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
Thursday 27th January 2022
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
27 Jan 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Tuesday 18th January 2022
Select Committee Docs
Friday 21st January 2022
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Farming rules for water

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee will be holding a one-off evidence session to discuss the Farming Rules …

Written Answers
Tuesday 18th January 2022
Clean Air Zones: Greater Manchester
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) steps the Government has taken and …
Secondary Legislation
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Wine (Amendment) Regulations 2021
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 (c. 29) …
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
Tuesday 18th January 2022
12:45

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
Dec. 09
Oral Questions
Oct. 28
Urgent Questions
Jan. 06
Written Statements
Dec. 15
Westminster Hall
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 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 in exercise of the powers conferred by the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 (c. 29) in order to implement Articles 3, 4(3) and 5 of Annex 15 (trade in wine) to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“the TCA”) and to deal with matters related to the implementation of Article 3 of that Annex.
These Regulations make amendments to the Products Containing Meat etc. (England) Regulations 2014 (S.I. 2014/3001) and the Food (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/616).
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
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Open
107,955 Signatures
(369 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
94,677 Signatures
(15,394 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
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

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

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to implement the provisions in the Agriculture Act 2020 to deliver public money for public goods.

We are implementing three new schemes that reward farmers and land managers for producing public goods: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Our approach to environmental land management is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy and will be realised through a combination of schemes using public money to reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmentally sustainable actions. The schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive will pay farmers for actions they take, going beyond regulatory requirements, to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. In 2021 we launched the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot and received over 900 applications. The first agreements have started and will run until 2024 when the full Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme offer will be available. This year we will start to rollout core elements of that scheme.

The Local Nature Recovery scheme will pay for actions that support local nature recovery and deliver local environmental priorities; making sure the right things are delivered in the right places. We plan to make an early version of the scheme available to a limited number of people in 2023 as part of our plans for testing and rolling out the scheme. We will then roll out the scheme across the whole country by the end of 2024.

Landscape Recovery will support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term, large-scale projects, including projects to restore wilder landscapes in places where that’s appropriate, large-scale tree planting and peatland restoration projects. We will pilot Landscape Recovery between 2022-24 through initiating at least 10 large-scale projects.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed reductions to the number of Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa routes from 2023 on the agricultural industry in (a) Scotland (b) the rest of the UK.

Defra works closely with a wide range of industry stakeholders – including the National Farmers Union of Scotland and the National Farmers Union of England and Wales – to discuss current immigration policy and the needs of the farming sector.

Under the Seasonal Workers Visa Route agreed with the Home Office for the period 2022-2024 there will be 30,000 visas available in 2022, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

Immigration is a reserved matter and Seasonal Worker visas under this route for the horticulture sector will be available nationwide.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Therefore, the Home Office announced that the number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023 to account for this focus on British workers and automation, and Defra will bring forward further proposals in due course on ways to support the sector as well as progressing recommendations from the Automation Review.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of (a) The National Farmers Union of Scotland and (b) The National Farmers Union of England and Wales on proposed changes to the number of Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa routes from 2023.

Defra works closely with a wide range of industry stakeholders – including the National Farmers Union of Scotland and the National Farmers Union of England and Wales – to discuss current immigration policy and the needs of the farming sector.

Under the Seasonal Workers Visa Route agreed with the Home Office for the period 2022-2024 there will be 30,000 visas available in 2022, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

Immigration is a reserved matter and Seasonal Worker visas under this route for the horticulture sector will be available nationwide.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Therefore, the Home Office announced that the number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023 to account for this focus on British workers and automation, and Defra will bring forward further proposals in due course on ways to support the sector as well as progressing recommendations from the Automation Review.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure the preservation of existing hedgerows and (b) encourage the creation of new hedgerows.

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 determines 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 and planting 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)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the removal of the basic payments scheme and transfer to a Countryside Stewardship grant on food production in the UK.

The Basic Payment Scheme is not about food production. Decoupling of payments from food production took place some 15 years ago. Our evidence suggests that the removal of Direct Payments in England would only have a very marginal effect, if any, on overall production.

Direct Payments appear to stimulate a small (0-5%) increase in production only in the sheep, cattle, and dairy sectors, although the payments do not add to the economic value of these sectors. The overall profitability of those sectors is unlikely to be affected by a decrease in production.

