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

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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

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

Liberal Democrat
Tim Farron (LD - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Labour
Baroness Hayman of Ullock (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Steve Reed (Lab - Croydon North)
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Daniel Zeichner (Lab - Cambridge)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (Lab - Newport West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ministers of State
Mark Spencer (Con - Sherwood)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lord Benyon (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)
Robbie Moore (Con - Keighley)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lord Douglas-Miller (Con - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Orders and regulations - Main Chamber
Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023 and associated regret motion
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
15:45
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
5 Mar 2024, 3:45 p.m.
Waste Enforcement (Fixed Penalty Receipts) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2023
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 9th May 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Friday 23rd February 2024
Pollack in Western Waters
Written Statements
Select Committee Inquiry
Thursday 14th September 2023
Urban Green Spaces

The number of people who live in urban areas in the UK is expected to increase over the next decade, …

Written Answers
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Air Pollution: Finance
To ask His Majesty's Government what funds are available for organisations that aim to reduce air pollution in England.
Secondary Legislation
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Fair Dealing Obligations (Milk) Regulations 2024
These Regulations make provision in respect of commercial contracts for the purchase of milk between persons purchasing milk in the …
Bills
Monday 4th December 2023
Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to Prohibit the export of certain livestock from Great Britain for slaughter.
Dept. Publications
Friday 23rd February 2024
13:17

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
Feb. 01
Oral Questions
Jun. 28
Urgent Questions
Feb. 23
Written Statements
Feb. 07
Westminster Hall
Feb. 21
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament


A Bill to Prohibit the export of certain livestock from Great Britain for slaughter.

Commons Completed
Lords - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Wednesday 21st February 2024
(Read Debate)

Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


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.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 23rd March 2023 and was enacted into law.


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 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 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 23rd November 2020 and was enacted into law.


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

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations make provision in respect of commercial contracts for the purchase of milk between persons purchasing milk in the course of carrying on their business (business purchasers) and producers.
These Regulations, which apply in England only, exempt certain developments from meeting the biodiversity gain requirement that would otherwise be imposed as a general condition of planning permission.
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
3,916 Signatures
(799 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
2,345 Signatures
(512 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
548 Signatures
(458 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
1,577 Signatures
(174 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Debates Contributed
620,679
c. 3,719 added daily
621,020
(Estimated)
13 Mar 2024
closes in 2 weeks, 3 days


I believe that the XL bully is a kind, beautiful natured breed that loves children and people in general, and are very loyal and loving pets.

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.

