing communities.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33198.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether plans to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas over the next three years will include site wide bans on both bottom trawlers and supertrawlers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33199.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the compatibility of the activity of supertrawlers and bottom trawlers in UK Marine Protected Areas with its target to protect 30 per cent of the UK's oceans by 2030.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33197.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will use its new powers under the Fisheries Act 2020 to restrict the fishing licences of supertrawlers and bottom trawlers and prevent them from operating in offshore UK Marine Protected Areas.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33200.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits relating to blue carbon of banning bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 23 July 2021, PQ UIN 33202.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)