Baroness Randerson Portrait

Baroness Randerson

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)

(since September 2015)
EU Internal Market Sub-Committee
10th Nov 2015 - 2nd Jul 2019
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Wales)
1st Jun 2015 - 7th Sep 2015
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
6th Sep 2012 - 7th May 2015
Lords Spokesperson (Northern Ireland Office)
2nd Nov 2012 - 7th May 2015


Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Oral questions - Main Chamber
Evaluating the success of measures in place to address the shortage of HGV drivers
View calendar
Division Votes
Thursday 21st October 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 32 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 126 Noes - 116
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

I will wait for a moment or two. I do not know whether the Minister wants to answer now.

Written Answers
Friday 15th October 2021
Bridges: Barcombe
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Highways England regarding the (1) ecological, (2) environmental, and …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 29th January 2020
Buses (Zero Emissions) Bill [HL] 2019-21
A bill to prohibit the registration of public service vehicles manufactured after 2025 which emit carbon; and to prohibit the …
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Randerson has voted in 174 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Randerson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
(131 debate interactions)
Lord Rosser (Labour)
Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)
(26 debate interactions)
Lord Tunnicliffe (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Transport)
(21 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(145 debate contributions)
Home Office
(17 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Baroness Randerson's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Randerson, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Baroness Randerson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Randerson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Baroness Randerson

Introduced: 8th January 2015

A Bill To make provision for and in connection with the creation of a Northern Ireland rate of corporation tax.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 26th March 2015 and was enacted into law.


A bill to prohibit the registration of public service vehicles manufactured after 2025 which emit carbon; and to prohibit the registration of other public service vehicles which emit carbon after 2035


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Wednesday 29th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Baroness Randerson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


299 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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 Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the register of Ministerial interests up to the end of 2020; and the registers of Ministerial interests for 2021.

The Prime Minister has today announced the appointment of Rt Hon Lord Geidt to serve as the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests. The Independent Adviser oversees the production of a List of Ministers' Interests, and the next publication will occur once Lord Geidt has concluded that process.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether UK ports will have the necessary facilities (1) prepared, and (2) able to operate, in time for the introduction of additional border checks in July; and if the facilities will not be ready, what contingency arrangements they plan to introduce.

I refer the Noble Lady to the Written Statement published on 11 March.

Statement

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (Michael Gove MP), has today made the following written statement:

On 31 December last year, the UK left the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. This was the biggest change in the UK’s trading relationships for decades. The Government has always been clear that this meant change for business and for citizens, including new processes and requirements.

The first phase of such changes came in on 1 January. The Government has put in place the staffing, infrastructure, and IT to deal with the situation. Thanks to the hard work of traders and hauliers, we have not seen anything like the generalised disruption at our ports which many predicted, and supply chains have shown themselves to be robust.

However, the Government recognises the scale and significance of the challenges businesses have been facing in adjusting to the new requirements, at the same time as dealing with the impacts of COVID.

Last June, we announced a timetable for the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into Great Britain, to ensure businesses could prepare in a phased way. This timetable was based on the impacts of the first wave of COVID. We know now that the disruption caused by COVID has lasted longer and has been deeper than we anticipated. Accordingly, the Government has reviewed these timeframes.

Although we recognise that many in the border industry and many businesses have been investing time and energy to be ready on time, and indeed we in Government were confident of being ready on time, we have listened to businesses who have made a strong case that they need more time to prepare. In reviewing the timeframes, we have given strong weight to the disruption which has been caused, and is still being caused, by COVID, and the need to ensure that the economy can recover fully.

We are therefore announcing today a clear revised timetable for the introduction of controls, as follows:

  • Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1 October 2021. Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.
  • Customs import declarations will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.
  • Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.
  • Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.
  • Physical SPS checks on high risk plants will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022.
  • Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022.
  • From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

Traders moving controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to be ineligible for the deferred customs declaration approach. They will therefore be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter Great Britain.

Controls and checks on Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods are of course a devolved matter and we continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations on their implementation, in particular with the Welsh Government on their timetable for completing supporting Border Control Post infrastructure in Wales.

We will continue to engage extensively with businesses to support them to adjust to the new requirements already in place and to prepare for the new requirements set out above so that they can continue to trade successfully under the new arrangements.

