Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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



Secretary of State

 Portrait

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

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

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

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

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

Scottish National Party
Deidre Brock (SNP - Edinburgh North and Leith)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Daniel Zeichner (LAB - Cambridge)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Olivia Blake (LAB - Sheffield, Hallam)
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Ministers of State
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (CON - Life peer)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Victoria Prentis (CON - Banbury)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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)
Scheduled Event
Monday 6th September 2021
14:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
6 Sep 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Environment Bill - report stage (day 1)
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill - report stage (day 2)
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Monday 13th September 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – report stage (day 3)
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation - Main Chamber
Environment Bill – report stage (day 4)
View calendar
Debates
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Oral Answers to Questions
Oral Questions
Select Committee Docs
Saturday 18th September 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 7th July 2021
Plastic waste

Despite growing awareness of the effects of plastic pollution, a large proportion of plastic waste is still not recycled, and …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th July 2021
River Tamar: Radioactive Waste
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 8th July 2021
Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Periods) Regulations 2021
These Regulations amend transitional periods relating to official controls requirements for certain types of animals and goods being imported into …
Bills
Tuesday 8th June 2021
Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from …
Dept. Publications
Thursday 29th July 2021
09:30

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Appearances

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

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

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

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


Bills currently before Parliament

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


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


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

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


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


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

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

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations amend transitional periods relating to official controls requirements for certain types of animals and goods being imported into Great Britain.
These Regulations amend retained Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products (EUR 2007/834) and its implementing regulations Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 (EUR 2008/889) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 (EUR 2008/1235). Regulation No 1235/2008 implements the rules for imports of organic products from third countries. Currently Annex 1 to the Regulation lists countries and control bodies which comply with UK organic standards, Annex 3 lists countries assessed to have equivalent organic standards, and Annex 4 lists those control bodies assessed to have equivalent organic standards. The Secretary of State has power by regulations to amend each list in certain circumstances.
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).

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Petitions with most signatures
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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.

105,373
c. 609 added daily
105,697
(Estimated)
24 Aug 2021
closes in 3 weeks, 3 days

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.

View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

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

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

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


11 Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Neil Parish Portrait
Neil Parish (Conservative - Tiverton and Honiton)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Derek Thomas Portrait
Derek Thomas (Conservative - St Ives)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Julian Sturdy Portrait
Julian Sturdy (Conservative - York Outer)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Sheryll Murray Portrait
Sheryll Murray (Conservative - South East Cornwall)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robbie Moore Portrait
Robbie Moore (Conservative - Keighley)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Neil Hudson Portrait
Neil Hudson (Conservative - Penrith and The Border)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rosie Duffield Portrait
Rosie Duffield (Labour - Canterbury)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Dave Doogan Portrait
Dave Doogan (Scottish National Party - Angus)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Geraint Davies Portrait
Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Byrne Portrait
Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Barry Gardiner Portrait
Barry Gardiner (Labour - Brent North)
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Member since 8th June 2020

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

15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to The Independent on 14 July that they hoped to use the Environment Bill “to seek powers to ensure information about environmental impacts, such as carbon emissions, is provided with certain products”, whether they can (1) provide details of the means by which they plan to do this, and (2) list the products to which they expect to apply the powers.

In accordance with our Resources and Waste Strategy, the powers being sought through our Environment Bill will allow the Government to ensure consumers are provided with clear, consistent and trustworthy information, enabling them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions and helping shift the market towards more resource efficient products. These information-sharing requirements may focus on durability, reparability and recyclability, and there is scope to include other criteria where appropriate, such as embodied carbon or water usage during production. They could take a number of different forms such as consumer information rating schemes, or labels specifying that a product meets a certain environmental standard.

We are working on developing a plan for making use of these powers, and will take on board responses to our recent consultation on the Waste Prevention Programme for England – towards a resource efficient economy. In parallel, as outlined in the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is preparing to launch a Call for Evidence on low carbon industrial products. The response to the Call for Evidence will be used to develop proposals for new policies to grow the market for these products, including a new labelling system for intermediary industrial products reflecting their impact on the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry of Defence on their proposals to release untreated radioactive rainwater from HM Naval Base Devonport into the river Tamar.

The Environment Agency (EA) was in discussions with HM Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport on their proposals for the disposal of rainwater containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) between December 2020 and June 2021. At that point HMNB Devonport formally submitted an application to vary its Approval for the receipt and disposal of radioactive waste.

At present this low level contaminated rainwater passes through the effluent treatment plant operated by the neighbouring nuclear site, Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd. HMNB Devonport now wants to release the rainwater directly into the River Tamar/Hamoaze. This would result in a very minor increase in dose to the public – equal to less than five minutes of the average annual background radiation dose in the UK. The total dose from all pathways and sources of radiation from the Dockyard was less than 0.005 mSv in 2019, which was less than 0.5 percent of the dose limit. Overall this is a very low level of radioactivity that will be discharged to the environment. The environmental impact of the tritium discharge is therefore minimal.

Discussions included the EA giving pre-application advice to the dockyard to ensure that the application would contain sufficient information to allow the EA to assess the application in a timely manner. The EA consulted with the public until 27 July about this application and will now work to determine the application. The consultation can be found here: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/nuclear/application-to-vary-the-radioactive-substances-app/

The radioactive substances provisions of the Environmental Permitting Regulations do not apply to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). However, there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the EA and the MoD which provides for equivalent administrative arrangements. The Approval held by the MoD for HMNB Devonport is the equivalent of a Permit that would be held by a civilian operator.

The EA will continue to monitor pollution in the River Tamar/Hamoaze and the potential impact of the HMNB discharge if the application is approved.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by David Black, acting Chair of Ofwat, on 13 July that there should be a "step-change in culture and commitment" by water companies "to fundamentally change the way they deliver for customers and the environment".

The recent Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) report, to which David Black’s comments relate, spans the last 12 months and makes for extremely disappointing reading. Even the industry-leading water companies have more work to do, especially on the use of storm overflows. Water companies have environmental responsibilities and they must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways.

The Government, the Environment Agency and Ofwat announced on 22 July the consultation of the review of the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), an ambitious programme of work that water companies are required to complete to meet their obligations from environmental legislation and UK Government policy. Water company actions driven by this programme have the potential to greatly enhance the natural environment, ultimately helping to protect the health of rivers and waterways in England and support sustainable growth.

