Written Question
Agriculture Bill 2019-21
26 Oct 2020, 4:57 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any assessment of the estimated costs arising from an amendment agreed to by the House of Lords to the Agriculture Bill; and if so, (1) how, and (2) whether they publish that estimate.

Answer (Lord Gardiner of Kimble)

The Government's assessment of the estimated costs of Lords Amendment 18 to the Agriculture Bill was published in the explanatory notes to the Lords Amendments to that Bill.


Written Question
Angling
23 Oct 2020, 2:19 p.m.

Questioner: Scott Mann

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the recreational fishing sector in respect of negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Answer (Victoria Prentis)

The UK will become an independent coastal state at the end of 2020 and will no longer be bound by the EU’s common fisheries policy or its outdated and unfair method for sharing fishing opportunities.

The Government’s position in negotiations on a future relationship with the EU on fish is reasonable and straightforward and seeks to secure the best outcome for all UK fishers, including the recreational sector. The UK wants a simple, separate fisheries framework agreement which reflects our rights under international law and which provides for annual negotiations over access and fishing opportunities based on the scientific principle of zonal attachment.


Written Question
Planning Permission: Rural Areas
23 Oct 2020, 2:01 p.m.

Questioner: Matt Western

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of proposed planning reforms on rural communities.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on a range of matters affecting rural communities.


Written Question
Pollution Control: Wakefield
23 Oct 2020, 1:58 p.m.

Questioner: Imran Ahmad Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle air pollution in Wakefield constituency.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. The Government's Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions which may include action targeting schools. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997, including £3 million in 2018/19.

In 2018 Wakefield received from the Air Quality Grant £27,131.27 for a targeted extension of the “Eco stars scheme” to reduce diesel fuel consumption in commercial vehicle fleets through fleet management and efficient driving, and a further £61,604.33 for NO2 and PM10 sensors placed at 24 schools to measure air quality.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out measures we are taking to improve air quality and reduce emissions of pollution, improving public health. This includes being the first major economy to set goals working towards World Health Organization recommendations on particulate matter emissions.

We are bringing forward primary legislation on clean air, giving local government powers to take decisive action in areas with an air pollution problem.


Written Question
River Severn: Flood Control
23 Oct 2020, 1:10 p.m.

Questioner: Daniel Kawczynski

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to allocate additional funding for flood defences along the River Severn.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

In July this year, the Government announced that an additional £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021. The Government awarded the River Severn Partnership a significant additional investment from this fund which is providing up to £30 million for the Severn Valley, in addition to up to £4.9 million for Tenbury Wells.

The recent Budget announcement confirmed that the Government will double the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years from 2021, better protecting a further 336,000 properties including 290,000 homes.

The £5.2 billion capital programme will continue to be allocated in accordance with Defra’s Partnership Funding Policy. This policy clarifies the level of investment communities can expect from Defra so that it is clear what levels of partner funding they need to attract from other sources to allow projects to go ahead.


Written Question
River Severn: Flood Control
23 Oct 2020, 11:46 a.m.

Questioner: Daniel Kawczynski

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to implement the flood defences along the River Severn set out by the Environment agency and River Severn Partnership as soon as possible.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The next six-year Flood and Coastal Risk Management Capital Investment Programme 2021/22–2027/28 is currently being put together by the Environment Agency in partnership with all other Flood Risk Management Authorities along the River Severn Catchment including Shropshire Council.

This six-year programme will be based on indicative bids put forward in previous years as well as new project bids and will use the updated Partnership Funding rules recently published on the GOV.UK website.

Some of those projects currently put forward to form the next six-year programme include the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme, Tenbury Wells, Oswestry Surface Water Scheme, Beales Corner Bewdley as well as a large-scale Carbon Offsetting and Natural Flood Risk Management Scheme which has the potential to benefit the whole of the River Severn.

Indicative proposals at this stage in the process suggest the new programme could deliver 3,000 homes better protected from flooding. Business cases will formalise the outcomes that these and other projects will deliver in due course.

In addition, the Government funding announcement on 14 July secured significant additional investment for the River Severn Partnership, providing £30 million for the Severn Valley, £4.9 million for Tenbury Wells and £5.4 million for carbon offsetting work linked to the Partnership.


Written Question
Flood Control: Finance
23 Oct 2020, 11:43 a.m.