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
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
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
Steven Bonnar Portrait
Steven Bonnar (Scottish National Party - Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 8th November 2022
Cat Smith Portrait
Cat Smith (Labour - Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 19th June 2023
Selaine Saxby Portrait
Selaine Saxby (Conservative - North Devon)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 22nd January 2024
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Previous Inquiries
Air Quality: follow up Labour in the food supply chain The work of DEFRA COVID-19 and food supply Rural Communities Milk prices Appointment of Jonson Cox as Chair of Ofwat Dog Control and Welfare Draft Water Bill Air Quality Desinewed Meat Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Flood Funding Future Flood and Water Management Legislation Farming in the Uplands Marine Policy Statement Draft National Policy Statement on Waste Water Welfare of Laying Hens Directive—Implications for the egg industry EU proposals for the dairy sector and the future of the dairy industry Implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy: Domestic Fisheries Management Outcome of the independent Farming Regulation Task Force Draft Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill Draft National Policy Statement for Hazardous Waste EU proposals for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy Defra Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11 Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Draft British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012 and the Draft Inland Waterways Advisory Council (Abolition) Order 2012 Orders under the Public Bodies Act 2011 Bovine TB Vaccine Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill CAP Implementation 2014-2020 Insurance for flooding The Elliott review Primates as pets Winter Floods Pre-appointment hearing with proposed Chairman of Natural England Departmental Annual Report 2012-13 Food Security Waste management in England Rural Payments Agency Work of Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Appointment hearing for preferred candidate for Chair of the Environment Agency Horse welfare Defra's responsibility for fracking Defra performance in 2013-14 Food security: demand, consumption and waste Food supply networks Rural broadband and digital-only services Dairy prices Work of the Committee 2010-15 CAP payments to farmers EFRA topics Dairy prices inquiry Defra performance in 2014-15 inquiry Common Agricultural Policy inquiry Defra's responsibilities for air quality inquiry Farmgate prices inquiry Beef grading prices inquiry Food waste in England inquiry Rural tourism in England inquiry Forestry in England inquiry Environment Agency Chair pre-appointment hearing Work of Defra evidence sessions Winter floods 2015-16 inquiry Future flood prevention inquiry The work of Defra inquiry Farmgate prices: follow-up evidence session Brexit: Trade in food inquiry The work of Defra inquiry Improving air quality Work of the Environment Agency inquiry 2 Sisters and Standards in Poultry Processing inquiry Fisheries inquiry Performance of the Rural Payments Agency inquiry Defra's plans to improve air quality Feeding the nation: labour constraints inquiry Post-legislative scrutiny: Flood and Water Management Act 2010 inquiry Countryside Stewardship Scheme one-off session Improving air quality joint inquiry Countryside and Environmental Stewardship schemes inquiry The new farming programme inquiry Rural broadband and digital only services inquiry General licences for controlling wild birds inquiry Environment Bill inquiry Beef prices inquiry Agriculture, achieving net-zero emissions inquiry Peatland inquiry Puppy smuggling inquiry Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure inquiry Pre-appointment hearing with the Government’s preferred candidate for Chair of Natural England inquiry Plastic food and drink packaging inquiry Coastal flooding and adaptation to climate change inquiry Work of the Food Standards Agency inquiry Pre-appointment hearing for the Chair of Natural England inquiry Scrutiny of the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill inquiry Farm Inspection and Regulation Review inquiry Dangerous Dogs: Breed Specific Legislation inquiry Regulation of the Water Industry inquiry Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink inquiry Proposed merger of Asda and Sainsbury’s inquiry Agriculture Bill inquiry Scrutiny of the Fisheries Bill inquiry Is Defra ready for Brexit? inquiry The Work of the Chief Veterinary Officer inquiry Work of DEFRA: Health and Harmony inquiry Work of the Rural Payments Agency inquiry Work and Role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator inquiry Fur trade in the UK inquiry Trade in sugar post-Brexit inquiry Work of the Chief Scientific Adviser: Defra inquiry Labour constraints inquiry Draft Animal Welfare Bill inquiry Air Quality Public Sector Procurement of Food Government support to the dairy sector during the COVID-19 pandemic Work of Defra Work of the Environment Agency Marine Mammals Work of the Environment Agency Pre-appointment hearing: Chair of the Environment Agency Environmental Land Management Scheme: Progress Update Food Security Species Reintroduction UK-Norway Framework Fisheries Agreement Soil Health Post-pandemic health and welfare concerns of companion animals, including abuse and mutilation Resources and Waste provisional Common Framework Pet Smuggling Tenant Farmers Fairness in the food supply chain UK trade policy: food and agriculture Urban Green Spaces Education and Careers in Land-based Sectors Common Framework on Food and Feed Safety and Hygiene Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition Moving animals across borders COVID-19 and food supply: follow up Seafood and Meat Exports to the EU Agriculture Bill Agriculture, achieving net-zero emissions Proposed merger of Asda and Sainsbury’s Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink Coastal flooding and adaptation to climate change Countryside and Environmental Stewardship schemes General licences for controlling wild birds Is Defra ready for Brexit? Labour constraints The new farming programme Peatland Plastic food and drink packaging Puppy smuggling Rural broadband and digital only services Scrutiny of the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill Scrutiny of the Fisheries Bill Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure The work of Defra Work of the Food Standards Agency Beef prices Environment Bill

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

14th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Douglas-Miller on 6 February (HL1687), whether there are current negotiations with the EU on the supply of veterinary medicines to Northern Ireland.

The Government is committed to securing a long-term sustainable solution ahead of December 2025 that will properly support the flow of veterinary medicines into Northern Ireland from Great Britain on an enduring basis.

It remains our priority to find a solution that removes the barriers to supply of veterinary medicines into NI through technical talks with the EU.

The Government is very clear that in all scenarios it is imperative to safeguard the supply of veterinary medicines to NI, and if necessary we will deploy all available flexibilities in line with our legal obligations.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address fly-tipping in rural areas.

We appreciate the difficulty that fly-tipping poses to landowners. We are working with stakeholders, such as the National Farmers Union and local authorities, through the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group to share good practice, including how to prevent fly-tipping on private land.