Phasing out Direct Payments will free up money so we can reward farmers for delivering public goods, including environmental outcomes. Farmers will also be able to access grants to help boost their productivity through the Farming Investment Fund.

We recently reviewed Countryside Stewardship revenue payment rates and the new rates will apply to all agreements from 1 January 2022. Compared to 2013 rates, there is an average increase of around 30% but the changes vary for different options.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding the due diligence clauses in the Environment Act 2021 to cover (a) breaches of international agreements on human rights and (b) all forms of damaging deforestation.

The Government has introduced world-leading due diligence legislation through the Environment Act to tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains associated with agricultural commodities. This is in recognition that, globally, a significant proportion of deforestation is illegal - close to 90% in some of the world's most important forests. The due diligence legislation complements the UK Timber Regulations, which prohibit the placing of illegally harvested timber and timber products on the UK market and require those first placing such products on the UK market to exercise due diligence.

Basing our approach on compliance with the local laws of producer countries, of which the UK is one, recognises the primacy of national and sub-national Governments' decisions in determining the management of their natural resources. Through the UK's aid programmes we work in partnership with producer countries to reinforce and strengthen their efforts to protect their ecosystems, which is fundamental to enhancing forest protection in the long term. The legislation also contains a provision requiring the Secretary of State to conduct a review of the law’s effectiveness every two years once it comes into force, and set out any steps they intend to take as a result, ensuring we will take action if we do not see progress.

These regulations are part of a wider package of measures being adopted by the UK in our leading role working with partners globally to halt and reverse forest loss.

On human rights, the UK Government has consistently supported the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on business and human rights, which are widely regarded as the authoritative international framework to steer practical action by Governments and businesses worldwide on this important and pressing agenda. Implementation of the UNGPs will support access to justice and remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses, wherever these occur, and encourage businesses to adopt due diligence approaches to respecting human rights.

The Government is clear that it expects all UK businesses to respect human rights throughout their operations, in line with the UNGPs. In response to the Guidelines, the UK was the first State to produce a National Action Plan. The UK is also the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery in their operations and global supply chains, and we have announced measures to strengthen the transparency in supply chains legislation in the Modern Slavery Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) steps the Government has taken and (b) resources have been committed to support jobs and businesses in Greater Manchester following the introduction of a clean air charge zone.

We have provided a substantial sum of £132 million from the Clean Air Fund to Greater Manchester authorities to help businesses and individuals upgrade to compliant vehicles. This is on top of providing £36 million to enable the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.

The HGV support scheme has recently opened for applications. Schemes for other vehicle types affected are due to launch later in the year. It is for Greater Manchester authorities to administer and distribute the funds according to the agreed business plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) information his department holds and (b) estimate he has made of levels of air pollution at each motorway junction in Greater Manchester in the latest period for which information is available.

The Defra Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) and UK Urban NO2 Network (UUNN) have a combined 106 monitoring sites in Greater Manchester. We also model annual mean concentrations of air pollutants on urban major roads across the UK. However, we do not assess air pollution at motorway junctions because the Air Quality Standards Regulations stipulate that air quality should not be assessed in microenvironments, including within 25m of a junction.

There are locally managed sites in Greater Manchester, including sites monitoring urban traffic concentrations of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, located on 'Trafford A56' and 'Tameside A635 Manchester Road'.

The UK Air website provides data from monitoring sites within Greater Manchester, including locally managed sites and sites managed by Defra. This data is accessible through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/interactive-map?network=nondefraaqmon

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government’s policy is on the use of cages in respect of (a) pets, (b) poultry farming, (c) livestock farming and (d) game farming.

The Government is delivering a series of ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare). One of the ways we wish to improve the welfare of farm animals is strengthening protections against animal confinement. We are actively exploring options to phase out the use of cages in farming, including the use of enriched cages for laying hens, farrowing crates for pigs and cages for breeding pheasants and partridges. Ending the use of cages would have a significant impact on some sectors of the farming industry and so we would need to undergo a public consultation.

For pets, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, introduced in 2018, require businesses that carry out activities involving animals to obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Licences must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. The 2018 Regulations are supported by statutory guidance which provides specific information about the conditions for each activity. This includes guidance on the size of cages that should be sold in the course of selling animals as pets:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/animal-activities-licensing-guidance-for-local-authorities

Current requirements on how farmed livestock should be kept, including detailed provisions on accommodation, are set down in The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 with further guidance provided in Defra’s species-specific farm animal welfare codes.

