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
Labour
Jim McMahon (LAB - Oldham West and Royton)
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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)

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)
Alex Sobel (LAB - Leeds North West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)
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 5th July 2022
14:00
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
5 Jul 2022, 2 p.m.
Pre-appointment hearing: Chair of the Environment Agency
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 6th July 2022
14:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Jul 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Plant Health etc. (Miscellaneous Fees) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 8th September 2022
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Sep 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Thursday 30th June 2022
Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 28th June 2022
16:01
SF0016 - UK Seafood Fund
Written Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 27th June 2022
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
Droughts and Water Supply
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 30th June 2022
Bills
Wednesday 25th May 2022
Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision about the release and marketing of, and risk assessments relating to, precision bred plants and …
Dept. Publications
Monday 4th July 2022
16:30

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
Jun. 23
Oral Questions
May. 19
Urgent Questions
Jun. 13
Written Statements
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament


A Bill to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from Great Britain.

Commons - 60%

Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 11th May 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about the release and marketing of, and risk assessments relating to, precision bred plants and animals, and the marketing of food and feed produced from such plants and animals; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 60%

Last Event - Committee Debate - 3rd Sitting (Commons)
Thursday 30th June 2022
(Read Debate)

Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


A Bill to make provision for an Animal Sentience Committee with functions relating to the effect of government policy on the welfare of animals as sentient beings

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 28th April 2022 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; for statements and reports about environmental protection; for the Office for Environmental Protection; about waste and resource efficiency; about air quality; for the recall of products that fail to meet environmental standards; about water; about nature and biodiversity; for conservation covenants; about the regulation of chemicals; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Tuesday 9th November 2021 and was enacted into law.


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 are made under the Agriculture Act 2020 (c. 21). They apply in relation to England only.
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
Petition Open
12,512 Signatures
(504 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
6,929 Signatures
(463 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
9,342 Signatures
(220 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
Robert Goodwill Portrait
Robert Goodwill (Conservative - Scarborough and Whitby)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair since 25th May 2022
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
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
Kirsty Blackman Portrait
Kirsty Blackman (Scottish National Party - Aberdeen North)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 5th January 2022
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Pre-appointment hearing: Chair of the Environment Agency
5 Jul 2022, 2 p.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

20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government which of the issues raised by the Real Bread Campaign in their submission to DEFRA, published in September 2021, ahead of the first meeting of the Bread and Flour Technical Working Group, will be included in the forthcoming public consultation and review of the Bread and Flour Regulations.

Defra, alongside the Department of Health and Social Care, the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland and Wales, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish and Welsh Governments, have been conducting jointly a review of The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 and The Bread and Flour (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1998 to ensure the regulations are fit for purpose and support UK industry while protecting consumers. To assist the review, Defra convened a technical working group made up of a wide range of relevant stakeholders including the Real Bread Campaign, to help identify and explore the issues around the regulations which cover the compositional requirements of bread and flour. We are now preparing to consult jointly on proposals to update the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998. The consultation is subject to a cross-government agreement process in England and ministerial agreement in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is therefore not possible to say definitively what will be included in the consultation, but we hope to be able to publish proposals shortly.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will respond to the letters in the Veterinary Record written by Mr Langton and co-authors, on 1 April and 20 May, rebutting his Department’s criticisms of their research entitled Analysis of the impact of badger culling on bovine tuberculosis in cattle in the high-risk area of England, 2009–2020, in a letter published on 18 March which cited incorrect data.

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer (“CVO”), Dr Christine Middlemiss, and Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser (“CSA”), Professor Gideon Henderson, have made clear their views on Mr Langton’s paper in their letter to the Veterinary Record of 18 March and in the correction published on 21 May, which had no impact on their original conclusions. I have nothing further to add on that topic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many noise (a) abatement notices and (b) warning notices have been issued in England in each of the last five years.

Defra does not hold information on Noise Abatement Notices and Fixed Penalty Notices. This information is only held at local authority level.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people have been (a) issued with a fixed penalty notice for failing to comply with a noise nuisance warning notice and (b) prosecuted following a noise nuisance warning notice in England in each of the last five years.

Defra does not hold information on Noise Abatement Notices and Fixed Penalty Notices. This information is only held at local authority level.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to give City Hall more power over air quality policy in London.

Responsibility for air quality in the capital is already devolved to the Mayor of London and as such, City Hall has a number of powers including:

- Oversight of London borough air quality action plans, including the power to issue guidance to which London boroughs must have regard when carrying out their air quality duties under the Environment Act 1995.