Lord Frost
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 5 January (HL11614), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what were the criteria for funding bids to the Port Infrastructure Fund from (1) ports, and (2) airports.

The Port of Dover has not formally requested additional funding in response to their provisional allocation. We have stated, more generally and to all ports, that there is no more funding available through the Port Infrastructure Fund.


The criteria for awarding grants were set out in the PIF Prospectus, which provided a guide to support Ports to apply for the PIF which opened for applications on 2 October 2020 and closed on 30 October 2020. We will place a copy in the library of the House, as well as publishing it online. Given the level of oversubscription, Government has had to apply the criteria strictly, in particular that works be required as a result of the introduction of the Border Operating Model.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 20 January (HL11829), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, whether they have (1) received any further requests for funding from Port of Dover authorities, and (2) had any discussions with those authorities about increasing funding to provide capacity for increased border checks; and if any such requests for funding have been refused, what were the reasons for refusal.

The Port of Dover has not formally requested additional funding in response to their provisional allocation. We have stated, more generally and to all ports, that there is no more funding available through the Port Infrastructure Fund.


The criteria for awarding grants were set out in the PIF Prospectus, which provided a guide to support Ports to apply for the PIF which opened for applications on 2 October 2020 and closed on 30 October 2020. We will place a copy in the library of the House, as well as publishing it online. Given the level of oversubscription, Government has had to apply the criteria strictly, in particular that works be required as a result of the introduction of the Border Operating Model.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reasons were given to Portsmouth Port for the decision to grant £17.1 million for the development of the border infrastructure required as a result of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement; what additional sources of funding (1) Portsmouth Port, and (2) other ports in a similar situation, are being directed to; why ports are not being granted the full amount estimated to be required for such infrastructure; whether they plan to fund the specialist facilities hosted at Portsmouth Port for trade in animals for breeding purposes; and if so, how.

The Port Infrastructure Fund received 53 applications from a range of sea ports, rail facilities and airports. Of the 53 ports that applied to the Fund, 41 were successful in their application and a total of £200M has been provisionally allocated. 12 ports were not considered eligible or were unsuccessful at assessment phase.

It is a commercial decision for ports as to whether to provide these facilities. In normal circumstances, ports would be expected to fund such facilities themselves. However - in recognition of the unique circumstances of EU Exit, and the tight timescales for putting infrastructure in place - Government made £470m of funding available for new border infrastructure, with up to £200m available to ports through the Port Infrastructure Fund.

Ports will need to consider the scope of their infrastructure projects now that their funding allocations have been made - they may choose to scale back on the facilities they are building, or they may choose to provide additional funding themselves. This is a commercial decision for ports.

Any decisions on future funding for specialist facilities would be announced in the usual way.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they granted funding from the Port Infrastructure Fund for infrastructure at the entrance to the Port of Dover; if not, (1) why not, and (2) what other funding they consider will be available for this purpose.

All allocations from the Port Infrastructure Fund (PIF) have been published by HMG online at gov.uk. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-infrastructure-fund-allocations/port-infrastructure-fund-successful-applicants).

The criteria for awarding grants were set out in the PIF Prospectus.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the criteria for funding bids to the Port Infrastructure Fund from (1) ports, and (2) airports.

All allocations from the Port Infrastructure Fund (PIF) have been published by HMG online at gov.uk. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-infrastructure-fund-allocations/port-infrastructure-fund-successful-applicants).

The criteria for awarding grants were set out in the PIF Prospectus.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last met representatives of the British International Freight Association; and what assessment they have made of the ability of the customs and logistics sector to cope with any additional processes required after the end of the Brexit transition period.