For gamebirds, the Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how his Department defines a cage for (a) pets, (b) poultry farming, (c) livestock farming and (d) game farming.

The Government is delivering a series of ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare). One of the ways we wish to improve the welfare of farm animals is strengthening protections against animal confinement. We are actively exploring options to phase out the use of cages in farming, including the use of enriched cages for laying hens, farrowing crates for pigs and cages for breeding pheasants and partridges. Ending the use of cages would have a significant impact on some sectors of the farming industry and so we would need to undergo a public consultation.

For pets, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, introduced in 2018, require businesses that carry out activities involving animals to obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Licences must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. The 2018 Regulations are supported by statutory guidance which provides specific information about the conditions for each activity. This includes guidance on the size of cages that should be sold in the course of selling animals as pets:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/animal-activities-licensing-guidance-for-local-authorities

Current requirements on how farmed livestock should be kept, including detailed provisions on accommodation, are set down in The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 with further guidance provided in Defra’s species-specific farm animal welfare codes.

For gamebirds, the Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables in supermarkets.

We are taking action to reduce single use plastic packaging for all products in supermarkets, with whom we meet regularly.

We are planning to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, which will place responsibility on producers for the full cost of managing their packaging waste, powerfully incentivising them to cut waste wherever possible. The Government’s Plastic Packaging Tax comes in from April and will see a charge of £200 per tonne on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, helping to support the use of increasingly sustainable packaging.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has published guidance on the sale of loose and prepacked foods and we continue to explore opportunities to provide the best environmental outcome, reduce household food waste and the provision of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what Natural England's timeframe is for completing its review of consents relating to Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation and the 500m buffer zone around those sites for the releasing of gamebirds.

Natural England’s review of historical SSSI consents relating to gamebird releasing on sites designated as Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2022.

Natural England’s SSSI consenting regime provided by section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 only extends to land which is designated under this provision; it does not extend to the adjacent 500-metre buffer zone around the site.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what additional resources (a) his Department has provided to Natural England or (b) have been allocated within that organisation to review the consents on Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conversation and the 500m buffer zone around those sites for the release of gamebirds.

Defra provided Natural England with additional funding in 2021 to support their review of historical SSSI consents relating to gamebird releasing on sites designated as Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation.

Natural England’s SSSI consenting regime provided by section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 only extends to land which is designated under this provision; it does not extend to the adjacent 500-metre buffer zone around the site.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many reviews of Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation and the 500m buffer zone around those sites in respect of consents for gamebird releasing have (a) been completed, (b) are in progress and (c) are planned but have yet to be commenced.

Natural England’s review of historical SSSI consents relating to Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation is ongoing.

Natural England’s SSSI consenting regime provided by section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 only extends to land which is designated under this provision; it does not extend to the adjacent 500-metre buffer zone around the site.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of Natural England’s progress in reviewing the consents for the release of gamebirds (a) on Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation and (b) within a 500 metre buffer zone of those sites.

Natural England are in the process of reviewing the historical SSSI consents issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, that relate to Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation.

Natural England’s SSSI consenting regime provided by section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 only extends to land which is designated under this provision; it does not extend to the adjacent 500-metre buffer zone around the site.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many greyhounds were imported (a) commercially and (b) non-respectively from the Republic of Ireland to the UK in each year between 2015 and 2021.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency is unable to provide the data requested for greyhounds as the breed of dog is not recorded on the system for commercial and non-commercial import of dogs from the Republic of Ireland to the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the data his Department holds on how staff pay at the Environment Agency compares to the average public sector pay award.

Pay awards in the Environment Agency are established within the annually published pay guidance for the Civil Service. Information on staff roles and salaries is published in accordance with requirements for Civil Service departments and non-departmental public bodies: https://data.gov.uk/dataset/7c590663-2e85-4606-a60b-ab1bd103edcf/organogram-of-staff-roles-salaries.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide ring-fenced funding to local authorities for the planting of trees.

Defra supports local authorities’ tree planting activity through access to several of the Nature for Climate Fund Grant schemes, such as the Local Authorities Treescape Fund (LATF) and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF).