For 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the environment. This includes the £5.2 billion invested through WINEP.

The strategic policy statement (SPS) for Ofwat published for consultation on July 22 outlines the Government’s key priorities for Ofwat’s regulation of the water sector in England. This includes water companies’ day-to-day environmental performance, with a focus on meeting the Government’s ambitions to significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows. As well as challenging water companies to plan strategically their drainage and wastewater services in order to improve resilience and reduce pollution incidents, the Government expects Ofwat to challenge companies to continue to drive down leakage and improve water efficiency for the benefit of current and future customers.

The Environment Bill will also address this step change, with three new measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows:

The first statutory requirement will place a duty on Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to reduce their impact. This plan will be informed by work of the Storm Overflows Taskforce and will be subject to consultation and informed by an impact assessment. The Government will consider a wide range of options, including measures proposed in the Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP’s Private Member’s Bill. The plan will complement existing Asset Management Plans and new statutory Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans produced by water companies.

There will be an additional statutory requirement for Government to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan every five years, which will align progress with existing Asset Management Plan cycles for maximum effectiveness.

The third requirement will be a duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis so that it is available and accessible to the public.

The Environment Bill will also require a legally binding, long-term water quality target. We are currently considering water targets on reducing pollution from wastewater, as well as agriculture and abandoned metal mines. Setting targets will provide a strong mechanism to deliver long-term environmental outcomes.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure that animal rescue centres are properly licensed.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect and improve the welfare of animals.

The recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare demonstrates our commitment to a brighter future for animals both at home and abroad. Our reform programme includes pursuing the licensing of animal sanctuaries and rescue and rehoming centres including for cats, dogs and horses. Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector. Any proposals to bring forward licensing regulations will be subject to a consultation.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the (a) application for Musical Instrument Certificates (MICs) for musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements must be made in the country of export and (b) UK recognises the same (i) MICs and (ii) CITES requirements necessary for EU member states.

A Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) is ordinarily issued by the country of residence to facilitate multiple cross border movements of instruments covered by CITES controls.

Following our departure from the EU, by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, the UK retained the CITES legislation and procedures followed whilst we were members of the EU. The UK will continue to accept MICs issued by EU Member States.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent body to oversee horse welfare in the UK.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, and we are committed to enhancing our status as a world leader in the protection of animals. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is an ambitious plan which sets out an overview of the Government's main priorities on animal welfare and conservation. In the action plan, we have committed to ensuring that the equine sector addresses key welfare issues such as racehorse fatality levels.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. Anyone who is cruel to an animal faces being sent to prison for up to 5 years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both. The 2006 Act is backed up by the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids which provides owners with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their equines. The Code makes clear that owners are responsible for meeting the horse's need for safe and suitable shelter and pasture, whether this is through a livery yard, rented land or land that they own. The Code can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/700200/horses-welfare-codes-of-practice-april2018.pdf

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were developed to help improve welfare standards across a range of activities involving animals that are licensed by local authorities. Under these regulations, hiring out horses in the course of a business for riding or instruction in riding and selling animals as pets in the course of a business are both licensable activities. This includes riding schools, trekking, loan horses, pony parties, hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction, pony hire, pony and donkey rides.

The Animal Welfare Committee is an expert committee that advises the Department on the welfare of animals. This includes farmed, companion and wild animals kept by people. Please see further details here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/animal-welfare-committee-awc

Defra considers that current legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards and powers in respect of protecting horse welfare. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders to see if more can be done to spread best practice among horse owners, as well as increased partnership working with the equine welfare sector in order to tackle equine welfare issues.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of launching a review of horse welfare standards in the UK.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, and we are committed to enhancing our status as a world leader in the protection of animals. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare is an ambitious plan which sets out an overview of the Government's main priorities on animal welfare and conservation. In the action plan, we have committed to ensuring that the equine sector addresses key welfare issues such as racehorse fatality levels.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. Anyone who is cruel to an animal faces being sent to prison for up to 5 years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both. The 2006 Act is backed up by the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids which provides owners with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their equines. The Code makes clear that owners are responsible for meeting the horse's need for safe and suitable shelter and pasture, whether this is through a livery yard, rented land or land that they own. The Code can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/700200/horses-welfare-codes-of-practice-april2018.pdf

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were developed to help improve welfare standards across a range of activities involving animals that are licensed by local authorities. Under these regulations, hiring out horses in the course of a business for riding or instruction in riding and selling animals as pets in the course of a business are both licensable activities. This includes riding schools, trekking, loan horses, pony parties, hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction, pony hire, pony and donkey rides.

The Animal Welfare Committee is an expert committee that advises the Department on the welfare of animals. This includes farmed, companion and wild animals kept by people. Please see further details here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/animal-welfare-committee-awc

Defra considers that current legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards and powers in respect of protecting horse welfare. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders to see if more can be done to spread best practice among horse owners, as well as increased partnership working with the equine welfare sector in order to tackle equine welfare issues.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure animal welfare legislation is enforced in response to the reduction in the RSPCA's animal welfare inspectorate.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), local authorities, the Animal & Plant Health Agency and the police all have powers to investigate allegations of animal cruelty or poor welfare (including power of entry to inspect premises).

Under the 2006 Act, anyone is able to take forward a prosecution, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA has been enforcing animal welfare legislation in this country. The RSPCA currently successfully prosecutes 800 to 1,000 people each year.

The Government recognises the valuable work the RSPCA does to improve the welfare of animals. Defra remains committed to continuing its engagement with the RSPCA, and other organisations involved in enforcement activities, so that our high animal welfare standards are maintained and offenders are subject to appropriate penalties.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish his proposals for a catch and release pilot for blue fin tuna.

A catch, tag and release (CHART) programme to conduct scientific research into Atlantic Bluefin Tuna abundance in English waters will run from 16 August until 14 November 2021.

Details of the programme were published on the website of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) on 23 April 2021: CHART Programme for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - CEFAS.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what measures the Government is taking to work with key stakeholders to manage the spread of sheep scab, or psoroptic mange, in England.

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

Endemic diseases like sheep scab affect animal health and welfare, as well as productivity. As set out in the 25 year Environment Plan and the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update, we are working with industry to reduce the impact of endemic diseases, including through the launch in 2022 of an Annual Health and Welfare Review for eligible livestock farmers.