- The power to issue directions to require London boroughs to take action to address local air pollution as set out in section 85 of the Environment Act 1995.

Under the same legislation, local authorities in London are required to assess local air quality and to take action to reduce pollution if air quality objectives are not met. They must also report on their data and actions to the Mayor of London, to whom they are accountable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether there is a quarantine period required for day-old gamebird chicks arriving in the UK from France.

The quarantine requirements for gamebird hatching eggs are that they shall be kept for at least three weeks from the date of hatching in the hatchery or on the establishment(s) to which they have been sent after hatching.

Day-old chicks shall be kept on the establishment of destination from their date of arrival for a period of at least six weeks; or until the day of slaughter. The period may be reduced to three weeks, provided that appropriate sampling and testing have been carried out with favourable results.

Our legislation sets out that disease control restricted zones put in place for Avian Influenza outbreaks can only be lifted and exports restarted 90 days after effective cleansing and disinfection. This is retained EU legislation (regulation 798/2008) and applies to gamebird hatching eggs and gamebird day-old chicks. The same rules affect exports from GB to EU. Operability amendments have been made to Regulation 798/2008 under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There have been no changes to animal health requirements.

We understand that any interruption to egg supplies will have a significant impact on our sectors during this challenging time which has seen widespread Avian Influenza outbreaks across the EU and here in Great Britain.

With our French counterparts we tried to find a solution to enable the trade of gamebird eggs, whilst maintaining the necessary standards of biosecurity. Unfortunately, due to a range of external factors, it has not been possible to put measures in place in time for this year’s shooting season.

This will clearly have an impact on the shooting sector and we are exploring future measures that can be implemented to alleviate these pressures going forward.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether European Commission Directive 798/2008 CBHC032E requires the 90-day quarantine of gamebird hatching eggs exported (a) from UK into the EU or (b) vice versa.

The quarantine requirements for gamebird hatching eggs are that they shall be kept for at least three weeks from the date of hatching in the hatchery or on the establishment(s) to which they have been sent after hatching.

Day-old chicks shall be kept on the establishment of destination from their date of arrival for a period of at least six weeks; or until the day of slaughter. The period may be reduced to three weeks, provided that appropriate sampling and testing have been carried out with favourable results.

Our legislation sets out that disease control restricted zones put in place for Avian Influenza outbreaks can only be lifted and exports restarted 90 days after effective cleansing and disinfection. This is retained EU legislation (regulation 798/2008) and applies to gamebird hatching eggs and gamebird day-old chicks. The same rules affect exports from GB to EU. Operability amendments have been made to Regulation 798/2008 under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There have been no changes to animal health requirements.

We understand that any interruption to egg supplies will have a significant impact on our sectors during this challenging time which has seen widespread Avian Influenza outbreaks across the EU and here in Great Britain.

With our French counterparts we tried to find a solution to enable the trade of gamebird eggs, whilst maintaining the necessary standards of biosecurity. Unfortunately, due to a range of external factors, it has not been possible to put measures in place in time for this year’s shooting season.

This will clearly have an impact on the shooting sector and we are exploring future measures that can be implemented to alleviate these pressures going forward.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether European Union Directive 798/2008 CBHC032E requires the 90-day quarantine of gamebird day-old chicks exported (a) from the UK to the EU or (b) vice versa.

The quarantine requirements for gamebird hatching eggs are that they shall be kept for at least three weeks from the date of hatching in the hatchery or on the establishment(s) to which they have been sent after hatching.

Day-old chicks shall be kept on the establishment of destination from their date of arrival for a period of at least six weeks; or until the day of slaughter. The period may be reduced to three weeks, provided that appropriate sampling and testing have been carried out with favourable results.

Our legislation sets out that disease control restricted zones put in place for Avian Influenza outbreaks can only be lifted and exports restarted 90 days after effective cleansing and disinfection. This is retained EU legislation (regulation 798/2008) and applies to gamebird hatching eggs and gamebird day-old chicks. The same rules affect exports from GB to EU. Operability amendments have been made to Regulation 798/2008 under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There have been no changes to animal health requirements.

We understand that any interruption to egg supplies will have a significant impact on our sectors during this challenging time which has seen widespread Avian Influenza outbreaks across the EU and here in Great Britain.