Questioner: Holly Lynch

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits making flood resilience grants available throughout the year.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Risk Management Authorities can develop local Property Flood Resilience (PFR) grant schemes and apply to Regional Flood and Coastal Committees for a contribution towards their cost through Local-Levy or Grant-in-Aid.

As set out in our Policy Statement, we want to encourage a faster transition to a market place for PFR, including advice, products and service delivery. We also want to ensure the right incentives and financial products are available to encourage property flood resilience installation. This winter, we will be publishing a Call for Evidence on PFR policy.

In addition, we are investing £200m in an innovative resilience programme to drive and test innovation at a local level to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion. This includes an action on PFR. We will be inviting expressions of interest later this year.


Written Question
Flood Control
23 Oct 2020, 11:41 a.m.

Questioner: Holly Lynch

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to incentivise the installation of flood (a) resistant and (b) resilient measures to help improve protections for properties from future flooding.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Government launched a Policy Statement in July 2020 setting out how we want to boost uptake of Property Flood Resilience (PFR) in homes and businesses across the country. We want to encourage a faster transition to a market place for property flood resilience, including advice, service provision, products, and incentives.

We want the right incentives and financial products in place to encourage uptake of property flood resilience. We are considering options to remove barriers through the operation of the Flood Re scheme. This will include encouraging insurers to price policies in ways that reflect risk reductions as a result of PFR and enable the scheme to support insurance pay-outs covering the additional cost of recoverable repairs. This winter, we will be consulting on these changes and publishing a Call for Evidence on PFR policy.

£2.9 million funding from the 2018 budget is already supporting 3 pathfinder projects up to September 2021 in Yorkshire, the South West and South Midlands. The funding is creating demonstration centres, engaging with suppliers and developing advice portals to promote uptake of PFR by homes and businesses. These innovative schemes will provide useful learning for other local authorities.

In addition, we are investing £200m to drive and test innovation at a local level to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion. There will be a PFR action as part of this. We will be inviting expressions of interest later this year.


Written Question
Floods: Building Regulations
23 Oct 2020, 11:38 a.m.

Questioner: Holly Lynch

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on updating building regulations to include resilience standards that must be met when properties that have been flooded are being reinstated.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Defra and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHCLG) are in regular contact.

MHCLG keeps Building-Regulations under review. Approved Document C includes a reference to potential damage from flooding and states that buildings should be designed to mitigate this flood risk. Defra worked with MHCLG in 2015 on the development of a British Standard (BS85500:2015) on flood resilient construction for new buildings and retrofits for existing buildings, which complements building regulations.


Written Question
Waste Disposal: Crime
22 Oct 2020, 4:15 p.m.

Questioner: Alberto Costa

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing local authorities to identify publicly people prosecuted for (a) fly-tipping and (b) hiring an unlicensed waste carrier.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Fly-tipping is unacceptable wherever it occurs, and we are committed to tackling this crime.

The naming of fly-tipping offenders is not current Government policy. The Government is committed to encouraging local solutions for local problems. This is particularly relevant in tackling fly-tipping, which requires a local approach, tailored to the characteristics of the area and the community in which the problem occurs. It is therefore not for central government to assess or promote a single approach.

In our Resources and Waste Strategy we committed to developing a web-based toolkit to tackle fly-tipping. This will include advice and guidance on how local authorities can set up and run effective fly-tipping partnerships and share intelligence. Through the establishment of effective partnerships, it will be possible for local partners to share intelligence and evidence of fly-tippers operating across administrative boundaries.

Furthermore, the Police National Computer holds details of people who are, or were, of interest to UK law enforcement agencies following a conviction for a criminal offence, or are subject to legal proceedings, including for fly-tipping offences.

We are also taking action to tackle waste crime, which includes fly-tipping, through the Environment Bill. It will enable the Government to mandate the use of electronic waste tracking; simplify the process for enforcement authorities to enter premises under a warrant; introduce a new power to search for and seize evidence of waste crime; and reduce the cost and bureaucracy when the police seize vehicles involved in waste crime on behalf of the Environment Agency.