The £4.4 million LATF is available for local authorities to plant and encourage natural regeneration of trees to restore neglected green spaces in their communities. This fund is aimed at establishing more trees in locations outside of woodlands including riverbanks, hedgerows, parklands, urban areas, beside roads and footpaths, in copses and shelterbelts, including neglected, disused and vacant community spaces.

The UTCF will provide up to £6 million of funding over the next two years for planting around 44,000 large trees in towns and cities. This fund is targeted at the managers of urban land with a broad applicant base, including local authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of illegal fox hunts that have taken place on Government land in each the last three years.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act.

Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law, and enforcement is an operational matter for the police.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that illegal fox hunting does not occur on Government-owned land.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law and enforcement is an operational matter for the police.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many journalists or media organisations contacted his Department in December 2021 to enquire about the implementation of the new Ecodesign Regulations relating to wood or solid fuel burning appliances in domestic premises from 1 January 2022.

The Defra press office did not receive any such enquiries from journalists or media organisations in December 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce red tape for the importing of ornamental plants and trees; and if he will introduce a trusted trader scheme for that sector.

Great Britain's (GB) plant health regime is risk-based, and the history of compliance of specific trades (where the ‘trade’ is the combination of a specific commodity from a specific origin), is a significant factor in determining biosecurity risk. Consequently, trades with a proven track record of compliance and meeting prescribed eligibility criteria may be subject to a reduced frequency and/or intensity of checks. While the biosecurity risk of imported goods is largely trade based, there are areas where trader considerations may also play a role. For example, as the phased introduction of EU-GB plant health import controls is completed in 2022, Defra is enabling the performance of plant health controls away from the border, including through increased uptake in the use of designated plant health Control Points. Eligibility criteria to be designated as a Control Point include elements consistent with a trusted trader model.

Defra officials are actively exploring with stakeholders other options for minimising the regulatory burden on individual traders in a way which maintains the high biosecurity standards the United Kingdom enjoys.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the total floor area of his departmental estate was in each year from 2010-11 to 2020-21.

The requested data is set out in the attached table.

The department has been unable to provide data for all years requested, due to changes in the management of the Corporate Estate, changes of categorisation of usage and method of storage over the requested period.

The square meter areas provided are Net Internal Areas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on (a) the recent outbreak of bird flu and (b) the welfare and condition of the individual who has tested positive for that virus.

The UK Government works with the devolved administrations to seek a coordinated response wherever possible to control disease. In November, the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland worked together to bring in an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain on 3 November 2021, and in Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021, with additional housing measures coming into force across the UK on 29 November 2021.

All four administrations are an integral part of the UK-wide decision-making processes for animal disease outbreaks. All attend the Defra Group’s National Disease Control Centre meetings, are members of the Animal Disease Policy Group and participate in daily stocktakes to review on-going disease control strategy. Decisions on disease control measures, made through these groups, are based on risk assessments containing the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice.

With regard to the recent case of bird-to-human transmission, it is inappropriate for us to comment on an individual’s health. However, the UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that tenant farmers will be able to access Environmental Land Management Schemes.

We are designing the schemes to be accessible to as many farmers and land managers as possible, including tenant farmers.

As part of our designing in partnership process, we are engaging with a wide range of farmers and land managers to ensure that the future schemes are designed in a way that works for all, to maximise the delivery of environmental outcomes.

We have designed new flexibilities into the Sustainable Farming Incentive, in close consultation with farming organisations, including the Tenant Farmers Association, to ensure the scheme is accessible to tenant farmers. For instance, tenant farmers will be able to enter the scheme without proving they have landlord permission (although they will be responsible for checking their tenancy agreements to ensure they can participate in the scheme before applying).

For the early rollout of the scheme in 2022, scheme agreements will be three years (compared with a minimum of five years in Countryside Stewardship) and there will be annual flexibility to add standards, land, and levels of ambition into agreements.

In the first year, tenants with only two years left on their tenancy will be able to enter into the scheme. We will continue working with stakeholder groups representing tenants on the design of the three environmental land management schemes.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure consistently high standards in (a) approval processes and (b) testing for appliances or ranges of appliances before they can receive an exemption to burn unauthorised fuel in Smoke Control Areas.

The testing of exempt appliances for use in Smoke Control Areas is carried out by an external contractor. Defra requires regular progress reports and reviews the mechanism and monitors the contractor’s performance to ensure standards are maintained.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the regulations on the purchase and use of wood burning appliances in one place on his Department’s website to increase accessibility of that information for consumers.