Sheep Scab initiatives are currently managed at a local level but we are working with Devolved Administrations to plan how we tackle the condition across regions.

A group of experts have recently been successful in a bid for funding from Defra via the Rural Development Programme for England to lead a two-year community-led project to improve the control of sheep scab in three hot spot areas where scab currently presents a significant problem: the North West, the Midlands and the South West. Farmers participating in this initiative will receive a unique combination of on-farm advice, best practice training, and free blood testing.

Farmers seeking further advice on sheep scab can contact the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what measures the Government is taking to work with devolved nations to tackle the spread of sheep scab across the regions.

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

Endemic diseases like sheep scab affect animal health and welfare, as well as productivity. As set out in the 25 year Environment Plan and the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update, we are working with industry to reduce the impact of endemic diseases, including through the launch in 2022 of an Annual Health and Welfare Review for eligible livestock farmers.

Sheep Scab initiatives are currently managed at a local level but we are working with Devolved Administrations to plan how we tackle the condition across regions.

A group of experts have recently been successful in a bid for funding from Defra via the Rural Development Programme for England to lead a two-year community-led project to improve the control of sheep scab in three hot spot areas where scab currently presents a significant problem: the North West, the Midlands and the South West. Farmers participating in this initiative will receive a unique combination of on-farm advice, best practice training, and free blood testing.

Farmers seeking further advice on sheep scab can contact the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to farmers who are struggling to manage the outbreak of sheep scab, or psoroptic mange, on their farms.

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

Endemic diseases like sheep scab affect animal health and welfare, as well as productivity. As set out in the 25 year Environment Plan and the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update, we are working with industry to reduce the impact of endemic diseases, including through the launch in 2022 of an Annual Health and Welfare Review for eligible livestock farmers.

Sheep Scab initiatives are currently managed at a local level but we are working with Devolved Administrations to plan how we tackle the condition across regions.

A group of experts have recently been successful in a bid for funding from Defra via the Rural Development Programme for England to lead a two-year community-led project to improve the control of sheep scab in three hot spot areas where scab currently presents a significant problem: the North West, the Midlands and the South West. Farmers participating in this initiative will receive a unique combination of on-farm advice, best practice training, and free blood testing.

Farmers seeking further advice on sheep scab can contact the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to reports of vegetables rotting in fields throughout the UK due to a shortage of agricultural workers.

Defra is working closely with industry to help our world-leading farmers and food businesses access the labour they need, and to ensure that our sectors are appropriately supported both this year and in the future.

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

In 2021 and beyond, agricultural and food businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.1 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The application deadline was 30 June 2021 and where a person eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Defra is working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers. We will also explore the potential for automation to meet future labour demands of the sector.

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

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure the supply of fresh UK grown cauliflowers in shops.

Cauliflower is an important field vegetable for the UK, worth £57m at farmgate in 2019[1]. Defra is taking a number of steps to ensure our delicious home-grown cauliflowers are supplied to shops in both the short- and longer-term.

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

In 2021 and beyond, agricultural and food businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.1 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

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

We will also explore the potential for automation to meet future labour demands of the sector. Defra is leading on a review of automation in horticulture, which will cover both the edible and ornamental sectors in England. The review will support the overall aim of reducing the sector’s dependency on seasonal migrant labour.

Defra is aware of the impact haulier shortages could have on the supply chains, including for horticulture products like cauliflower. We are working closely with the sector to understand these impacts. Overall, the UK’s food supply is highly resilient. The food industry is well versed in dealing with scenarios that can impact food supply.

[1] Provisional statistic Latest horticulture statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the £90m fine imposed on Southern Water by the Environment Agency for dumping raw sewage into protected seas; and what plans they have to direct the Environment Agency to hold Southern Water to stricter standards in future.

On 9 July 2021, Southern was handed a record £90 million fine after pleading guilty to thousands of illegal discharges of sewage which polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex. The Environment Agency led the successful prosecution, which is the largest criminal investigation in its 25-year history.

The findings in this case were shocking and wholly unacceptable. The Government has made clear that water companies have environmental responsibilities and must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways. Water companies should not be letting this happen and those that do will be punished by the full force of the law.

This fine, the largest ever imposed on a water company, is absolutely appropriate and welcomed. It will rightly be paid solely from the company's operating profits, rather than customer bills.

The Government works closely with the regulators including the Environment Agency and Ofwat to support their work to monitor Southern Water's performance and to hold them to account to deliver improvements for their customers and the environment. For example, the strategic policy statement (SPS) for Ofwat published on 22nd July for consultation outlines Government's key priorities for the independent regulator. This includes continuing to work on water companies' day-to-day environmental performance, with a focus on meeting the Government's ambitions to reduce significantly the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows. As well as this, the statement asks Ofwat to challenge water companies to strategically plan their drainage and wastewater services in order to improve resilience and reduce pollution incidents. Ofwat will also work with companies to drive down leakage and improve water efficiency for the benefit of current and future customers.

Although it has improved on last year's Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) 1-star rating, Southern Water remains one of the worst performing companies. Southern Water has a package of undertakings to deliver following enforcement action. The package includes steps to improve investment and performance at its wastewater treatment works and to increase transparency for customers about its environmental performance.

Minister Pow met with Southern Water's management team earlier this year to discuss their environmental performance. Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, also met with Southern Water's Chair, and the Secretary of State will be meeting with them to discuss their 2020 EPA results.

The Environment Agency regularly reviews the EPA metrics and targets to hold water companies to strict standards. They are working on introducing new metrics for water resources, storm overflows and sludge in the future.

The Government will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and Ofwat as they regulate robustly to drive improvements in the sector.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made progress on tree planting targets for (a) the Northern Forest (b) the White Rose Forest and (c) in York.

We continue to work with the Woodland Trust and the Community Forest Trust to support the planting of more than 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull as part of the Northern Forest initiative. The 50 million target is not a Government target but will contribute to the Government’s commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament.

As set out in our new England Trees Action Plan, we are working with charities, landowners, and local communities to increase tree planting across England. This includes partnerships such as the Northern Forest, which we kick-started with £5.7 million of investment in 2018, and the Community Forests Network, with whom we aim to plant over 6000 hectares of new woodlands by 2025, supported by investment from our £640 million Nature for Climate Fund.