The Government regularly meets key representative organisations and trade associations in preparation for the end of the Transition Period. HMRC and Cabinet Office officials meet frequently with the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the most recent occasions for HMRC being an industry roundtable event on 17 September and a customs forum on 21 September. Cabinet Office have also been in discussions with BIFA regarding the Border Operating Model (BOM) on 23 September.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the effectiveness, and (2) the impact, of the Border Operating Model in helping the logistics sector to understand the requirements of new procedures.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out on 23 September, the Government has invited businesses to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Since the publication of the Border Operating Model in July, the Government has engaged extensively with industry to understand what more they need to be ready for the end of the Transition Period. Feedback received has been reflected in the updated Border Operating Model, due to be published shortly.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the state of preparedness of the Smart Freight Service; and when they expect to be in a position to start testing the system.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out on 23 September, the Government has invited businesses to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Since the publication of the Border Operating Model in July, the Government has engaged extensively with industry to understand what more they need to be ready for the end of the Transition Period. Feedback received has been reflected in the updated Border Operating Model, due to be published shortly.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to consult the local authorities affected by the Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020, which comes into effect on 24 September; and what plans they have to site a lorry park in the Newhaven and Lewes areas.

Government officials have been in direct contact with Local Authorities which could be directly impacted by an inland site in their area. Officials also wrote to indirectly impacted Local Authorities to inform them that there are not any imminent plans in their area for an inland site and that they will be notified should this change. We want to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is in place, not just in Newhaven and Lewes, but at other ports also.

On 12 July, the Government announced a £705 million funding package in 2020/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the letter sent by senior representatives of the logistics industry to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 2 September, in particular those representatives' (1) request for an urgent roundtable meeting to discuss their preparedness for the UK’s transition from EU trade regulations at the end of this year, and (2) concerns that the supply chain may be “severely disrupted” if issues are not addressed.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has responded to the letter and hosted a roundtable alongside the Transport Secretary, other Ministers and senior officials on 17 September.

The Government agrees with the need for public authorities, businesses and individuals to take action now to prepare for the end of the transition and have set out extensive guidance on GOV.uk/transition.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish their Border Operating Model which was originally scheduled for publication in March.

As announced on 12 June and as set out on GOV.UK, the Government will publish a Border Operating Model in July.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by the Competition and Markets Authority Electric Vehicle Charging market study, published on 23 July; and what steps they intend to take in response to the issues raised.

The Government agrees with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that a comprehensive and competitive charging network is essential to support the country’s transition to electric vehicles. In line with the CMA’s recommendations, an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy will be published later this year.

The Government committed £1.3 billion to EV infrastructure at the 2020 Spending Review. This includes the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund which will ensure that every Motorway Service Area in England has the grid capacity it needs to support the growth in EV usage to 2035. The Government has allocated £275 million in extended support for chargepoint installation at homes, workplaces, and on-street locations, and a further £90 million to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why higher education institutions and other providers of training for professional qualifications are not listed as stakeholders affected in the impact assessment for the Professional Qualifications Bill; whether higher education institutions or others providing such education and training were consulted on the proposals in that Bill; and if not, (1) why not, and (2) what plans they have to consult such providers in the future.

The impact assessment considers the costs and benefits of provisions in the Professional Qualifications Bill. The proposals in the Bill do not affect the UK qualifications or experience required to practise a profession.

The Government ran a Call for Evidence on the recognition of professional qualifications and the regulation of professions between August 2020 and October 2020, which was open to anyone with an interest in professional qualifications. We received 417 responses, of which 26 responses were from educators who provide training and higher education institutions.

Officials have met representatives from Universities UK to discuss proposals in the Professional Qualifications Bill and will continue to pursue an active programme of stakeholder engagement.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what investments they are making which are specifically targeted at (1) the science, and (2) the skills base, underpinning hydrogen technologies; and what plans they have to introduce a new policy framework for the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as part of their decarbonisation strategy.

The £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and its forerunner, the Energy Innovation Programme, seek to accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon technologies, systems and business models. These programmes include the new £60 million Low-Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 competition which is aimed at accelerating the development of a wide range of innovative low-carbon hydrogen supply solutions; and the Hy4Heat Programme, which is working to establish if it is technically possible, safe and convenient to replace natural gas (methane) with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings. Hy4Heat has worked with Energy & Utility Skills to develop a competency framework for skills accreditation for heating engineers working with hydrogen.

We have also delivered projects such as the £20 million Industrial Fuel Switching which includes the first demonstrations of firing hydrogen at commercial fuel supply scale for the manufacture of cement and lime. Furthermore, the £10 million Green Distilleries Competition is supporting nine feasibility studies for low-carbon hydrogen-related projects. BEIS has also let a contract to the University of Cambridge to explore the atmospheric impacts of hydrogen release.