As part of the Government’s commitment to unleash rural opportunity, we are currently funding a post within the new National Rural Crime Unit to explore how the police’s role in tacking fly-tipping can be optimised, with a focus on rural areas.

Across two rounds of our fly-tipping grant scheme, we have awarded nearly £1.2m to help more than 30 councils tackle fly-tipping at known hot-spots, including in rural areas, such as by installing CCTV. We are currently reviewing applications for a third round of grants, which could see a further £1m handed out in the spring to help even more councils tackle the issue.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what funds are available for organisations that aim to reduce air pollution in England.

The Government has allocated £883 million of funding for local authorities under the 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Concentrations.

Defra also annually runs a Local Air Quality Grant to help local authorities across England reduce air pollution in their areas. This year we have committed to spending at least £6 million to fund projects targeting particulate matter, behavioural change campaigns and those aimed at reducing levels of NO2. The successful local authorities for this year will be announced in due course.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Air Pollution and Inequalities in London report published on 30 June 2023 and commissioned by Greater London Authority, which found that Black people in London are more likely to live in areas with more polluted air.

Air quality matters in London are devolved to the Mayor of London.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the evidence that Black communities in London are more likely to breathe illegal levels of air pollution than White or Asian communities.

Air quality matters in London are devolved to the Mayor of London.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle pre-production plastic pellet, nurdle, pollution in the marine environment.

Tackling marine plastic pollution in all its forms is a priority for the UK Government, and we’re taking action domestically, regionally and internationally to address this issue.

Our statutory UK Marine Strategy sets out a vision for UK waters to achieve clean, safe, healthy biologically diverse and productive seas, which are used sustainably. The UK Marine Strategy Part One set out our aim for the amount of litter on coastlines and in the marine environment to be declining over time and for levels to not pose a significant risk to the coastal and marine environment.

In 2019, the British Irish Council Ministers recognised the need to address the loss of plastic pellets and supported the development of a Publicly Available Specification developed by the British Standards Institution. This Specification sets out requirements for the handling and management of plastic pellets, flakes and powders throughout the supply chain to prevent spills, leaks and loss to the environment, and was the first of its kind when published in July 2021. Details can be found on the BSI website: PAS 510:2021 | 31 Jul 2021 | BSI Knowledge (bsigroup.com).

As a Contracting Party to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, the UK develops and implements actions under the OSPAR Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and has led an action on preventing plastic pellet loss in the supply chain. The action has resulted in the adoption of a Recommendation on minimum requirements for pellet loss certification schemes, to promote coherence in national approaches and drive improved standards throughout the supply chain.

The UK is a leading voice in the negotiation of a new international treaty on plastic pollution and has called for binding provisions to reduce and prevent microplastic pollution from all sources. In particular, the UK has called for specific provisions to prevent and eliminate emissions and releases of plastic pellets, flakes and powders across the whole supply chain.

Additionally, the UK is contributing to discussions at the International Maritime Organisation regarding requirements for the shipping of plastic pellets. Recommendations on the carriage of plastic pellets by sea in freight containers are under development and are expected to be approved this year. The UK is pushing for action to be taken as soon as possible to reduce the incidence of plastic pellet spills at sea.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of plastic pyrolysis plants on the environment in (a) residential and (b) other areas.

Plastic pyrolysis plants in England will be regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations, either by the Environment Agency or the relevant local authority, depending on the size and configuration of the plant.

Before issuing an environmental permit, the EA will carry out an environmental risk assessment of the process, including emissions to air, odour and noise. This will be done irrespective of the location of the plant, but a plant in a residential area may require more sensitive receptors to be assessed and tighter controls compared to one in a less densely populated area.

The EA will not issue a permit if the proposed plant could have a significant impact on the environment, including if it could have an unacceptable impact on air quality or cause pollution via odour or noise. If a permit is issued, the EA will carry out regular audits and inspections of the plant to ensure compliance.

The EA is not responsible for deciding where plastic pyrolysis plants should be located, whether they are the right solution for dealing with waste plastics, or for any vehicle movements to and from the plants. Instead, such matters are considered under planning by the relevant authority.

If the local authority is the regulator of the plant, the EA will have no control over the permitting or regulatory process, but it will be able to provide advice and guidance via its Local Authority Unit Team if the local authority requests it. Local authorities would be expected to have similar permitting and regulatory processes to those of the EA.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce mandatory food waste reporting for (a) large and (b) medium sized businesses.