We will consider the accessibility of this information as part of our review of Defra’s UK-AIR website.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what air quality monitoring data his Department has received from (a) the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and (b) each borough within the Greater Manchester region in 2021.

The UK Air website provides data from monitoring sites within the Greater Manchester region, including locally managed sites and sites managed by DEFRA. This data is accessible through the data selector tool, found through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/interactive-map?network=nondefraaqmon

An interactive map of monitoring sites in the UK provides information on all the monitoring sites in the Greater Manchester region, and can be accessed through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/datawarehouse

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) submit to Defra a single Annual Status Report via The Greater Manchester Air Quality Working Group, led by Transport for Greater Manchester, representing the ten authorities that constitute the GMCA – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan. The Annual Status Report submitted in 2021 (covering 2020) can be viewed on the GMCA website via the URL below.

https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/download/4166/air_quality_reports

This report includes the air quality monitoring data for 2020. Data for 2021 will be submitted as part of this years’ Annual Status Report expected later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote innovation in the food system.

Defra recognises how central innovation and technology are to boosting productivity, enhancing the environment and feeding a growing global population. The Government is making significant investment to unlock innovation and translate our world leading research into practical, farmer-led solutions that improve productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, and which move towards net zero emission farming systems.

We have several funding programmes open to industry as well as our own farming and food science research. These funding streams address key areas such as soil systems and land management, regenerative agriculture, sustainable feed and pest management, automation, alternative proteins, and precision farming.

The Government’s £90 million investment in the 'Transforming Food Production' (TFP) challenge, launched by UK Research and Innovation in 2018, is already supporting ground-breaking research and development to enable farmers and growers to harness the latest technology to produce high quality food, increase their productivity and move towards net zero emission farming systems by 2040.

On the back of this programme’s success, Defra launched a £14.5 million collaborative agricultural R&D competition called 'Farming Innovation Pathways' in spring 2021, targeting existing and new farm focused innovation, which will be delivered through the TFP initiative.

In October 2021, Defra launched the first £17.5 million share of funding in its ambitious new Farming Innovation Programme – as part of the proposed measures to stimulate innovation and boost sustainable productivity in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors as we move away from the EU system of farming subsidy payments. This Programme will enable more farmers, growers, and agri-food businesses to become involved in collaborative agricultural and horticultural R&D, and will enhance knowledge exchange and adoption of innovation by farmers and growers to ensure innovation can make a real difference to the sectors. It will comprise three separate funds that will pull through innovation in different areas, from small farmer-led innovative research projects to larger industrial R&D projects that can transform the sector.

On January 19 we will launch the Improving Farm Productivity theme of the Farming Investment Fund, part of the £27 million grant scheme fund launched last November. Farmers and growers in England will be able to apply for grants to invest in cutting edge robotic and automation technology to boost productivity. Farmers will benefit from grants ranging from £35,000 to £500,000 to invest in innovative equipment including state of the art autonomous driverless tractors, and cutting-edge robots that harvest, weed and spray crops and voluntary robotic milking systems.

Defra is also engaged with the £47.5 million UK Research and Innovation led Strategic Priorities Fund in Food Systems, which is addressing planetary and health challenges to transform the food system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his latest estimate is for domestic wood burning as a proportion of primary emissions of fine particulate matter, PM2.5, based on his Department’s contributions to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics for the UK in 2020 published in July 2021.

Emissions of key air pollutants are compiled and reported by Defra on an annual basis through the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory at https://naei.beis.gov.uk/data. Emissions data for 2020 will be published on 15 February 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department will take to assess whether the Environmental Land Management scheme is contributing towards the Government’s environmental goals.

Environmental Land Management schemes are being designed to contribute to a suite of measurable objectives to support the delivery of government priorities, including the targets which are due to be set under the Environment Act. We will be carrying out a programme of annual monitoring across a sample of agreements to ensure that actions are delivering both value for money and the intended outcomes. This monitoring will begin during the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot in 2022.

The methods for gathering our evidence base will combine established data collection techniques, including expert led farm/field surveys, with increased use of technology, including earth observation and remote sensing where appropriate. This will enable us to establish baselines and environmental change across a range of indicators in line with scheme objectives. Indicators will encompass a number of different spatial and temporal scales to capture the changes that occur as a result of the schemes. Some indicators will focus on changes at an action level where others will look at impacts across landscapes. Indicators for the Environmental Land Management Programme are aligned with the 25 Year Environment Plan indicators which monitor overall environmental delivery against the government’s strategic goals for environmental improvement.