My Rt.Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan was clear on our aim for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for use across the economy. The forthcoming Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits and supporting job and skills. We will also consult on priority policies, including hydrogen business models, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many sub-postmasters were (1) prosecuted, and (2) convicted, on charges associated with the use of the Horizon computer system; and how long they estimate it will take to (a) review, and (b) resolve, compensation claims in connection with these cases.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Dissolution. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on charity-funded medical research; what assessment they have made of any such impact on research funding for the university sector; and what steps they will take to make up any shortfalls in funding.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. I will correspond directly with the noble Baroness.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 8 April (HL14532), what assessment they have made of the impact of cuts to Official Development Assistance (ODA) on contracts both in the UK and abroad entered into by universities as part of research projects funded via the Research Councils; and which authority will be legally responsible for any such contracts broken in the event that the reduction in ODA funding leads to research projects being terminated early or reduced in scope.

As outlined by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in his previous answer, we are presented with a challenging financial situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

BEIS delivers R&D ODA funding through a range of Executive Agencies, Research Councils, National Academies, Royal Societies and more. As a result, the Department has several distinct legal agreements with our ODA Delivery Partners; and each of these also has a range of legal relationships with their individual grant holders. We are working with each Delivery Partner to ensure that contractual terms, including relevant notice periods, are respected.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their decision to remove the cost of association with Horizon Europe from the provision for research and development in the UK budget; when they made the decision to treat Horizon money as additional funding; how much will be the total annual cost of association with Horizon Europe; and what plans they have to re-assess this decision in the future.

I am pleased we reached agreement to take part in Horizon Europe; it will bring huge benefits to the UK.

We are continuing to work through the details of the costs for Horizon. We will set out our plans for R&D spend in 2021/22 – including funding for Horizon Europe – in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to implement the recommendation set out in the report by the Climate Change Committee The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s path to Net Zero, published in December 2020, to include emissions from international aviation and shipping in their Sixth Carbon Budget.

The UK plays a leading role in the development of measures driving emissions reduction in the international aviation and shipping sectors at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) while UK aviation and shipping emissions are covered by our domestic legislation. We are considering all of the CCC’s recommendations, including on International Aviation and Shipping, carefully ahead of setting the sixth carbon budget.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic on travel companies' ability to raise revenue as a result of staff being (1) engaged in processing refunds to customers unable to fulfil booked travel arrangements, and (2) ineligible for the furlough scheme; and what alternative financial support they plan to provide to such companies and the staff of such companies.

The Government recognises the travel sector has been particularly hard hit by covid-19, and we regularly assess impacts on such tourism businesses and are continuing to engage across Government and with relevant stakeholders.

Travel companies continue to be able to access the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme which has been extended until the end of April. On top of this and our wider economic support package, the Government has provided business rates relief and one-off grants for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses – and we have cut VAT for tourism and hospitality activities from 20% to 5% until the end of March.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to channel funding for university research that was previously provided by EU funding; whether they intend to devolve all or part of this funding stream to the devolved administrations; and what plans they have to maintain the overall levels of funding for university research at the level previously provided by EU funds.

Negotiations with the EU to associate to Horizon Europe, are ongoing. We are open to participation if we can agree a fair and balanced deal for the UK. If the UK associates to Horizon Europe, universities will be able to apply for funding from Horizon Europe in line with the terms of any agreement and the final regulations establishing the Horizon Europe Programme. We set out in the R&D Roadmap that if the UK does not formally associate to Horizon Europe, the Government will implement ambitious alternatives as quickly as possible from January 2021 and will address the funding gap. Alternatives to Horizon Europe, if required, will cover discovery, or ‘curiosity-led’ research, global collaborative research, and innovation.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many jobs have been lost in the UK bus manufacturing industry since February 2020; and in what regions any such job losses have occurred.

Since February 2020, UK bus manufacturers have announced 775 job losses in total. In May, Wrightbus announced 125 job losses at its Ballymena site in Northern Ireland. In July, Alexander Dennis Limited announced 650 job losses across its sites in Falkirk, Scarborough, and Guildford.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisation, body or individual is responsible for ensuring the safety of coal tips created by operations under the oversight of the National Coal Board.