Written Question
Environment Protection
22 Oct 2020, 3:57 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what safeguards he plans to put in place to ensure that the interim environmental governance arrangements required before the Office for Environmental Protection becomes legally operational are independent of Government.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat will be hosted in Defra and will operate from the start of next year until the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) can begin its statutory functions. The interim arrangements will support the OEP Chair once the chair has been identified following a regulated public appointments process; and the interim arrangements will be under the guidance of both the Chair and the non-executive Board members once they have been confirmed in place as designates until Royal Assent. There will be staff designated to the Secretariat for this purpose and we are planning for them to work with propriety in handling public complaints that can then be handed to the OEP once it is live.


Written Question
Palm Oil: Manufacturing Industries
22 Oct 2020, 3:50 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government is taking steps to encourage manufacturers to (a) reduce and (b) end use of palm oil in their products; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Government is committed to tackling deforestation and supporting sustainable supply chains.

Oil palm is a very efficient crop, producing more oil per hectare than other vegetable oil crops, so we do not believe that encouraging manufacturers to end use of palm oil is the right approach. Encouraging companies to end their use of palm oil would encourage substitution with other oils (e.g. soybean, rapeseed, sunflower) which typically require significantly more land to produce, and may lead to greater deforestation, as more land is converted to agricultural use. According to a 2016 WWF report, palm oil replacements shift the problem and may make things worse.

However, the Government is strongly committed to achieving sustainably sourced palm oil, and we are working with the private sector and non-governmental organisations to create a UK market for sustainably sourced palm oil and reduce the environmental impact of palm oil production overseas. This approach has been successful in reducing the amount of unsustainably sourced palm oil imported to the UK. The UK’s latest progress report shows that we achieved 77% certified sustainable palm oil in 2018, up from 16% in 2010.

The Government has also consulted on the introduction of a new law to make sure businesses are not using products grown on illegally deforested land, helping to tackle climate change and prevent biodiversity loss. Our proposal would make it illegal for larger businesses to use forest risk commodities that have not been produced in accordance with relevant local laws, and they would need to take steps (undertake due diligence) to show that they have taken proportionate action to ensure this is the case. We believe this approach would facilitate partnership with producer countries around the world to uphold forest laws, supporting a greener, more resilient and inclusive global recovery. This is just one of the measures that the Government is considering in response to the findings of the Global Resource Initiative which reported in March 2020. The ‘due diligence’ consultation closed on 5 October 2020, and we will publish a response to it within 12 weeks on gov.uk summarising the feedback that we have received.

As one of over 75 nations to sign up to the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2020, the UK is driving action internationally as well as domestically. We will also champion sustainable supply chains as hosts of the international climate conference ‘COP26’ in 2021, and we are a signatory to the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership which aims to reverse forest loss by strengthening the protection of intact forests and supporting large scale forest restoration.


Written Question
Environment Protection: Crime
22 Oct 2020, 3:33 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how serious breaches of environmental law will be enforced in the time period between the end of the transition period and the Office for Environmental Protection becoming legally operational.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Members of the public will be able to submit complaints about alleged failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law from the start of next year to Defra’s Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat, which will be passed to the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) once established. The OEP will then be able to use its legal powers to investigate complaints reported to the interim arrangements from 1 January 2021, and could take enforcement action against serious failures if necessary. It will therefore be possible for the OEP to hold public authorities to account in relation to any failures alleged to have occurred after the end of the transition period.

The role of the interim arrangements is to provide this continuity, not take legal decisions. These will then be matters for the OEP to determine, as an independent legal entity, in accordance with its legal powers.


Written Question
Plastics: Seas and Oceans
22 Oct 2020, 3:19 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to take steps to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the sea; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The UK is taking a number of steps to tackle marine litter. The Government has introduced a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, and the supply of cotton buds, stirrers and plastic straws (with some exemptions). The Government’s 5p plastic carrier bag charge has significantly reduced the use of these bags by 95% in the main supermarket retailers, and we have decided to increase the minimum charge to 10p and extend it to all retailers. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Marine litter is a transboundary issue that requires international cooperation. In 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA) alongside Vanuatu, now a community of 34 member states who have pledged action on reducing plastic pollution in the ocean. A number of programmes worth up to £70 million in total have been set up across Government to support the CCOA's ambitions. The UK has committed to establishing a £500 million Blue Planet Fund, resourced from the UK's Official Development Assistance budget, that will help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated threats, including marine pollution.