The Secretary of State decided in November 2023 to look again at how best to secure the benefits of food waste reporting for large businesses. We now intend to gather further evidence and re-consider all options in the 2022 consultation, including mandatory reporting, using the latest available data. We expect to make the decision later this year.

Medium sized businesses (MSBs) are not under consideration for mandatory reporting approach. MSBs are supported to report voluntarily, including through the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and the Guardians of Grub programme, which provide guidance to businesses of all sizes on tackling food waste.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the bumble bee population in the UK.

There are 24 bumblebee species in the UK. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust runs the Great Britain (GB) BeeWalk survey, which involves volunteers walking the same fixed route at least once a month between March and October (inclusive). The abundance of each bumblebee species seen is recorded in a 4m x 4m x 2m recording box to standardise between habitats and observers. The data for 2010-2019 shows that for the 20 species with enough observation data to assess trends, 8 species had positive population trends and 12 had declining trends in GB.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse was of flooding in each of the last five years.

The Environment Agency counts properties flooded during all flood events, with final numbers verified by local flood authorities. Additionally, the Environment Agency looks at long term national trends, rates of optimal spend, but only calculates the economic costs of an actual flood in occasional circumstances due to the significant time and cost associated with undertaking the reports. Therefore, data is not collated on an annual basis.

Since 2010, there are costs of flood reports for the major events of winter 2013/14 and winter 2015/16. It is estimated the 2013/14 winter floods caused approximately £1.3 billion of damage and the 2015/16 winter floods caused approximately £1.6 billion of damage.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department has invested in flood resilience in each of the last five years.

The Environment Agency counts properties flooded during all flood events, with final numbers verified by local flood authorities. Additionally, the Environment Agency looks at long term national trends, rates of optimal spend, but only calculates the economic costs of an actual flood in occasional circumstances due to the significant time and cost associated with undertaking the reports. Therefore, data is not collated on an annual basis.

Since 2010, there are costs of flood reports for the major events of winter 2013/14 and winter 2015/16. It is estimated the 2013/14 winter floods caused approximately £1.3 billion of damage and the 2015/16 winter floods caused approximately £1.6 billion of damage.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the scale of the environmental impact of disposable vapes.

When littered, disposable vapes can introduce plastic, nicotine salts, heavy metals, lead, mercury, and flammable lithium-ion batteries into the natural environment. These items and substances contaminate waterways and soil, posing a risk to the environment and animal health. Defra commissioned external research to further understand the environmental harms of disposable vapes, which is published online. The objectives of this report included understanding the UK single-use vape market, disposal methods, environmental impacts and other international approaches to regulating vapes.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on ensuring a consistent approach across the UK to the Government's proposed ban on disposable vapes.

Following the consultation on creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping, the recently published government response confirmed that the UK Government intends to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to ban the supply and ban of disposable vapes in England. Scotland and Wales also confirmed they intend to bring forward similar legislation and Northern Ireland is considering next steps following the consultation. We are in regular discussions with the devolved administrations on these proposals.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Scottish and (b) Welsh governments on ensuring the interoperability of a ban on disposable vapes.

Following the consultation on creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping, the recently published government response confirmed that the UK Government intends to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to ban the supply and ban of disposable vapes in England. Scotland and Wales also confirmed they intend to bring forward similar legislation and Northern Ireland is considering next steps following the consultation. We are in regular discussions with the devolved administrations on these proposals.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to develop a detailed timeline for the roll-out of a ban on disposable vapes.

Defra is currently developing the timeline for the ban on the sale and supply of disposable vapes and is engaging with devolved administrations across the UK as well as relevant enforcement agencies to ensure successful rollout. Any legislation taken forward will allow for an implementation period of at least six months, which takes into consideration concerns that industry will require time to adapt.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to stop the export of horses to Europe for slaughter.

The Government is banning the export of horses for slaughter through the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill which is progressing through Parliament.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve food security.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption.

Our high degree of food security is built on 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 73% 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.

UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

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

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. The next Food Security Report will be published by the end of 2024.

The Farm to Fork Summit also took place on 16 May 2023. Discussions focused on bringing great British food to the world; building resilience and transparency; strengthening sustainability and productivity across the supply chain; and growing an innovative, skilled food and farming sector. Engagement with the entire supply chain continues as we deliver the commitments from the summit.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the importation of dogs with cropped ears.