With our French counterparts we tried to find a solution to enable the trade of gamebird eggs, whilst maintaining the necessary standards of biosecurity. Unfortunately, due to a range of external factors, it has not been possible to put measures in place in time for this year’s shooting season.

This will clearly have an impact on the shooting sector and we are exploring future measures that can be implemented to alleviate these pressures going forward.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made any legislative changes to the UK's obligations under European Commission Directive 798/2008 GBHC032E.

The quarantine requirements for gamebird hatching eggs are that they shall be kept for at least three weeks from the date of hatching in the hatchery or on the establishment(s) to which they have been sent after hatching.

Day-old chicks shall be kept on the establishment of destination from their date of arrival for a period of at least six weeks; or until the day of slaughter. The period may be reduced to three weeks, provided that appropriate sampling and testing have been carried out with favourable results.

Our legislation sets out that disease control restricted zones put in place for Avian Influenza outbreaks can only be lifted and exports restarted 90 days after effective cleansing and disinfection. This is retained EU legislation (regulation 798/2008) and applies to gamebird hatching eggs and gamebird day-old chicks. The same rules affect exports from GB to EU. Operability amendments have been made to Regulation 798/2008 under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. There have been no changes to animal health requirements.

We understand that any interruption to egg supplies will have a significant impact on our sectors during this challenging time which has seen widespread Avian Influenza outbreaks across the EU and here in Great Britain.

With our French counterparts we tried to find a solution to enable the trade of gamebird eggs, whilst maintaining the necessary standards of biosecurity. Unfortunately, due to a range of external factors, it has not been possible to put measures in place in time for this year’s shooting season.

This will clearly have an impact on the shooting sector and we are exploring future measures that can be implemented to alleviate these pressures going forward.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward legislation to stop holiday firms promoting experiences with Asian elephants to tourists.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 21 June to the hon. Member for Crawley, PQ 19607.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the finding of the Livestock Worrying Police Working Group that in 89 per cent of attacks on livestock in North Wales the dog was unaccompanied, if he will take steps to help ensure that dogs are trained to avoid attacking sheep when they escape from (a) their owners and (b) leads.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. Those in charge of dogs are already responsible for ensuring that they are kept under control, and it is an offence under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control in any place.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021. The new measures will enhance enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law.

Dog owners are legally responsible for their dog’s behaviour even when not accompanied. These reforms should provide dog owners with sharper incentives to ensure their dogs are trained well to behave acceptably in all circumstances. Owners who have concerns about controlling their dog’s behaviour may take advice from their vet or a suitably qualified dog behaviourist or trainer. The Animal Behaviour and Training Council maintains national registers of appropriately qualified trainers and behaviourists. The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs also details best practice methods of training.

In addition to the current legislative measures laid before Parliament, the Countryside Code will continue to be publicised to ensure constant messaging to the public and landowners.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the reported increase in unregulated canine fertility clinics that are not operating under veterinary supervision.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits anyone who is not a veterinary surgeon registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) from undertaking any surgical procedure. Concerns about a person’s legitimacy to practice should be reported to the RCVS as Regulator for the Act. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires owners or handlers of animals to protect them from harm and to provide for their welfare in line with good practice. A breach of these provisions may lead to imprisonment, a fine, or both.

The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs which provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on how to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease. That section of the Code of Practice recommends owners seek veterinary advice before breeding their dogs and that owners should take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are able to provide the care required during pregnancy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of increased reported acts of (a) canine blood sampling, (b) canine artificial insemination and (c) other veterinary surgery being carried out by laypersons and not veterinary surgeons.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits anyone who is not a veterinary surgeon registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) from undertaking any surgical procedure. Concerns about a person’s legitimacy to practice should be reported to the RCVS as Regulator for the Act. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires owners or handlers of animals to protect them from harm and to provide for their welfare in line with good practice. A breach of these provisions may lead to imprisonment, a fine, or both.

The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs which provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on how to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease. That section of the Code of Practice recommends owners seek veterinary advice before breeding their dogs and that owners should take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are able to provide the care required during pregnancy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings he has had in 2022 with his EU counterparts on making it easier for British citizens to travel to and within the EU with their pets.

Defra recognises the impact that changes to the EU pet travel rules applying to movements from GB are having on pet owners and assistance dog users. We are continuing to seek agreement from the European Commission on awarding Great Britain 'Part 1' listed status and recognising our tapeworm-free status. Achieving these would alleviate the most onerous pet travel rules for all travellers and we see no valid animal health reason for these not to be granted. We are carrying out further engagement with the EU to progress this.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on promoting seasonal agricultural work to UK citizens.