The Northern Forest stretches from Liverpool and Chester to Hull, through Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield. Four of the twelve Community Forests are located in the Northern Forest – White Rose Forest, which covers Leeds city region and North and West Yorkshire; the Mersey Forest, which covers Merseyside and North Cheshire; Heywood, which covers Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire; and City of Trees, which covers Greater Manchester.

Our Nature for Climate Fund-supported programme of tree planting by the Community Forests, including the White Rose Forest, received £12.1 million funding last year and will see many more trees planted across these areas over this parliament. The table below shows the number of trees planted between 2018-2021 with Government funding. Other non-Government funded trees are also being delivered across the Northern Forest by the Northern Forest Partnership.

Planting Season (Data on trees planted across these areas may overlap.)

York

The White Rose Forest

The Northern Forest

2018-2019

0

7,453

103,980

2019-2020

0

21,069

200,235

2020-2021

675

365,935

860,167

TOTAL

675

394,457

1,164,382

In addition to this, we have extended the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, providing up to £6 million over the next two years to support planting of large trees in our towns and cities. We have also launched the £2.7 million Local Authority Treescapes Fund which encourages applications establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as parklands, urban areas, beside roads and footpaths.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has declared a climate and ecological emergency.

The UK has adopted some of the most ambitious climate change and environment policies and commitments in the world.

Our Nationally Determined Contribution to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 is the most ambitious in the world. We became the first major economy to set a net zero target in law in 2019. We have doubled our International Climate Finance, and are investing nearly a third of it in nature-based solutions to climate change. We are leading coalitions of ambitious countries to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and water by 2030, to redirect land use subsidies globally to support sustainability and renewal, and to breaking the link between commodity production and illegal deforestation.

Among numerous world-first interventions, the Environment Bill is being amended to create a duty to set a historic target on species abundance for 2030, aiming to halt the decline in nature.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of flood defences in inner cities.

The Government’s new six-year flood defence programme will invest £5.2 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes between now and 2027, and will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. This will benefit urban areas as well as coastal and rural communities. Climate change projections are built into the design of new flood defences to make sure they are fit for the future and offer the appropriate level of protection to communities.

Surface water is one of the sources of flooding in urban areas and the Government is taking action to tackle this risk which is increasing due to climate change and population growth. The Government published a surface water management action plan in 2018 with 22 actions and we will soon publish an update on this work.

We have already changed our flood defence partnership funding rules to enable more surface water schemes and launched a £200 million innovation fund which includes actions to support surface water flood risk actions. We are putting water company Drainage and Wastewater Plans on a statutory footing through the Environment Bill, to ensure drainage and sewerage systems are resilient to withstand the current and future pressures on them. Lead Local Flood Authorities (county and unitary authorities) have the leadership role on surface water flood risk management.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a 24 hour (a) mean or (b) exceedance level for fine particulate matter 2.5.

The Government recognises that short-term exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 can impact health, particularly for vulnerable groups. This is why we provide alerts and advice during air pollution episodes to ensure people can access the information and health advice they need in order to minimise impacts. We are also taking action to increase public awareness about air pollution, including through an expanded £8 million funding pot which will be made available to local authorities through the Air Quality Grant scheme.

Under the Environment Bill, the Government will have a duty to bring forward a target for PM2.5 by October 2022. In setting our air quality targets, we have sought advice from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) on whether the priority aim should be long-term exposure rather than short-term. COMEAP advised that a focus on long-term average concentrations of PM2.5 is most appropriate to deliver public health benefits. This advice has been published and can be accessed via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fine-particulate-air-pollution-pm25-setting-targets.

The two air quality targets that we plan to set will focus on reducing the long-term exposure to PM2.5 and its associated health impacts, actions taken to achieve these targets will contribute to reducing average daily concentrations of PM2.5.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on (a) the Government's proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) and (b) proposed locations for HPMAs.

On 8 June 2021, the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). The Government accepted the central recommendation to take forward pilot sites with the purpose of biodiversity recovery.

The response to the Benyon Review was agreed across Government. Defra officials met with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during the Benyon Review and when preparing the Government response. The response states that HPMAs will be outside of routine defence exercise areas, and the selection of sites will consider the ability of an activity or sector to adapt to the location of a HPMA.

The Government is developing ecological, social and economic criteria for HPMA identification to create a list of potential sites this year, followed by a consultation and designation of sites in 2022. Defra will engage the MoD and other Government departments on the potential list of sites when it becomes available.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings he has had with representatives of organisations (a) in favour of and (b) opposed to the Government's proposed ban on trophy hunting in the last 24 months.

The Government made a manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals, and Ministers and officials have engaged with a range of stakeholders throughout policy development on this issue. This, together with the outcomes of the recent consultation and call for evidence, will inform our next steps. Our approach on hunting trophies will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We will set out our plans soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to end the practice of water companies being permitted to self-report pollution incidents.

It is a requirement on water companies to self-report pollution incidents and there are no plans to remove this important requirement.

Pollution incidents occur as a result of a system failure and require a reactive response. The quicker the response, the better the outcome for the environment. If the self-reporting of pollution incidents was not required, the Environment Agency would be reliant on third parties to report when things have gone wrong. Water companies can inform the Environment Agency of problems much quicker than if reported by third parties.

High levels of self-reporting demonstrates honesty and transparency and is an indicator that companies are managing their systems effectively. Making this information available and reporting it in the Environment Agency's annual water company performance report shines a light on company performance. Removing this requirement would reduce transparency, be worse for the environment and would reduce the Environment Agency's ability to hold water companies to account.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many times since 1 January 2010 (a) the Environment Agency, or (b) any other government agency, was alerted of a possible breach in licensing conditions for water abstraction or discharge in chalk rivers and streams within (i) the Itchen, and (ii) other chalk stream catchments, (2) the dates and locations of such possible breaches, (3) what tests were conducted in response, (4) what the results were of any such tests, and (5) what steps were taken as a result of any breaches to licensing conditions that were identified (a) to penalise the perpetrators, and (b) deter further breaches.

The information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to reduce single-use nappy waste as far as possible by 2042, under the 25 Year Environment Plan.

In line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies, taking on board the environmental and social impacts of the options available.

Potential additional policy measures include standards, consumer information and encouraging voluntary action by business. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements. This could include labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more sustainable products. We are also seeking powers through the Bill to enable us to put in place extended producer responsibility schemes, where required, that relate to the efficient use of resources for a wide range of products, which could include nappies.