The practice of non-exempted mutilations such as cropping dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for over 10 years.

In August 2021, we consulted on proposed changes to the commercial and non-commercial movements of pets into Great Britain including the importation of dogs with cropped ears.

We are carefully reviewing the feedback from our consultation and wider engagement with stakeholders, and a summary will be published in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will launch a consultation on the potential impact of increasing production costs on farmers’ mental health.

The Government understands the pressures some farmers are facing in light of rising input costs. We are keeping the situation under close review, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We also continue our engagement with industry to supplement our analysis with real time intelligence.

In addition to this, we are providing expert business support to farmers under the Future Farming Resilience Fund. One of the key required outcomes for the Resilience Fund is that farmers’ mental health and wellbeing are supported, where required. Some delivery providers are offering this support from in-house experts and others are signposting support available from external expert services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the money unspent across his Department's budgets in 2023.

Defra has agreed with HM Treasury to budget exchange from 2023/24 to 2024/25 the following: £47.9 million Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit (CDEL) for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme; £24.2 million CDEL for the Science Capability in Animal Health Programme; and £33.21 million CDEL for the Borders Programme. In addition, Defra has reprofiled £116.24 million CDEL primarily to reflect more accurate spend over future years.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on the agreements made at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15).

The UK played a leading role at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in securing agreement to a historic package of measures to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Our priority for COP16 and beyond is to drive global delivery of these agreements both at home and abroad, by working closely with our international partners.

Since COP15, we have worked internationally to drive delivery of the Kunming Montreal targets, including by:

  • announcing an initial contribution of £10m to the newly-established Global Biodiversity Framework Fund;
  • launching the Ocean Community Empowerment and Nature (OCEAN) competitive grants programme under the UK's £500 million Blue Planet Fund, which will run until 31 March 2029 and provide up to £60m to support innovative proposals from local coastal communities and organisations that aim to deliver marine protection and poverty reduction outcomes; and
  • committing to lay in Spring 2024 forest risk commodity legislation which will require UK-based operators to ensure that the regulated commodities used in their supply chains were produced in compliance with local laws relating to land ownership and use.

Domestically we have:

  • driven forward the global commitment to protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030, publishing a new map to show what areas could count in the delivery of “30by30”, which will ensure our most important places, at the core of nature’s recovery, are protected for our iconic species to thrive;
  • announced £15million new funding to accelerate nature recovery across our most cherished Protected Landscapes, and a new Rainforest Strategy backed by £750,000 funding to protect the delicate and globally rare temperate rainforest habitats found across the Southwest and Cumbria;
  • reaffirmed our commitment to deliver Marine Net Gain (MNG), ensuring that developments at sea also deliver measurable benefits for nature; and
  • established a comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 38% of our waters, with sites protecting 40% of English waters. We are now focusing on making sure our MPAs are effectively managed for nature, with the aim to have management measures to protect features from damaging fishing activities in English MPAs by the end of 2024.

The four nations of the UK are working together and aim to publish a UK-wide revised NBSAP (National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan) by May 2024, ahead of CBD COP16.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the ban on American XL Bullies on the (a) rescue and (b) veterinary sectors.

Defra worked closely with stakeholders including rescue and rehoming centres and the veterinary sector to consider the impacts of banning XL Bully dogs. We continue to engage with stakeholders to monitor the impacts of the ban.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to eradicate Japanese knotweed.

The Government recognises the threats posed by invasive species, including Japanese knotweed, and has a comprehensive Great Britain Non-native Species Strategy designed to co-ordinate action to tackle these threats.  Defra funds biocontrol research to tackle Japanese knotweed. It is hoped that this will provide a cost and time effective way of managing this species. This research has identified the psyllid Aphalari itadori, (a sap-sucking insect), as a biological control agent for tackling Japanese Knotweed. Information about the research can be found on the Japanese Knotweed Alliance website.

Local Action Groups, with support from Government, are actively involved in reducing and eradicating Japanese knotweed.