The Government has published guidance on the disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste. We have also been circulating these messages widely on social media and urging people to not recycle or litter used PPE and instead to put it in the normal waste bin.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: Seas and Oceans
22 Oct 2020, 3:19 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to take steps to help prevent single use personal protective equipment from (a) polluting the sea and (b) affecting marine life; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The UK is taking a number of steps to tackle marine litter. The Government has introduced a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, and the supply of cotton buds, stirrers and plastic straws (with some exemptions). The Government’s 5p plastic carrier bag charge has significantly reduced the use of these bags by 95% in the main supermarket retailers, and we have decided to increase the minimum charge to 10p and extend it to all retailers. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Marine litter is a transboundary issue that requires international cooperation. In 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA) alongside Vanuatu, now a community of 34 member states who have pledged action on reducing plastic pollution in the ocean. A number of programmes worth up to £70 million in total have been set up across Government to support the CCOA's ambitions. The UK has committed to establishing a £500 million Blue Planet Fund, resourced from the UK's Official Development Assistance budget, that will help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated threats, including marine pollution.

The Government has published guidance on the disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste. We have also been circulating these messages widely on social media and urging people to not recycle or litter used PPE and instead to put it in the normal waste bin.


Written Question
Plastics
22 Oct 2020, 3:06 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce use of single use plastics; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran on 8 October 2020, PQ UIN 99014.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-05/99014]


Written Question
Office for Environmental Protection: Public Appointments
22 Oct 2020, 3:04 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 Question 57161, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) timetable for the Environment Bill and (b) covid-19 outbreak on the public appointments timescales for the board of the proposed Office for Environmental Protection.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) Chair and Non-Executive Director (NED) campaigns have accounted for potential changes to the timetable of the Environment Bill. The published Chair candidate pack outlined that should there be a delay to Royal Assent, then the chair would be appointed to Defra as the “OEP Chair Designate.” They would then transfer to the OEP as Chair upon Royal Assent. This arrangement will also be mirrored in the NED campaign pack. The Chair Designate (and subsequently NED Designates) would therefore be available to be involved in activities to support the OEP and any interim arrangements. We do not anticipate that COVID-19 will have any further impact on the OEP public appointment timescales.


Written Question
Environment Protection: Public Consultation
22 Oct 2020, 3 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the full, open public consultation on the Government’s policy statement on environmental principles that his Department committed to in December 2018.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

We plan to publish a draft version of the Environmental Principles Policy Statement for consultation in late 2020. We expect this consultation to last 12 weeks.


Written Question
Environment Protection: Complaints
22 Oct 2020, 2:57 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether members of the public will be able to submit complaints on potential breaches of environmental law via a complaints management system that will be operational from 1 January 2021 and operated independently from GOV.UK.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The interim arrangements will allow individuals to submit complaints from the end of the transition period, and we are developing a robust system to handle these complaints. We anticipate providing information about the interim arrangements and the complaints system through GOV.UK.


Written Question
Environment Protection
22 Oct 2020, 2:40 p.m.

Questioner: Caroline Lucas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) staff resources and (b) funding he plans to make available to the interim environmental governance arrangements required before the Office for Environmental Protection becomes legally operational.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Secretary of State has asked officials to assemble a team of staff from within Defra group, funded from the department’s budget, to receive and validate complaints against the criteria for complaining to the Office for Environmental Protection.


Written Question
Clothing and Textiles
22 Oct 2020, 2:16 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage a more circular fashion and textile industry; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

In line with the Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018) we are taking a range of actions to tackle environmental damage and promote greater circularity in the fashion and textiles sector.

Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) we are supporting an industry-led voluntary agreement - the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) 2020. This has seen SCAP signatories reduce their water and carbon footprints by 18.1% and 13.4% respectively per tonne of clothing between 2012 and 2018. Work is currently underway to develop an ambitious new phase of the voluntary agreement for the future, focussed on enhancing the circularity of the sector.

We have committed to consult on extended producer responsibility and other policy measures for five priority waste streams, including textiles, by 2025, with two of these to be completed by 2022. We are also exploring regulatory requirements on product design and consumer information in order to support durable, repairable, and recyclable clothing and textiles. The Environment Bill includes clauses that will enable resource efficient product design and information requirements to be set through secondary legislation.

In addition, we are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced particular challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund.