We are also funding an environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products with the primary focus on nappies. This is looking at the waste and energy impacts of washable and disposable products, disposal to landfill or incineration, and recycling options. The research will be published later this year, following peer review, and will help inform possible future action on nappies by the Government and industry, including any work with local authorities.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to encourage local authorities to reduce the tonnage of single-use nappies going to (1) landfill, and (2) incineration.

In line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies, taking on board the environmental and social impacts of the options available.

Potential additional policy measures include standards, consumer information and encouraging voluntary action by business. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements. This could include labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more sustainable products. We are also seeking powers through the Bill to enable us to put in place extended producer responsibility schemes, where required, that relate to the efficient use of resources for a wide range of products, which could include nappies.

We are also funding an environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products with the primary focus on nappies. This is looking at the waste and energy impacts of washable and disposable products, disposal to landfill or incineration, and recycling options. The research will be published later this year, following peer review, and will help inform possible future action on nappies by the Government and industry, including any work with local authorities.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products will consider the results of the YouGov survey, published on 2 July, which found that the average age for potty training has increased from 2.5 to 3.5 years old.

The independent analysts carrying out the environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products have taken into consideration the recent YouGov survey to establish current ages for potty training. The sources of the information used in the study, as well as an explanation of the methodology and assumptions made, will be included in the final report which will be published later this year following peer review.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the rising age at which children are being fully toilet trained, and (2) the link between this rising age and the increased use of single-use pull-up nappies.

The independent analysts carrying out the environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products have taken into consideration the recent YouGov survey to establish current ages for potty training. The sources of the information used in the study, as well as an explanation of the methodology and assumptions made, will be included in the final report which will be published later this year following peer review.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of food contamination on the recyclability of flexible plastic 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 recent 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.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) tackle the recent rise in cases of feline pancytopenia and (b) discover the source of that outbreak.

Feline pancytopenia is an illness which causes a deficiency in blood cells and often, sadly, is fatal to cats. There has recently been a spike in cases in the UK, 521 as of 26/07/2021.

Defra and its delivery body, the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Safety Scotland (FSS) and other government departments across all four nations are working with local authorities and the pet food supply chain to identify the cause of the rise.

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) alerted Defra, APHA and FSA of an emerging issue at the end of June 2021. The RVC followed with a call to vets for information to identify further cases and collect information on possible causes.

Investigations have included the possibility of a link with specific cat food products and a precautionary product recall was undertaken by Fold Hill Foods Limited; FSA-PRIN-36-2021 was published on 15/06/2021 and an updated PRIN was issued on 17/06/2021. The cat food products subject to the product recall were not exported outside the UK although as a precaution, officials in Ireland and the EU were informed.

Investigations continue and other causes for the increase still cannot yet be excluded. However, initial findings have identified a number of mycotoxins in the recalled batches of feed and the FSA’s current risk assessment is that mycotoxins found in the recalled cat food pose a feed safety risk. Evidence to confirm whether the mycotoxins found have caused this rise in cases of feline pancytopenia is being considered. Additionally, Defra and APHA are currently undertaking toxicological screening of a number of the affected cats, the results of which will be known in the coming weeks.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing the compliance limits set for waste water and sewage effluent being released into rivers and streams in response to the recent fines levied against Southern Water for illegally discharging sewage into rivers and coastal waters.

The investigation and subsequent prosecution of Southern Water focused on unlawful discharges of sewage through the storm system thus bypassing full treatment at Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) and discharging to the environment in non-storm conditions. The sites all discharged either directly into, or in close proximity to, designated shellfish waters off the North Kent coast, around the Solent, and Langstone and Chichester Harbours.

During the current water company investment round (2020 - 2025), water companies are required to install overflow operation monitors on storm overflows at around 3500 WwTW, including Southern Water WwTWs, along with Flow Passed Forward Flow monitors. Permits will be reviewed and conditions tightened to afford even greater levels of scrutiny and environmental protection. The data from these monitors will be used to assess compliance with permit Flow Passed Forward Flow limits when overflows operate. As well as ensuring that the required flows are passed forward for full treatment through the WwTW when the overflow operates, the monitors will also be used by the Environment Agency to check that the overflows only operate within permit requirements of rainfall and snowmelt.

The Government is pushing forward in working towards improving the state of the water environment by setting robust and ambitious water quality targets within the Environment Bill. Alongside these targets the Government will consider the policy levers required to meet the targets, including taking further action to tackle sources of water pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons he imposed a charging clean air zone in Bradford.

Air pollution is a major public health risk and is a particular threat to vulnerable groups including the elderly and those with chronic respiratory and heart diseases. The mortality burden of the air pollution mixture based on both PM2.5 and NO2 in the UK is an effect equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths (Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, 2018).

Under the 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and its further Supplement in 2018, 61 local authorities were directed to develop plans for delivering NO2 compliance in the shortest possible time. Bradford was identified in the 2018 supplement as having roads exceeding legal levels for NO2, and since then has been working on a local plan to identify and implement measures to address these exceedances in the shortest possible time to safeguard public health.

As the 2017 plan sets out, it is for local authorities to determine what the appropriate solution is for tackling NO 2 concentrations, reflecting the highly localised nature of the problem. In some cases, local authorities will determine that a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is the intervention required. However, given the potential impacts on individuals and businesses, when considering between equally effective alternatives to deliver compliance, Government has been consistently clear that if a local authority can identify measures other than charging zones that are at least as effective at reducing NO2 to legal levels but with less of an impact, those measures should be preferred. Any alternative will need to deliver compliance as quickly as a charging CAZ if it is to be preferred for inclusion in the plans which local authorities develop.

Having gone through a detailed business case development process following guidance provided by the Government's Joint Air Quality Unit, Bradford has identified that a Class C Clean Air Zone is needed in order to deliver the legal obligation to tackle NO2 exceedances in the shortest possible time. Government considered the business case submitted by Bradford earlier this year and has accepted Bradford's evidence that a class C CAZ is required. As part of this approvals process, the business case and supporting evidence were considered by an independent technical panel established to review the evidence submitted by local authorities to support their proposals. The Government is now working with Bradford on the implementation of the CAZ and has also provided Bradford with £31 million from the Clean Air Fund to help local businesses and individuals adapt to the CAZ, including grants to help upgrade vehicles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will (a) list the designated ports responsible for checking musical instrument certificates under CITES and (b) confirm whether those ports are all currently operational.