Japanese knotweed is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to allow the plant to escape or cause it to grow in the wild. The Government has developed guidance on how to prevent the spread of Japanese knotweed and other harmful weeds, as well as how to treat and dispose of them, which can be found on GOV.UK:

How to stop invasive non-native plants from spreading - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Government also run awareness raising campaigns such as ‘Be Plant Wise’ and Invasive Species Week, as well as providing species information and online training materials on biosecurity on the GB NNSS website.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of legislation on the welfare of (a) pet and (b) wild rodents.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect the welfare of companion animals - including rabbits and pet rodents such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 regulations) require anyone who is in the business of selling rodents as pets to obtain a valid licence from their local authority.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), it is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 amended the 2006 Act to deliver the Government's manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. Anyone who is cruel to an animal (including domestic rabbits and pet rodents) faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both. This strengthened measure sends a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

Advice is available to educate pet owners on providing for the welfare needs of their pet, including fact sheets produced by the Royal Veterinary College.

We also have legislation in place regarding the welfare of wild rodents. A number of native wild species of rodent such as Hazel Dormouse, Red Squirrel, and Water Vole are afforded full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence to intentionally: kill, injure or take them. The welfare of all rodents is protected under both the Wild Mammals Act 1996 which makes certain acts of deliberate harm illegal and the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it unlawful for wild rodents to be subject to unnecessary suffering while under human control. Further to this, through the Glue Traps (Offences) Act 2022, the Government is banning the use of glue traps in England in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure an adequate supply of labour in the food supply chain.

Defra is aware of the impact that labour shortages are having on the food supply chain and we continue to speak regularly with the sector and other government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements.

To inform future decisions on labour across the sector, Defra commissioned John Shropshire to carry out an Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain throughout 2022 and 2023, considering how automation, domestic labour and migrant labour could contribute to tackling labour shortages in our sectors. This report was published on 30 June 2023 and the government response – which will also be informed by the Review of Automation in Horticulture – is expected to be published in early 2024.

At the same time as the response, the government will set out how it will support the sector to access the labour it needs alongside actions to reduce the sector’s reliance on migrant labour including via our work on automation and promoting domestic labour procurement and training.

Alongside this, the Government announced last May that there would be 45,000 Seasonal Worker visas for the horticulture sector in 2024, with a further 2000 for seasonal poultry workers, ensuring these sectors can plan their workforce needs for the year ahead with confidence.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 9694 on River Mersey: Pollution, how many of the 56 pollution discharges in the River Mersey resulted in action being taken in line with the Environment Agency’s Enforcement and Sanctions policy.

Following the 56 pollution discharges into the River Mersey, in line with its enforcement and sanctions policy, the Environment Agency has taken action 24 times. Five pollution occurrences resulted in warning letters, 17 resulted in site warnings and two instances resulted in advice and guidance being issued.

After initial enquiries, the Environment Agency took no further action in 12 instances where no offence was deemed to have been committed, in eight instances that had no impact on water quality and in two instances where, following its enforcement and sanctions policy, further action was deemed not to be in the public interest.

There were 10 instances where a polluter could not be identified, so further action could not be taken.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that information on food packaging is accessible for blind and partially-sighted people.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible, clearly legible and where appropriate indelible, in addition to there being a required minimum font size for mandatory information


We are aware of moves by some retailers to provide information on food in braille format, and the government is interested in seeing how this works


We know there are other exciting possibilities, including the use of mobile phone apps and QR codes via which consumers with visual impairments may be able to access not only the basics, but the full range of information available on the label, as well as additional information provided via the App or QR code.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost is of (a) purchase of and (b) construction works on Sevington Internal Border Facility.

The £366 million figure referred to in the National Audit Office report covered a specific set of activities within Defra’s overall 2021 Spending Review digital investment. At least £149.3 million has been spent on these activities as of 31 December 2023, alongside other digital investment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government which Minister will have responsibility for the operation, staffing and maintenance of border inspection posts in Northern Ireland upon their completion.

The UK Government already assumed responsibility for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Inspection Facilities in Northern Ireland last year. As set out in the Safeguarding the Union Command Paper, the Government will take powers at Westminster to direct NI bodies to protect the UK internal market in the operation of the Windsor Framework. We will set out further details in due course.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish guidance for owners of XL Bully dogs who were unable to register their dogs by the deadline.

Applications for a Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully dog opened on the 14 November and closed at midday on 31 January. This date was set out in legislation and gave owners over two months to apply. It is now against the law to keep an XL Bully dog without a valid Certificate of Exemption, and new exemptions can only be authorised by a court order. If owners think they have an XL Bully dog and do not have a Certificate of Exemption, we advise that they should contact their local police force. We have published this guidance on GOV.UK.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish an impact assessment for the draft Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Regulations include a two-year implementation period to provide sufficient time for existing keepers to make necessary changes to comply with the new regulations or to find a suitable alternative home for their primate.