We are also working closely with national monitoring programmes such as Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment to make use of existing and planned widescale environmental data collection. Data collection outside of agreements will provide valuable counterfactual information to enable us to establish changes that have resulted from scheme activities.

Alongside the national scale monitoring of schemes and environmental delivery, we will be continuing a programme of bespoke research and development projects as part of the Agri-environment Scheme Monitoring and Evaluation Programme. This long running programme assesses specific aspects of environmental delivery and will feed into policy design and improvement. As environmental outcomes can take longer to deliver, we will also be utilising modelling approaches to supplement data collection and provide additional insights.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to provide increased support to UK producers of plant-based protein to help develop domestic and overseas markets; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the options to support those producers available to his Department.

Protein-based crops, such as pulses and legumes, are important to UK farming. They contribute to farm profitability, the food supply chain, and provide sustainable, low carbon, protein in human diets and animal feed. They contribute positively to crop diversification and insect recovery and pollination.

A focus on R&D and innovation, including Defra’s recently launched Farming Innovation Programme will help drive innovation including in pulses, legumes and other crops, to improve productivity and prosperity across sectors - enabling more farmers, growers and agri-food businesses to become involved in and benefit from agricultural research and development. Further R&D funding opportunities in this Programme are due to launch in spring 2022.

Defra continues to help our food producers and farmers capitalise on the global demand for British food and drink. The Government is expanding our agri-food and drink attaché network to give additional support on the ground, and we are establishing a new Food and Drink Export Council to deliver a dynamic, future-facing strategy for the sector across the whole of the UK. The GREAT campaign has recently undertaken research into the perceptions, awareness and purchase intent of UK food and drink in key international markets - including specific questioning on plant-based foods - to help plan future promotional and export-based activity.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to UK producers of plant-based protein to help develop domestic and overseas markets.

Protein-based crops, such as pulses and legumes, are important to UK farming. They contribute to farm profitability, the food supply chain, and provide sustainable, low carbon, protein in human diets and animal feed. They contribute positively to crop diversification and insect recovery and pollination.

A focus on R&D and innovation, including Defra’s recently launched Farming Innovation Programme will help drive innovation including in pulses, legumes and other crops, to improve productivity and prosperity across sectors - enabling more farmers, growers and agri-food businesses to become involved in and benefit from agricultural research and development. Further R&D funding opportunities in this Programme are due to launch in Spring 2022.

Defra continues to help our food producers and farmers capitalise on the global demand for British food and drink. The Government is expanding our agri-food and drink attaché network to give additional support on the ground, and we are establishing a new Food and Drink Export Council to deliver a dynamic, future-facing strategy for the sector across the whole of the UK. The GREAT campaign has recently undertaken research into the perceptions, awareness and purchase intent of UK food and drink in key international markets - including specific questioning on plant-based foods - to help plan future promotional and export-based activity.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for UK farmers and food producers to develop new markets in plant-based protein produced from UK grown (a) pulses, (b) legumes, (c) cabbage and (d) other crops.

Protein-based crops, such as pulses and legumes, are important to UK farming. They contribute to farm profitability, the food supply chain, and provide sustainable, low carbon, protein in human diets and animal feed. They contribute positively to crop diversification and insect recovery and pollination.

A focus on R&D and innovation, including Defra’s recently launched Farming Innovation Programme will help drive innovation including in pulses, legumes and other crops, to improve productivity and prosperity across sectors - enabling more farmers, growers and agri-food businesses to become involved in and benefit from agricultural research and development. Further R&D funding opportunities in this Programme are due to launch in Spring 2022.

Defra continues to help our food producers and farmers capitalise on the global demand for British food and drink. The Government is expanding our agri-food and drink attaché network to give additional support on the ground, and we are establishing a new Food and Drink Export Council to deliver a dynamic, future-facing strategy for the sector across the whole of the UK. The GREAT campaign has recently undertaken research into the perceptions, awareness and purchase intent of UK food and drink in key international markets - including specific questioning on plant-based foods - to help plan future promotional and export-based activity.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compliance of his Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

We have not made a central assessment of the compliance of staff working from home against the Working Time Regulations (WTR) 1998. While we do not centrally monitor or hold records of employees’ working time (whether working from home, a Defra workplace or other location), we do ask managers and employees to ensure compliance and keep local records in accordance with WTR 1998.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of Environmental Land Management schemes on (a) land use, (b) food production and (c) food productivity.