Any musical instruments covered by CITES controls must be imported or exported through one of the 36 designated land, sea and airports which are all currently operational. The up to date list of the ports is available on the following GOV.UK page: www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-specimens-through-uk-ports-and-airports.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements must travel through CITES designated points of entry and exit.

Any musical instruments covered by CITES controls must be imported or exported through one of the 36 designated land, sea and airports which are all currently operational. The up to date list of the ports is available on the following GOV.UK page: www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-specimens-through-uk-ports-and-airports.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements can travel using (a) the Eurotunnel and (b) other roll-on roll-off services.

Any musical instruments covered by CITES controls must be imported or exported through one of the 36 designated land, sea and airports which are all currently operational. The up to date list of the ports is available on the following GOV.UK page: www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-specimens-through-uk-ports-and-airports.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of flexible plastic waste using sustainable methods.

The Government wants to see the reduction in plastic waste, and where plastic waste still exists, to increase the recycling of plastic film and flexibles. In our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, we outlined out intention to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan (by 2042).

We have recently undertaken a second consultation on introducing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. This would see producers required to pay the costs of managing the packaging they place on the market including when it becomes waste. It also proposed that producers' fees will be varied so that those who use unrecyclable or difficult to recycle packaging such as flexible plastics would be required to pay higher fees. This will incentivise producers to consider their packaging choice.

In addition, we proposed that where producers see a need for additional investment to increase recycling and meet recycling targets under Packaging EPR, they could choose to raise further funding through the scheme. For example, to upgrade sorting and recycling infrastructure so that more types of film plastics can be recycled.

In our recently published second consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England,' we consulted on proposals to include plastic films and flexible packaging in household collection services by the end of the financial year 2026/27. We also consulted on proposals to introduce plastic films and flexible packaging into business collection services by the end of the financial year 2024/25.

We are now analysing the responses that were received in response to these consultations and will publish our response in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that changes to waste management reflect differing local contexts including (a) availability of space for waste storage, (b) differing collection frequency needs and (c) difficulties in separating food waste in areas where residents predominantly live in flats; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local authorities are empowered to make adjustments in accordance with those contexts.

We want to make recycling easier and ensure that there is a comprehensive, consistent service across England. The Environment Bill stipulates that all local authorities in England must make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This core set includes paper and card; plastic; glass; metal; food waste and garden waste.

Local authorities can still decide to collect the recyclable waste streams co-mingled (i.e. multiple waste streams collected together) in cases where it is not technically or economically practicable to collect the recyclable waste streams separately from each other, or there is no significant environmental benefit in doing so, subject to completing a written assessment. The only exception to this is that food and garden waste must always be collected separately from the dry recyclable waste streams. Local authorities may apply these exceptions in circumstances where there is a lack of available storage space to collect recycling streams separately – including blocks of flats. We have recently consulted on plans to develop further guidance on written exemptions and best practice for local authorities. This guidance will take into consideration views provided by stakeholders during our recent public consultation.

Local authorities will also maintain the ability to decide the frequency of recyclable waste collections, except for food waste which will need to be separately collected on a weekly basis.

Finally, local authorities will be provided with new burdens funding to support adjustments to their waste collection services necessitated by our reforms. We are working to assess the net additional costs of our reforms as provided in the Impact Assessment accompanying our second public consultation on recycling consistency. As part of this process we will engage with local authorities to consider the appropriate nature and timing of funding.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of giving local authorities increased powers to direct waste producers, including property managers for properties with shared services, to sort waste appropriately.

In respect of household waste, local authorities already have powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier to put their waste for collection in a specified kind and number of receptacles. Clause 57(5) of the Environment Bill amends section 46(2) of the EPA so that, subject to it being reasonable, an English waste collection authority (WCA) may require separate receptacles or compartments of receptacles to be used for the purposes of complying with its duties under new section 45A or 45AZA. This would mean that an English WCA can require different recyclable waste streams to be put in different receptacles.

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirements imposed by section 46 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. An authorised officer may issue a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA of the EPA to enable a person to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence.

If a person has failed to comply with a section 46 requirement, WCAs can also give a written notice under section 46A of the EPA if the failure has caused or is or was likely to cause a nuisance or has been or is or was likely to be detrimental to any amenities of the locality. If a written warning gets ignored, they can issue a financial penalty under section 46B. They also are not required to collect the waste if it is put out in contravention of a section 46 requirement.

Regarding household waste from non-domestic premises and relevant waste (which is commercial and industrial waste, which is similar in nature and composition to household waste), the Environment Bill requires that the person that presents waste for collection under the arrangements must present it separated in accordance with the arrangements (which must comply with the requirements in the Environment Bill). This would therefore include the waste producer but also a property manager if they were presenting the waste on behalf of a number of properties.

Under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act, a WCA may already serve a notice against a business if their waste is not stored in receptacles of a particular kind and it is likely to cause a nuisance or to be detrimental to the amenities of the locality. Clause 57(6) of the Environment Bill amends s47(3) of the EPA so that WCAs can require separate receptacles or compartments to be used for the purposes of complying with the requirements in new s45AZB.

We are not currently planning on amending this legislation to change the powers that local authorities have. Our consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling,' recently closed and we are considering responses to our proposals on the detail around enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase local authority powers to recover the full costs from waste producers and property managers of collecting and disposing of the contents of a contaminated bin and other failures to follow a reasonable requirement to separate waste for recycling.

In respect of household waste, local authorities already have powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier to put their waste for collection in a specified kind and number of receptacles. Clause 57(5) of the Environment Bill amends section 46(2) of the EPA so that, subject to it being reasonable, an English waste collection authority (WCA) may require separate receptacles or compartments of receptacles to be used for the purposes of complying with its duties under new section 45A or 45AZA. This would mean that an English WCA can require different recyclable waste streams to be put in different receptacles.

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirements imposed by section 46 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. An authorised officer may issue a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA of the EPA to enable a person to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence.

If a person has failed to comply with a section 46 requirement, WCAs can also give a written notice under section 46A of the EPA if the failure has caused or is or was likely to cause a nuisance or has been or is or was likely to be detrimental to any amenities of the locality. If a written warning gets ignored, they can issue a financial penalty under section 46B. They also are not required to collect the waste if it is put out in contravention of a section 46 requirement.