As we move to a high wage, high skilled economy, the Government is encouraging all sectors to adapt and make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology. To support these efforts, 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. Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

DWP is supporting Defra to develop and deliver a long-term recruitment strategy that supports the domestic workforce into both seasonal and long-term roles in the agriculture sector working with Defra and key Trade Associations to develop a regional recruitment strategy that utilises DWP’s jobcentre plus network, fosters strong local links between employers and Work Coaches, and gives jobseekers the skills and knowledge they need to enter the sector.

As a result, local Jobcentres are now directly connecting with employers in their area, DWP employer advisors understand the local labour market and can help businesses to design and word job vacancies, develop pre-employment training (specific to a job), recruit in new, and fair, ways (such as offering flexible working patterns) and access Jobcentre Plus office facilities for recruitment (where available).

All agriculture businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through DWP’s Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies. DWP do not charge for this service, and it is available across the United Kingdom. Agricultural businesses can also contact DWP’s Employer Services Line for advice about recruiting for their business, by phoning 0800 169 0178 Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, who can put them in touch with local employer advisors for specific and practical advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to promote seasonal agricultural work to UK citizens.

As we move to a high wage, high skilled economy, the Government is encouraging all sectors to adapt and make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology. To support these efforts, 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. Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

DWP is supporting Defra to develop and deliver a long-term recruitment strategy that supports the domestic workforce into both seasonal and long-term roles in the agriculture sector working with Defra and key Trade Associations to develop a regional recruitment strategy that utilises DWP’s jobcentre plus network, fosters strong local links between employers and Work Coaches, and gives jobseekers the skills and knowledge they need to enter the sector.

As a result, local Jobcentres are now directly connecting with employers in their area, DWP employer advisors understand the local labour market and can help businesses to design and word job vacancies, develop pre-employment training (specific to a job), recruit in new, and fair, ways (such as offering flexible working patterns) and access Jobcentre Plus office facilities for recruitment (where available).

All agriculture businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through DWP’s Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies. DWP do not charge for this service, and it is available across the United Kingdom. Agricultural businesses can also contact DWP’s Employer Services Line for advice about recruiting for their business, by phoning 0800 169 0178 Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, who can put them in touch with local employer advisors for specific and practical advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of making 40,000 visas available for seasonal workers on the labour needs of the agricultural sector.

Defra works with the agriculture sector and other government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including for both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the farming workforce.

Following an announcement in the Food Strategy White Paper the extra 10,000 visas have now been released for the Seasonal Worker Visa Route (bringing the total to 40,000 visas for 2022) with 8,000 of these going to the horticulture sector and 2,000 to the poultry sector.

We will continue to monitor the labour needs of the agriculture sector and the impacts of these additional visas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate food supply in the context of potential shortages.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. The recently published Government Food Strategy sets out a plan to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. Responding to recent events, the Food Strategy puts food security at the heart of the Government's vision for the food sector. The strategy sets out ambitions to boost food production in key sectors with post-Brexit opportunities and create jobs, with a focus on skills and innovations to level-up across the country.

The UK's high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years. In addition, the UK has nearly 100% sufficiency in poultry, carrots and swedes. 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.

The UK Government has well established ways of working with the industry and with the Devolved Administrations 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 capability, levers and expertise to respond to disruption lie with industry. They have highly resilient supply chains, and this was proven in the initial COVID-19 response. The Government's role is to support and enable an industry-led response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the UK's resilience to drought; and what steps he is taking to help (a) ensure that water companies (i) do not over-abstract from boreholes and (ii) repair infrastructure leaks and (b) encourage reductions in water waste.

The Environment Agency's National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England up to 2050 and beyond, taking account of climate change and population growth. The Framework sets out how we will reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new supply infrastructure, move water to where it is needed, increase drought resilience of water supplies and abstract water sustainably, including from boreholes. Water companies are now preparing their statutory Water Resources Management Plans for consultations, late in 2022. The plans will show how water companies will deliver secure water supplies sustainably, over at least a 25 year period. The statutory plans are reviewed annually, to ensure they are maintained.

The proposed new legally binding target under the Environment Act 2021 aims to support the sustainable use of water further by reducing the public demand for water.