There are more than 5,000 colliery tips in the UK and most of these, including most of those created by operations under the oversight of the National Coal Board, are now in either local authority or private ownership. The owner is responsible for ensuring the safety of the tip.

The Coal Authority owns and manages 40 disused colliery tip sites across the UK; information about their location and inspection frequency can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by Which?, published on 3 November, that found that over £1 billion is owed to consumers who have had to cancel holidays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they are taking to ensure that those customers receive the refunds to which they are entitled.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued guidance to explain to consumers and business the circumstances when refunds are due as a consequence of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government has always been clear that these refunds must be paid when asked for by the consumer.

The CMA has written to over 100 package holiday firms to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law, and has already secured refund commitments from TUI UK, Sykes Cottages, Vacation Rentals and Virgin Holidays. If the CMA finds evidence that companies are failing to comply with the law, the CMA will take appropriate enforcement action, which could include taking a firm to court if it does not address its concerns.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what environmental requirements they have imposed on FlyPop as a condition of the funding they awarded to that company; what are the requirements of that funding in relation to Civil Aviation Authority registration; and what due diligence processes were applied to that funding decision.

The Future Fund provides Government loans to UK-based companies, ranging from £125,000 to £5 million. In terms of eligibility, firms qualify for the loans as long as they are able to attract at least equal match funding from private investors, and subject to both firms and investors meeting all the requirements of the scheme. The scheme was launched for firms who are at pre-profit or pre-revenue stage, and who may be ineligible for the various COVID loan schemes, as these firms rely on equity finance rather than debt. The Future Fund does not impose additional conditions on eligible businesses.

The British Business Bank, which manages the Future Fund, has established strong due diligence processes which are built into the portal to ensure firms and investors prove their eligibility. The portal also asks for documentation from investors, firms, and their solicitors, to carry out ‘Know Your Customer’ and anti-money laundering checks, as well as general fraud checks. These measures ensure that fraudulent activity is avoided, in addition to ensuring that the funds have been allocated correctly to the applicant.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in developing a UK position navigation and timing satellite and earth observation system; how much they have spent on developing this project to date; and how much funding they plan to invest in this in each of the next four years.

The 18-month UK Global Navigation Satellite System Programme successfully concluded its work to develop outline proposals for a conventional satellite navigation system in September. £92m was originally allocated for the UK GNSS Programme and work has concluded successfully under budget.

Work completed by the UK Space Agency so far has developed cutting edge British expertise in areas such as spacecraft and antenna design, satellite and ground control systems, systems engineering and simulation, which have wider applications across the space sector, in addition to supporting specialist UK jobs and industrial GNSS capability. The new Space Based PNT Programme will build on this work to consider newer, more innovative ideas of delivering global ‘sat nav’ and secure satellite services to meet public, government, and industry needs. SBPP will be funded from existing budgets, UKSA are feeding into the Comprehensive Spending Review, which is currently running across government.

Separately, the UK Space Agency has begun to consider plans for a national Earth Observation capability, whilst we continue to negotiate for participation in the EU’s Copernicus Earth Observation System.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they proceeded with their announced investment of £400 million in the company OneWeb; and what additional capability they planned to acquire through any such investment.

The Government (announced 3 July) led a successful bid to acquire OneWeb, which develops cutting-edge satellite technology in the UK and in the US.

OneWeb has the potential to operate a global network of small satellites, known as a mega constellation, which can connect the world to broadband, and other services from space.

OneWeb aims to provide broadband to millions of people, particularly those otherwise without connectivity otherwise in remote and rural locations.

We will be able to provide more detail on how OneWeb will support the UK once Chapter 11 proceedings have been completed.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a temporary travel guarantee fund to support travel companies to settle claims made against cancelled travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has already launched an unprecedented set of financial support measures to support business and which can be accessed by travel companies, including two business interruption loan guarantee schemes, Time to Pay for tax bills, and VAT deferrals. As of 22 September, the Government has supported over £57.3bn of loans to 1,328,091 smaller businesses.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reduction in research funding available to universities as a result of reduced charitable giving during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to increase funding to compensate for any such reduction.