These measures do not meet the threshold for a formal impact assessment and no significant costs on the public sector or businesses have been identified. We will be working with local authorities and the sectors to identify suitable rehoming facilities for primates and determine how they can be supported effectively to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023 on primates kept by owners who are unable to meet licensing requirements under the new regulations.

The Regulations include a two-year implementation period to provide sufficient time for existing keepers to make necessary changes to comply with the new regulations or to find a suitable alternative home for their primate.

These measures do not meet the threshold for a formal impact assessment and no significant costs on the public sector or businesses have been identified. We will be working with local authorities and the sectors to identify suitable rehoming facilities for primates and determine how they can be supported effectively to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to support (a) animal rescue centres and (b) sanctuaries that receive surrendered primates following the implementation of the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Regulations include a two-year implementation period to provide sufficient time for existing keepers to make necessary changes to comply with the new regulations or to find a suitable alternative home for their primate.

These measures do not meet the threshold for a formal impact assessment and no significant costs on the public sector or businesses have been identified. We will be working with local authorities and the sectors to identify suitable rehoming facilities for primates and determine how they can be supported effectively to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what evidential basis the decision not pursue a ban on the keeping of primates was made.

The Government opted to prioritise primate welfare by using secondary legislation. This approach means that these regulations will be in place earlier than would have been possible under primary legislation.

Over 98% of respondents to our 2020 consultation and 97% of respondents to our 2023 consultation expressed support for the introduction of a new prohibition on keeping primates privately in England without a relevant licence.

The regulations ban the keeping of primates without a relevant licence, ensuring that only those keeping primates to the highest welfare standards can do so.

We have thoroughly considered our 2019 call for evidence, consultations and wider stakeholder engagement to ensure the introduction of robust and proportionate measures. This includes activities on breeding, where primate keepers will be required to meet minimum welfare and licencing standards and subject to veterinary control and oversight.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason he plans to restrict the keeping of primates as pets through the draft Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023 rather than through primary legislation.

The Government opted to prioritise primate welfare by using secondary legislation. This approach means that these regulations will be in place earlier than would have been possible under primary legislation.

Over 98% of respondents to our 2020 consultation and 97% of respondents to our 2023 consultation expressed support for the introduction of a new prohibition on keeping primates privately in England without a relevant licence.

The regulations ban the keeping of primates without a relevant licence, ensuring that only those keeping primates to the highest welfare standards can do so.

We have thoroughly considered our 2019 call for evidence, consultations and wider stakeholder engagement to ensure the introduction of robust and proportionate measures. This includes activities on breeding, where primate keepers will be required to meet minimum welfare and licencing standards and subject to veterinary control and oversight.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons provisions to allow breeding are included in the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Government opted to prioritise primate welfare by using secondary legislation. This approach means that these regulations will be in place earlier than would have been possible under primary legislation.

Over 98% of respondents to our 2020 consultation and 97% of respondents to our 2023 consultation expressed support for the introduction of a new prohibition on keeping primates privately in England without a relevant licence.

The regulations ban the keeping of primates without a relevant licence, ensuring that only those keeping primates to the highest welfare standards can do so.

We have thoroughly considered our 2019 call for evidence, consultations and wider stakeholder engagement to ensure the introduction of robust and proportionate measures. This includes activities on breeding, where primate keepers will be required to meet minimum welfare and licencing standards and subject to veterinary control and oversight.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to support local councils to implement the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to develop guidance to accompany the standards. This guidance will be provided to local authorities on how licence holders can demonstrate compliance with these standards and to supply additional information around conducting inspections.

Local authorities will be able to set and charge fees in respect of any application and inspection relating to a private primate keeper licence. These fees will enable local authorities to recover any costs they incur as a result of carrying out these activities and should not therefore present any additional financial burden on local authorities.

We will be working with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders during the implementation phase to understand how to effectively support them to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an estimate of the additional workload that implementation of the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023 will require of local councils.

The Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to develop guidance to accompany the standards. This guidance will be provided to local authorities on how licence holders can demonstrate compliance with these standards and to supply additional information around conducting inspections.