This will be enabled through the policies set out in the Written Ministerial Statement on reducing demand for water, including the introduction of mandatory water efficiency labelling and further work to reduce water use in new developments and retrofits.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions there have been for the illegal storage of manure waste in nitrate vulnerable zones in each of the last four years.

The Environment Agency (EA) issued 24 warning letters under the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations between November 2019 and June 2022. During this period, the EA issued 1755 improvement actions relating to storage of organic manures. Since November 2019, the EA has separately prosecuted 25 farmers for causing pollution under agricultural regulations. Two of these prosecutions included offences under the NVZ regulations.

The EA takes a proactive advice-led approach to enforcement, working with farmers to bring them into compliance before taking formal enforcement action. The EA has found that most farmers take the opportunity to benefit from inspector advice, meaning formal action is often not required to deliver the desired outcomes. For example, the River Axe Regulatory Project, which aims to drive change on dairy farms, has resulted in an estimated £6-8 million investment in farm infrastructure improvements and an enhancement of 30km of watercourses that discharge to the local Special Area of Conservation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many contraventions of illegal storage of waste have been identified in nitrate vulnerable zones in each of the last four years.

Both the Environment Agency (Nitrate Regulations) and Rural Payments Agency (Cross Compliance) regulate within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ).

The Environment Agency (EA) has found 309 instances of non-compliance with NVZ regulations since November 2019 of which 93 were related to organic manure storage record keeping offences and 205 related to storage capacity or infrastructure standards. The current database started in late 2019 and it is not possible to extract older data within a reasonable timeframe for this response.

The Rural Payments Agency have identified 92 contraventions of storage requirements in NVZs over the last four years. Examples of breaches include poultry manure and/or other types of solid manure not being stored in either a vessel, impermeable surface, in a wooded building or in a temporary field heap; and a temporary field heap was not solid enough to be stacked in a freestanding heap and/or was producing free drainage from within the stacked material.

Our focus is to work with and support farmers to meet their obligations. That is why Defra has made additional budget available from 2021 for the EA to recruit an additional 50 inspection officers, increasing their capacity to deliver advice-led enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2022 to Question 18814 on Joint Unit for Waste Crime: Staff, what are the roles of the 14 staff who work at the Joint Unit on Waste Crime as on 29 June 2022.

1 x Manager

1 x Senior Team leader

1 x Technical officer

8 x Environmental Crime Officers

1 x Digital researcher

1 x Communications and engagement officer

1 x HMRC intelligence officer

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2022 to Question 18812 on Joint Unit for Waste Crime, how many and what proportion of those associated arrests led to (a) prosecutions and (b) successful prosecutions.

These arrests were carried out by other agencies for non-waste crime offences so this is not data held by the Joint Unit for Waste Crime.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has modelled the likelihood of reducing the average annual concentration of PM2.5 pollution to 10µg/m3 at any point between 2030 and 2040.

We set out the information we considered when setting our PM2.5 Environment Act target in the evidence packs which can be found at:

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-environment-policy/consultation-on-environmental-targets/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to hold a public consultation on its response to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's 7th Quinquennial Review recommendations on species protection.

JNCC’s seventh Quinquennial Review report, submitted to the Government on 19 April, provides the Secretary of State with independent scientific advice on proposed changes to Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. We will consider the recommendations carefully and the Government’s proposed approach, including any plans for consultation, before aiming to publish JNCC’s advice later this year. No decisions have yet been made.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the RMT strikes on 21 June 2022 on levels of air pollution in London.

Each year Defra undertakes an air quality assessment across all zones in the UK, including London. This latest report is available here:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/viewonline?year=2020_issue_1&jump=5-1#report_pdf

Changes in transport trends across the UK are considered in our modelling of ambient concentrations, used to supplement our monitoring network in our annual compliance assessments. Monitoring data in London is uploaded and available in near real-time on UK-Air ( https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/).

The impacts of changes in transport activity on the emissions of air pollutants will also be reflected in our National Atmospheric Emissions inventory.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Detailed evidence report on Air quality PM2.5 targets, published by his Department on 6 May 2022, for what reasons the reductions achieved by the high scenario are lower than those required by the National Emissions Ceiling Directive.

The indicative scenarios used in the development of the Environment Act PM 2.5 targets were based on realistic and feasible measures specific to our national circumstances.

A different approach was taken for the National Emissions Ceiling Regulations comparison scenario which was constructed to meet our EU legacy emission ceilings and does not take into account feasibility.