Our detailed plans to promote sustainable practices in the textiles sector will be included in a new Waste Prevention Programme, to be published for comment in the next few months.


Written Question
Clothing: Environment Protection
22 Oct 2020, 2:16 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the environmental damage caused by fast fashion; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

In line with the Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018) we are taking a range of actions to tackle environmental damage and promote greater circularity in the fashion and textiles sector.

Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) we are supporting an industry-led voluntary agreement - the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) 2020. This has seen SCAP signatories reduce their water and carbon footprints by 18.1% and 13.4% respectively per tonne of clothing between 2012 and 2018. Work is currently underway to develop an ambitious new phase of the voluntary agreement for the future, focussed on enhancing the circularity of the sector.

We have committed to consult on extended producer responsibility and other policy measures for five priority waste streams, including textiles, by 2025, with two of these to be completed by 2022. We are also exploring regulatory requirements on product design and consumer information in order to support durable, repairable, and recyclable clothing and textiles. The Environment Bill includes clauses that will enable resource efficient product design and information requirements to be set through secondary legislation.

In addition, we are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced particular challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund.

Our detailed plans to promote sustainable practices in the textiles sector will be included in a new Waste Prevention Programme, to be published for comment in the next few months.


Written Question
Fly-tipping: Fines
22 Oct 2020, 2:12 p.m.

Questioner: Alberto Costa

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing fines for fly-tipping.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Fly-tipping is an unacceptable crime and we committed to increasing penalties for fly-tipping in our manifesto. We also undertook to strengthen sentences for waste crimes, including fly-tipping, in our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy. We will do this, by among other measures, working with the independent Sentencing Council to ensure that the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline is kept up to date. Our ‘fly-tipping toolkit’ will also cover how councils can present robust cases to the courts to secure tougher penalties.

Anyone caught fly-tipping may be prosecuted, which can lead to a fine or up to 12 months imprisonment, or both, if convicted in a Magistrates' Court. The offence can attract a fine or up to five years imprisonment, or both, if convicted in a Crown Court. The latest 2018/19 fly-tipping prosecution outcome figures showed that the value of total fines increased by 29% to £1,090,000 compared to 2017/18.

Instead of prosecuting, councils may choose to issue a fixed penalty notice (on-the-spot fine). Local authorities have the power to issue fixed penalties of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences, including to those caught fly-tipping and to householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper. Vehicles of those suspected of committing a waste crime, including illegal dumping, can be searched and seized.

Prior to introducing the fixed penalties for those who commit a fly-tipping offence, Defra issued a call for evidence in 2015. The responses to this and further analysis undertaken when finalising the policy resulted in the maximum value of the fixed penalty notice being set at £400. Furthermore, we undertook a consultation in advance of granting local authorities the power to issue a fixed penalty notice of up to £400 to householders who fail in their duty of care in January 2019. Almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) felt that the proposed value (£200 default, maximum value of £400) was correct.


Written Question
Tree Planting: Urban Areas
22 Oct 2020, 2:08 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees have been planted under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund (a) nationally and (b) in Harrow West constituency to date; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

To date 18,717 Government-funded trees have been planted under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund nationally, of which 93 trees have been planted in the Harrow West constituency.

The planting of a further 160,130 trees is planned under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund nationally by the end of March 2021, of which 54 are planned to be planted in the Harrow West constituency. Some may be planted by charities or private organisations.


Written Question
Bees: Conservation
22 Oct 2020, 2:07 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further steps his Department will take to prevent the decline in the bee population after the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

Protecting pollinators is a priority for this Government. The National Pollinator Strategy is a 10-year plan published in November 2014, developed after a thorough review of the evidence base and wide consultation. It sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England.

In 2019, alongside our research partners, we updated the evidence base supporting our action. We are therefore confident that we are focusing on the key risks to insect populations, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, inappropriate pesticide use, pests and disease and climate change.

Our Agriculture Bill introduces an ambitious new land management scheme, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, which will allow us to reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment. The scheme will provide a powerful vehicle for achieving biodiversity and other natural environment goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan, including to improve the overall status of species groups such as pollinators. Our existing agri-environment scheme packages include measures to support pollinators, which have proved popular. We are looking to build on this popularity in the design of our new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme so that many more farmers and land managers can take positive action for pollinators and other farm wildlife.