The UK’s world-class universities will continue to play a critical role in delivering local and national economic prosperity, but of course they have been hard hit by COVID-19. That is why we have announced a range of measures to support universities at this difficult time.

From the autumn, the Government will provide a package consisting of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants through the Sustaining University Research Expertise Fund (‘SURE’) to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020-21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

The SURE fund aims to help sustain the research capacity of the university research base as a whole. Universities will be asked to demonstrate how they will use that funding to sustain research in areas typically funded by charities and business. Ultimately, we want critical university research capability, including charity-funded medical research, to be sustained and able to contribute to our future R&D ambitions.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress in negotiations with the EU on the UK’s access to the Horizon Europe research funding programme.

The Government has made clear in its Roadmap that we aim to maintain a close and friendly relationship with our European partners and are in negotiations with the EU seeking to agree a fair and balanced deal for participation in certain EU R&D schemes, including Horizon Europe. Negotiations with the European Commission are ongoing and it is too early to make an assessment.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has made several Written Ministerial Statements in the House of Commons that provide an update on the UK's negotiations with the EU, including on EU Programmes. These include HCWS271 (Official Report, 8th June 2020) and HCWS346 (Official Report, 7th July 2020).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why British Wool was not considered to be appropriately established as an organisation to qualify for support under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; what assessment they have made of the impact of this decision on sheep farmers generally; and what discussions they have had with the Welsh Government about the impact of this decision on the Welsh economy.

Decision-making on whether a business is eligible to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is fully delegated to the accredited lenders for the scheme, and individual lending decisions remain at the discretion of these accredited lenders. Information on eligibility criteria for the CBILS can be found on the British Business Bank’s website.

Businesses from most sectors can apply for the full amount of the facility under the CBILS. The scheme is demand-led and take up by a particular sector, or in a particular region, will depend upon application rates and the assessment of those applications by lenders. The schemes are accessible across the UK and lenders have been accredited across the UK’s nations and regions.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is part of a comprehensive package of support for businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, deferral of VAT and income tax payments, grant funding for small businesses, and more. Regular calls are held between UK Government Ministers and Ministers in the Devolved Administrations on the Covid-19 pandemic and economic impacts and responses.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the measures to be taken in order to ensure that Nissan retains its Sunderland plant following the end of the Brexit transition period.

The Government regularly speaks to businesses to ensure they are prepared for the end of the transition period, including Nissan.

Nissan has over 6,000 jobs at its Sunderland plant and over 7,000 staff across UK. The company has renewed its commitment to its Sunderland plant recently and is continuing to invest in this country.

We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive and other advanced manufacturing.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require UK Research and Innovation to extend the term of grants for those projects which have been interrupted or delayed by the impact of coronavirus.

The Government is aware of the consequent pressures of the coronavirus on businesses, universities, and research institutions.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is already offering no-cost extensions to all grants.

UKRI has also confirmed it?will?offer a costed extension of up to six months for those?UKRI funded PhD students?due to complete by 31 March 2021 and whose study has been impacted by the pandemic. Where a student’s doctoral research project has been repurposed towards COVID-19 related research, a costed extension to cover the time needed to adapt the research could be considered and covered in the same way as other case-by-case extensions. More information is available on the UKRI website.

We are in discussion with UKRI and wider stakeholders about what else may be required to best support the research and innovation system.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual value of the aerospace sector to the UK economy.

In 2018, the UK aerospace sector had an annual turnover of around £33 billion, the majority of which was generated through exports. Between 2009 and 2019, the sector had an average gross value added (GVA) of £9 billion, accounting for 5% of the UK’s total manufacturing GVA. During this period, productivity growth in the sector (measured by GVA per job) grew at a pace of over four times that of the UK economy as a whole

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for production of a standardised formula for assessing vehicular carbon footprint in manufacture to produce a reliable comparative assessment system for the vehicle market.

Vehicle manufacture is a global industry and consequently, there is no agreed approach that can be used to inform consumers of the comparative carbon footprint of the production of different vehicles. The Government does not currently have any plans to inform consumers about the comparative carbon footprint generated by different electric vehicles in their production. We expect the transition to zero emission motoring to be industry-led, supported by measures set out in our Road to Zero strategy.