Environmental Land Management scheme impacts on land use is being assessed through our modelling of expected scheme uptake and corresponding environmental actions on specific land types. Through our modelling we are mapping out expected land use changes resulting from scheme actions to estimate the environmental impacts, including on secondary impacts such as expanded access to green spaces / blue spaces for recreation. Impacts on food production and productivity will be modelled in a similar way, using expected uptake and scheme actions, informed by agricultural data, expert judgement, and external research to model changes in agricultural practices and impacts on crops grown and yields, for example.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring a resilient CO2 supply.

A cross-Government ministerial group has been set up to monitor supply chains, identify critical sectors and consider necessary Government action. As part of this work and over the longer term, the Government is examining the options for the market to improve resilience in the provision of essential supplies such as CO2.

In the short term, the CO2 industry has come to an agreement to ensure UK businesses have access to a sustainable supply of CO2. This deal runs until the end of January. The parties to the agreement must now work together to negotiate a further market solution. This will ensure supplies to UK businesses.

Our overriding priority is to protect consumers and deliver value for money for the taxpayer. The agreement between the CO2 industry and CF Fertilisers confirms that the company’s plant in Teesside will continue to operate. The full press notice on this agreement can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/agreement-reached-to-ensure-supplies-of-co2-to-businesses. In September 2021, the Government provided limited financial support for CF Fertilisers’ operating costs for three weeks.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on (a) testing and (b) certification of wood burning stoves in Smoke Control Areas of the World Health Organisation’s new Good practice statements for black carbon and ultrafine particles.

We are already taking steps to reduce emissions from domestic burning. In 2020, we introduced the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations, which will phase out of the sale of the most polluting domestic solid fuels. As of January 2022, all stoves placed on the market in the UK must be Eco-design compliant.

We have commissioned a £1.6 million research project to systematically estimate the emissions associated with different solids fuels and appliances. We are commissioning an evaluation of the impact of the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations 2020 and updating our understanding of trends in domestic burning practices, including within smoke control areas.

Additionally, the Government is expanding the PM2.5 monitoring network to enhance measurement of this pollutant nationally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on (a) testing and (b) certification of wood burning stoves outside Smoke Control Areas of the World Health Organisation’s new Good practice statements for black carbon and ultrafine particles.

We are already taking steps to reduce emissions from domestic burning. In 2020, we introduced the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations, which will phase out of the sale of the most polluting domestic solid fuels. As of January 2022, all stoves placed on the market in the UK must be Eco-design compliant.

We have commissioned a £1.6 million research project to systematically estimate the emissions associated with different solids fuels and appliances. We are commissioning an evaluation of the impact of the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations 2020 and updating our understanding of trends in domestic burning practices, including within smoke control areas.

Additionally, the Government is expanding the PM2.5 monitoring network to enhance measurement of this pollutant nationally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on (a) testing and (b) certification of wood burning stoves for ecodesign of the World Health Organisation’s new Good practice statements for black carbon and ultrafine particles compliance.

We are already taking steps to reduce emissions from domestic burning. In 2020, we introduced the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations, which will phase out of the sale of the most polluting domestic solid fuels. As of January 2022, all stoves placed on the market in the UK must be Eco-design compliant.

We have commissioned a £1.6 million research project to systematically estimate the emissions associated with different solids fuels and appliances. We are commissioning an evaluation of the impact of the Domestic Solid Fuels Regulations 2020 and updating our understanding of trends in domestic burning practices, including within smoke control areas.

Additionally, the Government is expanding the PM2.5 monitoring network to enhance measurement of this pollutant nationally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for the research and measurement study being carried out to improve emission estimates for domestic combustion.

The Emissions Factors for Domestic Solid Fuels research and measurement programme will begin to deliver results by the end of the 2022/23 financial year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 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 the finding of the Annual Danish Informative Inventory Report to UNECE, number 435, page 114, that new ecodesign-compliant wood burning stoves emit nearly twice as much black carbon as older wood burning stoves.