Neither are proposed policy pathways which will be developed as part of the Environmental Improvement Plan due in 2023.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reservoir capacity in (1) England, and (2) each of the nations of the UK, as part of their plan to avert water shortages (a) this summer, and (b) in the years ahead.

The Environment Agency monitors water levels across England. At the end of May, across the regions of England, reservoir water levels ranged from 78% of total capacity in north-west England to 94% in east England. Reservoir levels for England were at 85% of total capacity. Most reservoirs are in a normal position for the time of year.

The Environment Agency’s National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England, and all its regions and sectors, up to 2050 and beyond. The Framework sets out how we will reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new supply infrastructure such as reservoirs, move water to where it is needed, increase drought resilience of water supplies and reduce the need for drought measures that can harm the environment. In the autumn, water companies will publish their statutory draft water resources management plans that will outline how they will manage their water supplies in the future.

Water policy is a devolved matter.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the terms of reference for the 25 Year Environment Plan Board.

The Defra-led cross-Government 25 Year Environment Plan Board was established in December 2020. The Board is responsible for overseeing, co-ordinating and driving forward action to implement the 25 Year Environment Plan and associated requirements under the Environment Act 2021. It aims to join up, secure and accelerate action across government to deliver the Government's commitment of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it. It focuses on delivering the ten goals set out in the Plan, as well as implementation of the Government's 30x30 commitment and the Greening Government Commitments.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the 25-Year Environment Plan Board’s meeting minutes from 1 January 2020 to 22 June 2022.

The Defra-led cross-Government 25 Year Environment Plan Board was established in December 2020. The Board is responsible for overseeing, co-ordinating and driving forward action to implement the 25 Year Environment Plan and associated requirements under the Environment Act 2021. It aims to join up, secure and accelerate action across government to deliver the Government's commitment of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it. It focuses on delivering the ten goals set out in the Plan, as well as implementation of the Government's 30x30 commitment and the Greening Government Commitments.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he will next review nitrate vulnerable zones.

The review for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones occurs every four years to account for changes in nitrate concentrations. The next review will take place in 2024.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of direct payments made to farmers were (a) less than £30,000, (b) £30,001 to £50,000, (c) £50,001 to £150,000 and (d) more than £150,000 in the most recent financial year for which information is available.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Direct payments in England are made to farmers through the Basic Payment Scheme, which is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The scheme runs on the calendar year, but the figures provided cover all payments released by RPA in the 2021/22 financial year, irrespective of which scheme year they relate to.

Grouping (£)

21-22 Financial Year

% Proportion by Volume

£0>=£30,000

68,482

81.15%

£30,001>=£50,000

8,186

9.70%

£50,001>=£150,000

6,971

8.26%

>£150,000

746

0.88%

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing the Animal and Plant Health Agency to conduct regulatory checks on animals travelling with refugees from Ukraine immediately upon their arrival in the UK.

The Government wishes to ensure that people fleeing from Ukraine can come here with their pets, in a way which also safeguards our rabies-free status.

The UK has been rabies-free for many years, and we wish to remain so. Ukraine is a high-risk country for rabies and animals coming to the UK from Ukraine need to meet the health preparation requirements before they travel. In practice, this means having a microchip, a rabies vaccination, passing a blood test 30 days later and then waiting for three months before travelling.

However, we recognise that many people fleeing from Ukraine will not have been able to complete all of these requirements. Therefore, people fleeing from Ukraine can bring their pets with them under licence. In cases where their pets need to spend time in quarantine, we are covering the costs of this.

We have streamlined the license application process for people fleeing from Ukraine with their pets. Pets from Ukraine may also be eligible for home isolation in England if they are found to have rabies antibodies, subject to strict criteria.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2022 to Question 9902, on what basis his Department estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 seasonal workers are needed annually across the horticultural sector to bring in the harvest.

Defra statistics from the Annual June survey of Agriculture and Horticulture provide a snapshot of seasonal, casual and gang labour workforce numbers working in the whole of agriculture for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (not including Wales). The figure for this was 57,000 in 2020.

Whilst numbers vary year on year, we estimated approximately 50,000 to 60,000 seasonal workers have been needed annually across the horticulture sector to bring home the harvest.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the research his Department conducted to determine that approximately 50,000 workers are employed seasonally on UK farms.