In 2018, the Department for Transport developed the Transport Energy Model. This was published alongside the Road to Zero strategy to provide a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts of different road vehicle technologies and fuels. The Model showed that UK battery electric vehicles have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles, even when accounting for the energy mix of the electricity to charge the battery, as well as the electricity used for battery production.

Electric vehicle emission values are highly dependent on the electricity mix of the country in which the vehicle is charged, and the country in which the vehicle, battery, and other parts are manufactured. Emission values will also vary according to model type, car size, and miles driven. To obtain full environmental benefits, electric vehicles and their batteries need to be manufactured using electricity from carbon-free sources.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact, if any, the introduction of electric vehicles has had on sales of new cars; and how they intend to encourage additional demand for electric vehicles through the provision of incentives.

In 2019, registrations of battery electric vehicles were at record levels. This was almost double compared to 2018 with nearly 38,000 units sold, overtaking plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations for the first time, at nearly 35,000 units. There were over 2.3 million new car registrations in 2019; a decline of 2.4% compared to 2018. Falling car sales are in line with other countries in Europe, including Germany and France, as a result of global slowdown and changing consumer demand.

Government grants for plug-in vehicles are available to help reduce the upfront purchase price of electric vehicles. Drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles also receive other benefits, including lower tax rates and grants towards the installation of chargepoints. For example, all zero emission models will pay no company car tax in 2020-21 and 1% in 2021-22, before returning to the planned 2% rate in 2022-23 – a significant tax saving for employees and employers.

Local authorities may also provide additional incentives such as free parking or exemption from the congestion charge.

We stated in our Road to Zero Strategy that consumer incentives will continue to play a role beyond 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what strategies are in place to increase capacity in the energy grid network across the UK to meet increased demand from electric vehicles.

Ofgem, the independent energy regulator, ensures – through the RIIO regulatory framework – that there is sufficient investment in electricity networks to deliver our net zero target and enable the transition to electric vehicles, whilst ensuring costs are kept down for consumers.

This is alongside numerous measures to prepare the electricity system for new sources of demand, including electric vehicles.

‘Smart’ charging of electric vehicles can reduce demands from EV charging at peak times to help manage grid capacity. The Government recently consulted on secondary legislation to mandate that all charge points sold or installed in the UK must be smart enabled.

In 2018, the Government established an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce. The Taskforce has now reported and published 21 proposals for Government, industry and Ofgem on how we can ensure the energy system is ready for the mass uptake of electric vehicles. Government is actively considering these proposals.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why private coach services have been prevented from running services before 17 May, given that scheduled bus services and train operators are allowed to run services before that date subject to social distancing.

The government has committed to taking a gradual, phased approach to reopening in order to keep the virus under control and to avoid another surge in infections that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. Decisions about reopening are informed by the latest scientific evidence and seek a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country.

Step 2 of the Roadmap prioritises outdoor activity over indoor activity, and indoor activity within households rather than between them.

Private hire coach tours are only permitted for a private group of a single household or support bubble. The coach driver and tour guide do not count towards the single household/support bubble rule. Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey (for example, for the purposes of a leisure tour), as this is more akin to ‘indoor gathering’ than it is to ‘public transport’ and will therefore not be permitted until Step 3.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, about listing the Six Nations Rugby Championship as a Group A sporting event under broadcasting regulations.

The Government does not have plans to review the listed events regime at this time. We believe that the current listed events regime works well to deliver the best outcome and strikes an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their decision not to provide financial support to inbound tour operators; what discussions they have had with representatives of the inbound tourism sector regarding the reduction in their business arising from the COVID-19 pandemic; and what they estimate the impact of that business reduction to be on employment in (1) the inbound tourism sector, and (2) popular tourist destinations in the UK.

We are aware that the travel sector has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19, and that these are extremely difficult conditions for inbound tour operators as well as popular tourist destinations in the UK.

Inbound tour operators can access a range of Government support measures, including the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes, as well as various government-backed loans. Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly during this period. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed.

While my Department has made no specific estimate of the impact on employment within these two parts of the sector, the Minister for Tourism is in regular contact with stakeholders, such as UKInbound, to closely monitor the impact on inbound tourism.