Regarding household waste from non-domestic premises and relevant waste (which is commercial and industrial waste, which is similar in nature and composition to household waste), the Environment Bill requires that the person that presents waste for collection under the arrangements must present it separated in accordance with the arrangements (which must comply with the requirements in the Environment Bill). This would therefore include the waste producer but also a property manager if they were presenting the waste on behalf of a number of properties.

Under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act, a WCA may already serve a notice against a business if their waste is not stored in receptacles of a particular kind and it is likely to cause a nuisance or to be detrimental to the amenities of the locality. Clause 57(6) of the Environment Bill amends s47(3) of the EPA so that WCAs can require separate receptacles or compartments to be used for the purposes of complying with the requirements in new s45AZB.

We are not currently planning on amending this legislation to change the powers that local authorities have. Our consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling,' recently closed and we are considering responses to our proposals on the detail around enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase local authority powers to direct property managers to make suitable provision for waste storage within properties they manage, including for separate collection of recyclable materials, where such decisions are not directly in the control of residents.

In respect of household waste, local authorities already have powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier to put their waste for collection in a specified kind and number of receptacles. Clause 57(5) of the Environment Bill amends section 46(2) of the EPA so that, subject to it being reasonable, an English waste collection authority (WCA) may require separate receptacles or compartments of receptacles to be used for the purposes of complying with its duties under new section 45A or 45AZA. This would mean that an English WCA can require different recyclable waste streams to be put in different receptacles.

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirements imposed by section 46 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. An authorised officer may issue a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA of the EPA to enable a person to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence.

If a person has failed to comply with a section 46 requirement, WCAs can also give a written notice under section 46A of the EPA if the failure has caused or is or was likely to cause a nuisance or has been or is or was likely to be detrimental to any amenities of the locality. If a written warning gets ignored, they can issue a financial penalty under section 46B. They also are not required to collect the waste if it is put out in contravention of a section 46 requirement.

Regarding household waste from non-domestic premises and relevant waste (which is commercial and industrial waste, which is similar in nature and composition to household waste), the Environment Bill requires that the person that presents waste for collection under the arrangements must present it separated in accordance with the arrangements (which must comply with the requirements in the Environment Bill). This would therefore include the waste producer but also a property manager if they were presenting the waste on behalf of a number of properties.

Under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act, a WCA may already serve a notice against a business if their waste is not stored in receptacles of a particular kind and it is likely to cause a nuisance or to be detrimental to the amenities of the locality. Clause 57(6) of the Environment Bill amends s47(3) of the EPA so that WCAs can require separate receptacles or compartments to be used for the purposes of complying with the requirements in new s45AZB.

We are not currently planning on amending this legislation to change the powers that local authorities have. Our consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling,' recently closed and we are considering responses to our proposals on the detail around enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of compostable plastics on reducing the plastic contamination of (a) soil and (b) the sea.

Ideally we want to tackle litter of all kinds, including plastics, to stop them from being released in the natural environment in the first place. Furthermore, when littered in the open environment, compostable plastics will typically behave similarly to conventional plastics. Indeed, a plastic product that is designed to degrade or disintegrate more rapidly may accelerate the production of microplastic fragments. This is because the existing standard that applies to industrial composting, BS EN 13432, is only effective if the compostable plastic is collected and sent to an appropriate treatment facility.

Therefore, until the appropriate infrastructure is in place across the country to accept compostable plastics, the government's preference is that they are used in closed loop systems where no reusable or recyclable options are available; and with appropriate collection and disposal arrangements in place. We recommend that businesses consult available guidance and evidence summaries on this to help assess if this may be the case for their intended purpose. In accordance with the waste hierarchy, our current preference remains that most plastics are reusable or recyclable.

As set out in our response to the call for evidence on Standards for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, published in April 2021, we want to ensure that innovation in the plastics industry continues but it is vital to ensure that new materials really are more sustainable than conventional plastics and other alternatives. As already highlighted, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or even at all.

The Government has invested nearly £100 million into research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £20 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Additionally, the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge funded by the Government has recently invested £20 million into four plastic reprocessing facilities in the UK to support the development of new technologies to recycle plastic waste. These projects will increase domestic reprocessing capacity. Three of these projects include the development of chemical recycling plants which turn plastic waste back into oil which can be used to replace virgin oil for use in new plastic products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will further explore the feasibility of developing (a) compostable plastics and (b) other innovative and sustainable methods of waste disposal to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable conventional single-use flexible plastic produced.

Ideally we want to tackle litter of all kinds, including plastics, to stop them from being released in the natural environment in the first place. Furthermore, when littered in the open environment, compostable plastics will typically behave similarly to conventional plastics. Indeed, a plastic product that is designed to degrade or disintegrate more rapidly may accelerate the production of microplastic fragments. This is because the existing standard that applies to industrial composting, BS EN 13432, is only effective if the compostable plastic is collected and sent to an appropriate treatment facility.

Therefore, until the appropriate infrastructure is in place across the country to accept compostable plastics, the government's preference is that they are used in closed loop systems where no reusable or recyclable options are available; and with appropriate collection and disposal arrangements in place. We recommend that businesses consult available guidance and evidence summaries on this to help assess if this may be the case for their intended purpose. In accordance with the waste hierarchy, our current preference remains that most plastics are reusable or recyclable.

As set out in our response to the call for evidence on Standards for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, published in April 2021, we want to ensure that innovation in the plastics industry continues but it is vital to ensure that new materials really are more sustainable than conventional plastics and other alternatives. As already highlighted, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or even at all.

The Government has invested nearly £100 million into research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £20 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Additionally, the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge funded by the Government has recently invested £20 million into four plastic reprocessing facilities in the UK to support the development of new technologies to recycle plastic waste. These projects will increase domestic reprocessing capacity. Three of these projects include the development of chemical recycling plants which turn plastic waste back into oil which can be used to replace virgin oil for use in new plastic products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish the formula for new burdens funding for the proposed changes to waste management.

The Government will ensure that local authorities are resourced to meet any new burdens arising from our collections and packaging reforms, including up front transition costs and ongoing operational costs.