Defra statistics from the Annual June survey of Agriculture and Horticulture provide a snapshot of seasonal, casual and gang labour workforce numbers working in the whole of agriculture for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (not including Wales). The figure for this was 57,000 in 2020.

Whilst numbers vary year on year, we estimated approximately 50,000 to 60,000 seasonal workers have been needed annually across the horticulture sector to bring home the harvest.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the impact of the rise in the price of cod on fishmongers.

The UK Government is working with representatives across the UK seafood and catching sector, and the fish and chip shop sector to understand the impacts relating to increases in the cost of living, recognising the multitude of issues and challenges the wider industry faces.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has taken steps to provide clarification for Northern Ireland based businesses on the impact of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, and what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on this issue.

The Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for providing guidance to industry, as this is a devolved matter. This has been communicated to the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he is taking steps to encourage investment in plastic reprocessing facilities in Cumbria.

From April this year the Government introduced a Plastic Packaging Tax on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. This will provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material and also give the private sector the certainty to invest in more recycling capacity, including in Cumbria.

The Government has also stimulated the development of industry through support for research and innovation notably through a package of over £100 million to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund and Resource Action Fund for research and development, including £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also put £60 million of funding into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support local authorities to limit domestic sources of air pollution, including wood burning stoves, as the leading cause of the air pollutant PM2.5.

Local authorities have a number of powers to tackle air pollution, such as introducing speed restrictions including on school streets, enforcing anti-idling laws and environmental permitting to reduce emissions from many local industries.

On domestic sources of air pollution and specifically domestic burning, local authorities have the power to declare Smoke Control Areas (SCAs), where householders are not allowed to emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney. The recently introduced Environment Act makes it easier for local authorities to enforce SCA requirements by replacing the criminal offence applying to smoke emissions in SCAs with a civil penalty regime. Local authorities in England can now issue financial penalties of up to £300 to those emitting a substantial amount of smoke from their chimneys in an SCA. The Environment Act also extends the system of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act to private dwellings in SCAs, enabling local authorities to take action against smoke emissions that are harmful to human health.

To further support local authorities, we have also provided £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local nitrogen dioxide (NO2) reduction plans and to support those impacted by these plans. We also have awarded £11.6 million from Defra's annual Air Quality Grant Scheme to 40 local authorities in England for local projects to tackle air pollution. The scheme will reopen for applications later this year, building on more than £38 million investment so far since 2010.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of seasonal worker vacancies in the UK as of 27 June 2022.

Defra works with the agriculture sector and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including for both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the farming workforce.

After a series of successful pilots, the Seasonal Workers Visa Route has been progressively expanded and on 24 December 2021 it was announced that the visa route would be extended to 2024 and expanded to include ornamental horticulture workers, providing more certainty for the horticulture sector. In 2022 this provides 30,000 visas, valid for 6 months, with scope for up to 10,000 more visas if there is evidence of need.

Following an announcement in the Food Strategy White Paper the extra 10,000 visas have now been released for the Seasonal Worker visa route (bringing the total to 40,000 visas for 2022) with 8,000 of these going to the horticulture sector and 2,000 to the poultry sector.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many workers have successfully obtained visas through the 2022 Seasonal Workers visa route as of 27 June 2022; and how many of those workers are residing in the UK.

Details of the numbers of visas granted for seasonal workers as of 27 June 2021, through the Seasonal Worker Visa Route, have been published in the usual way via the Home Office’s quarterly immigration statistics. Similarly, details of the numbers granted as at June this year will be published in the Home Office’s immigration statistics.

All workers entering the UK via the Seasonal Worker Visa Route will reside in the UK for the length of stay of their visas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many workers had successfully obtained visas through the 2021 Seasonal Worker visa route as of 27 June 2021; and how many of those workers were residing in the UK.

Details of the numbers of visas granted for seasonal workers as of 27 June 2021, through the Seasonal Worker Visa Route, have been published in the usual way via the Home Office’s quarterly immigration statistics. Similarly, details of the numbers granted as at June this year will be published in the Home Office’s immigration statistics.

All workers entering the UK via the Seasonal Worker Visa Route will reside in the UK for the length of stay of their visas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many border checks were conducted on (a) live animals and (b) high-risk plants in each of the last six months; and how many and what proportion of the (i) live animals and (ii) high-risk plants imported into the UK were subject to border checks in each of the last six months.