Local authorities will be able to set and charge fees in respect of any application and inspection relating to a private primate keeper licence. These fees will enable local authorities to recover any costs they incur as a result of carrying out these activities and should not therefore present any additional financial burden on local authorities.

We will be working with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders during the implementation phase to understand how to effectively support them to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of the (a) revenue that will be collected from licence fees and (b) costs incurred by local authorities arising from the implementation of the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to develop guidance to accompany the standards. This guidance will be provided to local authorities on how licence holders can demonstrate compliance with these standards and to supply additional information around conducting inspections.

Local authorities will be able to set and charge fees in respect of any application and inspection relating to a private primate keeper licence. These fees will enable local authorities to recover any costs they incur as a result of carrying out these activities and should not therefore present any additional financial burden on local authorities.

We will be working with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders during the implementation phase to understand how to effectively support them to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will consult (a) independent primate experts and (b) animal welfare NGOs as part of the development of guidance to accompany the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023; and when he plans to publish that guidance.

The Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to develop guidance to accompany the standards. This guidance will be provided to local authorities on how licence holders can demonstrate compliance with these standards and to supply additional information around conducting inspections.

Local authorities will be able to set and charge fees in respect of any application and inspection relating to a private primate keeper licence. These fees will enable local authorities to recover any costs they incur as a result of carrying out these activities and should not therefore present any additional financial burden on local authorities.

We will be working with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders during the implementation phase to understand how to effectively support them to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what qualifications are required for (a) veterinarians and (b) other individuals to perform inspections under the Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to develop guidance to accompany the standards. This guidance will be provided to local authorities on how licence holders can demonstrate compliance with these standards and to supply additional information around conducting inspections.

Local authorities will be able to set and charge fees in respect of any application and inspection relating to a private primate keeper licence. These fees will enable local authorities to recover any costs they incur as a result of carrying out these activities and should not therefore present any additional financial burden on local authorities.

We will be working with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders during the implementation phase to understand how to effectively support them to meet potential future demand for their services.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with international counterparts on the banning of electronic training collars.

Discussions on banning the use of electronic collars training collars have taken place with international counterparts at an official level.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) published on the use of electronic training collars since 2018.

Defra has not commissioned or published new research on this matter since 2018. The decision to ban electronic shock collars was reached after considering a broad range of factors. This includes academic research – including Defra-commissioned research (AW1402 and AW1402a), published in 2011. We also note the findings of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, published in April 2023, which recommended banning the devices on welfare grounds.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date he plans to bring into force the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023.

The Government remains committed to introducing a ban on the use of e-collars. We will pursue new regulations to deliver this commitment on a revised timeline. Parliamentary business will be announced in the usual way.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has received representations from animal welfare organisations on the notice owners require ahead of the coming into force of the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023.

It is the Government’s intention that the ban on the use of electronic shock collars is introduced on a revised timeline and allows owners sufficient time to retrain their dogs.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the amount of notice owners will require ahead of the coming into force of the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023.

It is the Government’s intention that the ban on the use of electronic shock collars is introduced on a revised timeline and allows owners sufficient time to retrain their dogs.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what provisions there are in recent free trade agreements to ensure imported food is produced to the UK standards.

All food and drink products imported into the UK must comply with the UK’s import requirements and standards. The UK’s Free Trade Agreements do not create any new permissions for imports and do not compromise on the UK’s high environmental protection, animal welfare, plant health, and food standards.

The UK’s food safety standards are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. Both provide independent advice to UK Health ministers. Alongside other government agencies, they oversee the regulation of imported food and feed to ensure that it complies with the UK’s high safety standards, protect ing consumers from unsafe food.

Without exception, the UK will continue to protect food standards in the UK under all existing and future Free Trade Agreements. Decisions on these standards remain a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any trade agreements. The Prime Minister has been clear that there will be no chlorine-washed chicken and no hormone-treated beef on the UK market.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of strengthening the Hunting Act 2004.

This Government made a manifesto commitment not to change the Hunting Act 2004.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to Questions (a) 11101, (b) 11102, (c) 11103 and (d) 11104, tabled by the hon. Member for Walthamstow on 23 January 2024; and for what reason his Department has been unable to answer the Questions within the usual time period.

Responses were published on 8 February 2024. Please accept my apologies for the delay. On this occasion, it was not possible to answer these questions within the usual time frame.

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