We have commissioned a £1.6 million research project to systematically estimate the emissions, including black carbon, associated with different solids fuels, and appliances, used in the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people (a) living with asthma and lung disease and (b) who are most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution are prioritised in the forthcoming pollution exposure reduction target.

We recognise the need to take action to reduce the impacts of air pollution on health and to particularly focus action on PM2.5 - the pollutant of most significant harm to health.

Alongside setting a new concentration target, a new population exposure reduction will help prioritise action that is most beneficial for public health and drive continuous improvement, even where concentration targets have already been met. We will be launching a consultation on the new targets early this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the separation of recyclable materials at source to minimise the contamination of flexible plastic waste by food waste.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has produced guidance for local authorities to tackle the problems of contamination in recycling, which can be found here:

wrap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-05/WRAP-Tackling-contamination-dry-recycling-May2021.pdf.

WRAP also produces the Recycling Tracker which is the largest and longest running survey on recycling attitudes, values, and behaviours. The surveys can be found at this link:

https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/recycling-tracker-report-2020-behaviours-attitudes-and-awareness-around-recycling.

The Government wants to see the recycling of plastic film increased and plastic films included into the plastic recyclable waste stream for consistent collections. We have worked with stakeholders across the plastic packaging value chain to gather evidence on the issues related to introducing plastic films into kerbside collections, including food contamination.

In our 2021 consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England,’ we sought views on best practice around the separate collection of plastic films, to include guidance on this recognising that ideally plastic films would be segregated from other recyclable materials within the plastics waste stream to facilitate easier sorting and reduce contamination. We are currently analysing responses to the consultation and gathering further evidence around issues relating to material quality, sorting, reprocessing and contamination to include in best practice guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he will publish the Government’s response to the consultation on reducing ammonia emissions from solid urea fertilisers.

Defra will provide an official Government response to the consultation on reducing ammonia emissions from solid urea fertilisers early this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeline is for the public consultation on the Government's new PM2.5 targets.

We are preparing to launch a public consultation on proposed targets for reduction of PM2.5 early this year. Following the consultation, we will publish a Government response and then set the air quality targets in secondary legislation by 31 October 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of Denmark’s best practices for the controlling of emissions from wood burning stoves as part of developing guidelines for the UK.

At this stage, we have not made such an assessment as part of developing guidelines for the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the (a) effectiveness of the Blue Angel certification standard in Germany, which aims to reduce air pollution from wood burning stoves and (b) impact introducing a similar standard in the UK would have on emissions from wood burning stoves.

We have not made an assessment of this certification standard, which has a much wider remit than air pollution and wood burning stoves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will implement the recommendation of the Environmental Audit Committee in its 2019 report, Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life, and align with the European Chemical Agency’s Substances of Very High Concern Candidate List.

Last year the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation was brought into UK law, retaining the fundamental approach and key principles of EU REACH and ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

Within UK REACH, the Candidate List is a list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can be prioritised for inclusion on the Authorisation List. Once a substance is added to the Authorisation List, it may not be used after the specified ‘sunset date’ unless the Secretary of State has granted a business-specific authorisation for that use.

The substances on the EU REACH candidate list were automatically carried forward to UK REACH. In future, substances will be added to the list on the basis of the best UK scientific advice, taking into account our own risk assessments.

Defra, the Welsh and Scottish governments have agreed an interim approach to adding new SVHCs to the list (published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-reach-approach-to-including-substances-of-very-high-concern-on-the-candidate-list). This is based on expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), as well as feedback from a range of stakeholders.

We believe that focusing the Candidate List on identifying substances that are genuine candidates for authorisation – the statutory purpose of the list – will more effectively enable substitution away from the most hazardous substances. The regulatory pressure from inclusion on the Candidate List can be diluted if there is little realistic chance of added substances being made subject to authorisation.

As part of our approach, HSE and EA will conduct analysis to identify the most effective regulatory action to manage the risks from a chemical. When substances are on the incorrect regulatory pathway it can lead to unintended consequences such as regrettable substitution, where a hazardous substance is replaced by a substance with similar hazards; this can then increase the time taken to effectively control the risks. Both the HSE and EA are well placed to act as a strong and effective regulator to operate UK REACH. Both organisations have substantial expertise having worked on some of the most complex dossiers under EU REACH.

This approach makes no practical change to helpful consumer information.

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