To maintain our excellent biosecurity standards, the Government introduced import controls on the highest risk commodities from the European Union on 1 Jan 21 to complement the controls already in place for goods arriving from the rest of world. Over the last 6 months, we have had 3,157 live animal consignments from outside the EU, which were subjected to 100% documentary and physical checks at the border, and 26,396 animal consignments from the EU (accounting for 1,644,197 animals - excluding fish, insects, and other arthropods - and 29,494,729 hatching eggs) which were all subject to documentary checks and 4,462 (17%) were subject to physical checks at destination. Physical checks of the highest risk commodities at destination mirror previous live animal movement controls in the EU prior to 2021 and will remain in operation until the necessary live animal Border Control Posts are operational.

Some 1,178 high-priority plants were imported in the last 6 months from outside the EU and all were subject to documentary checks with 1,058 (90%) receiving physical checks. Import checks of 'high-priority' plants imported to GB from the EU were introduced on 1 January 2021, recognising the relative biosecurity risk that these goods pose. To support businesses as these controls were introduced, temporary easements have been implemented to help manage checks at Places of Destination. These easements, which will cease when we implement our Target Operating Model in 2023, have the effect of supressing the number of notifications made. Noting this, the total number of consignments of these goods declared for entry into GB between 16 January 2022 and 16 June 2022 was 45,050 of which 8,581 (19%) were subject to risk-based physical and identity checks.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Oral contribution of the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Official Report, column 360WH, when her Department plans to commence the research into the extent of damage caused to (a) peatlands and (b) other landscapes by disposable barbecues and portable stoves; what he plans that commissioned research to cover; and what his timeline is for publishing the finding of that research.

We are commissioning research to examine the impact on the environment, including peatlands, of barbecues and other flammable items, including sky lanterns and portable stoves, in order to support potential regulation. We expect this research to be completed in due course, when we will be in a position to consider further action.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) developing hemp production in the UK and (b) simplifying the regulations governing such production.

Hemp is a long-standing crop in UK agriculture with a variety of uses, and Defra has an interest in exploring the benefits to UK farmers.

Defra has commissioned a research project, “Review of opportunities for diversifying UK agriculture through investment in underutilised crops”, which includes industrial hemp. This will examine hemp cultivation from a grower and consumer standards perspective, alongside its environmental benefits. We are also considering the role of industrial hemp in the bioeconomy and the opportunities for our agriculture sector.

An enhanced evidence base will help us to better understand how novel crops can contribute to achieving environmentally sustainable actions and make informed decisions about hemp cultivation. When these studies conclude, Home Office and Defra will work together to take forward any recommendations to help farmers navigate the licencing system and make sure all related processes are fit for purpose.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to announce details of how the Platinum Jubilee fund will be administered.

Detail of how the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund will be administered will be published in the autumn.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will commit to annual funding of £5 million for FareShare, the food waste charity.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only.

The Defra food waste prevention programme has provided grants of nearly £12m to over 300 organisations since 2018. FareShare was awarded around £3m of funding, helping to set up the Surplus with Purpose Fund, and supporting the infrastructure required to distribute surplus food. Whilst we are not planning any further grants, we remain committed to food waste prevention action, investing £2.6 million this year to combat food waste in the supply chain and in the home through working with the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of steps needed to facilitate access to alternatives to peat for use in horticulture.

Since we agreed the voluntary commitment to phase out the use of peat with the horticultural industry in 2011, many peat-free alternatives have been introduced to the market and some are readily available. However, we know that these products will need to be scaled up to meet demand, and that there might be some specific plants where alternatives are still under development.

We are currently analysing the responses from our recent consultation and call for evidence on ending the sale of peat and peat-containing products in horticulture, to add to our understanding of any challenges and opportunities regarding peat-free alternatives. We are also continuing to work with the industry to understand the support they will require to make the transition. This includes the funding of research to help underpin the development and management of alternative growing media in the professional sector. We will publish our response to the consultation as soon as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the findings of the Animal Kindness Index 2022 published by the RSPCA and SSPCA.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare seen in this survey and we are committed to the protection of animals.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare demonstrates this Government's commitment to a brighter future for animals and upholds the public values seen in the RSPCA and SSPCA survey. This Government has recently delivered the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022, measures to tackle illegal hare coursing in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, and also supported the recent Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, Animals (Penalty Notices) Act 2022, and Glue Traps (Offences) Act 2022. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill has been reintroduced this session and will go even further to strengthen our animal welfare legislation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)