We are working to assess net additional costs to local authorities, in line with the new burden’s doctrine. We will engage with the Local Government Association on these cost estimates, including the appropriate timing for funding to be provided to authorities. We will share information on cost estimates and funding timelines with local authorities in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of air quality on (a) death and (b) infection from covid-19; and when such discussions occurred.

Defra continues to hold extensive discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care on the relationship between air quality and health. These have included the specific relationship between air quality and covid-19 transmission, infections and deaths.

In response to Defra's call for evidence on COVID-19 and air quality (April 2020 and published in June 2020), the scientific community and appointed experts from Defra and Public Health England (PHE) considered the possible link between air quality and COVID-19 infection. They concluded that there was no clear empirical evidence of a link at that stage:

2007010844_Estimation_of_Changes_in_Air_Pollution_During_COVID-19_outbreak_in_the_UK.pdf (defra.gov.uk)

Officials and appointed experts from Defra, PHE and the Office for National Statistics delivered a project to describe the relationship between air pollution exposure and COVID-19 deaths. The results and methodology were shared with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and a summary of the findings were published in August 2020 at the following URL:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ons-air-pollution-and-covid-19-mortality-rates-in-england-6-august-2020

The methodology used in this analysis project was also published at the following URL:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/methodologies/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalityratesandtheeffectsofairpollutioninengland

The Departments continue to actively engage on a regular basis.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of air quality in (a) London and (b) Putney constituency.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

As part of these responsibilities the Mayor of London carries out monitoring of air quality in London. Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and in London they report their data to the Mayor.

The London Air Quality Network provides data on air quality in London accessible to the public.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local nitrogen dioxide exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. Our Clean Air Strategy set out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy and makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that regulations protecting animals from unnecessary suffering are adequately enforced in abattoirs.

The Government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare when animals are slaughtered or killed and we have made CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England. Legislation sets out the main requirements to protect the welfare of animals when being slaughtered. In slaughterhouses, these requirements are monitored and enforced by Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to ensure that animals are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during the slaughter process. A service level agreement with the FSA is reviewed and agreed annually.

We have a zero-tolerance approach to animal welfare breaches and all FSA staff are instructed to take prompt and proportionate enforcement where breaches are identified, including those identified through live and retrospective CCTV viewing. The FSA has checks and monitoring systems in place to ensure the correct action is taken by Official Veterinarians and ensure the very highest standards are maintained.

Following a recent review[1] of the legislation protecting the welfare of animals at the time of killing and as part of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are carefully considering a wide range of welfare at slaughter improvements that could be made and will consult in due course.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welfare-of-animals-at-the-time-of-killing-england-regulations-2015-post-implementation-review

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve animal welfare conditions in abattoirs.

The Government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare when animals are slaughtered or killed and we have made CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England. Legislation sets out the main requirements to protect the welfare of animals when being slaughtered. In slaughterhouses, these requirements are monitored and enforced by Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to ensure that animals are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during the slaughter process. A service level agreement with the FSA is reviewed and agreed annually.

We have a zero-tolerance approach to animal welfare breaches and all FSA staff are instructed to take prompt and proportionate enforcement where breaches are identified, including those identified through live and retrospective CCTV viewing. The FSA has checks and monitoring systems in place to ensure the correct action is taken by Official Veterinarians and ensure the very highest standards are maintained.

Following a recent review[1] of the legislation protecting the welfare of animals at the time of killing and as part of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are carefully considering a wide range of welfare at slaughter improvements that could be made and will consult in due course.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welfare-of-animals-at-the-time-of-killing-england-regulations-2015-post-implementation-review

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the consumption of more (a) local and (b) seasonal produce in England.

We are committed to promoting healthy and sustainable diets, and the consumption of more locally grown and seasonal produce.

Using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF) we encourage procurers to consider qualities such as organic, UK seasonally and locally sourced food. As we look to refresh the GBSF, we will consult on the balance our guidance should strike between these areas and nutritional aims. We are committed to introducing a revised GBSF by Summer 2022.

Additionally, on 15 July, Henry Dimbleby published the second part of his independent review of the food system. The Government has committed to responding to the Review's recommendations in the form of a Food Strategy White Paper within six months. As part of the White Paper, the Government will consider how we can support people to access healthy and sustainable food, including more fruit and vegetables. The Government is committed to developing a food strategy that will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, support people to live healthy lives, and protect animal health and welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that injured animals are not made to travel unnecessarily far journeys in order to be euthanized.

When animals are transported, their transportation must comply fully with legal requirements aimed at protecting their welfare. All animals must be fit for the intended journey. Veterinary advice should be sought prior to transport where there is any doubt about an animal's fitness to travel. It is an offence to transport animals in a way that will cause injury or unnecessary suffering.

Local authorities carry out routine welfare checks on animals and their means of transport and will take appropriate enforcement measures up to and including prosecution if required, where the appropriate standards are not met.

Earlier this year, the Government consulted on improvements to animal welfare during transport. We will shortly publish the response to the consultation which will outline how we will be seeking to improve standards of animal welfare in transport.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 29 June (HL1134), what plans they have to ensure that those with farm business tenancies will not be excluded from taking part in the long-term commitments for soil, biodiversity and landscape envisaged by the Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery elements of the Environmental Land Management Scheme where landlords are unwilling to grant consent.

We are engaging with a wide range of farmers and land managers to inform the development of our Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes, including tenant farmers and landlords. We want to ensure that the schemes are designed in a way that works for all, so all farmers and land managers can be supported to maximise the delivery of environmental outcomes while ensuring effective use of public money.

The Government is aware that a key concern for many tenant farmers is receiving payments for environmental benefits despite not owning the land. Our future schemes will put farmers, foresters and other land managers more in control of how they use their assets in order to deliver environmental outcomes. For the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Local Nature Recovery schemes we envisage that payments will be made to the person delivering the outcomes of the schemes. In Landscape Recovery we are exploring the role of bespoke agreements and payment approaches and tenancies will be considered as part of this.

Evidence shows that many landlords and tenants work together to find solutions to entering agri-environment schemes. To encourage this further the Tenancy Reform Industry Group have updated their best practice guide on how tenants and landlords can work together to deliver environmental schemes successfully. This includes encouraging a culture change within the sector to look at the opportunities that longer-term agreements offer in delivering productivity and environmental improvements which both landlords and tenants can benefit from.

We look forward to engaging further with stakeholders including tenant farmers and landlords as we develop the design of the three schemes.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)