On 24 November, the Global Travel Taskforce report outlined 14 steps that the Government could take to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. Following the report’s publication, the Transport Secretary announced a new ‘Test to Release’ system for international arrivals from countries that are not on the Travel Corridor list, which will be launched on 15 December.

We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online travel agents.

We are regularly assessing Covid-19’s significant impact on tourism businesses. We recognise that these are extremely challenging conditions for those in the sector, including online travel agents.

Online travel agents that employ staff in the UK have been able to access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, which includes the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

When it launches in November, the Jobs Support Scheme will help protect jobs within businesses facing lower demand due to Covid-19.

We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with tourism and travel industry representatives about the UK's participation in the Re-open EU application and website; and what assessment they have made of the impact of their decision not to participate on those sectors. [T]

The UK is no longer part of the EU, and therefore we would not expect to be included in a map representing member states.

The UK regularly shares information on our travel, border and health measures with key partners, including the European Commission, as part of our ongoing international cooperation during the Coronavirus crisis.

The Minister for Tourism discussed the recovery and lifting of travel restrictions with ministers from several European countries and the European Commission at the recent Extraordinary G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19. We will work closely with foreign governments to help the global tourism industry recover from the current crisis.

Officials in my Department are also in regular contact with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Travel and Tourism Council. We continue to share information about the UK’s response to COVID-19.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether international students arriving in the UK for the next academic year will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations from the NHS; if so, whether eligibility for such vaccines will depend on availability of vaccines in their home country; and what assessment they have made of proposals for universities using appropriately trained personnel to administer such vaccines.

International students who live in the UK will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine for free. Their eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine here is not predicated on having had one abroad.

When students arrive in the UK, they should register with a local GP surgery as soon as possible. There may be a GP surgery attached to their university. People who are registered with a GP will be contacted by their surgery to book their vaccine via an online or telephone system when they are eligible. There is no need for students proactively to contact their GP about the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID vaccination sites are able to set up temporary vaccination clinics in a wide range of locations to ensure that patients can easily access the vaccine; this can include sites on university campuses.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a fund to which schools can apply to cover costs of visas required to recruit foreign language teaching assistants.

Due to shortage of time, it has not been possible to answer this question before the end of the Session. The Minister will write to the Member in due course.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that policies on higher education and freedom of speech are based on (1) accurate research, and (2) evidence which reflects a balance of information.

There is growing concern within the government that free speech and academic freedom on some university campuses is being affected by increasing intolerance of ideas which challenge conventional wisdom, leading to a chilling effect whereby not all students and staff may feel able to express themselves without fear of repercussions. There have been a number of studies, surveys, and reports highlighting instances where freedom of speech and academic freedom is being curtailed in the higher education sector – including from King’s College London, the University and College Union, Policy Exchange, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Alongside this, there have been a small number of high-profile reported incidents in which staff or students have been threatened with negative consequences, including loss of privileges or dismissal, sometimes successfully, confirming that the fear of repercussion is not always unfounded.

Officials and Ministers continue to work with a wide range of groups and bodies across the higher education sector, including Universities UK and the National Union of Students, to ensure that our universities are places where free speech can thrive.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK no longer participating in Erasmus+ on the number of international students studying at UK universities.

Throughout our negotiations with the EU, the government carefully considered the potential impacts of launching a new scheme compared to continuing to participate in the Erasmus+ scheme under the terms on offer. The design of the Turing scheme has been driven by our ambition for a truly global, UK-wide scheme, and we are confident that international students will continue to want to study in the UK’s world-leading educational institutions.

The UK is a world-leading destination for study and research, with 4 universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the top 100 – more than the whole of the EU in total. The UK is currently second only to the USA as a destination for international students in higher education, with approximately 486,000 overseas students.

It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchange schemes. We will harness this advantage to deliver an international education exchange programme which has a genuinely global reach, establishing new relationships with academic institutions not just across Europe but also the rest of the world.

More broadly, our updated International Education Strategy will respond to the challenges of COVID-19. It will set out how the government will support the whole of the UK’s education sector in the recovery of its international activity, pursuing our ambition to increase the value of our education exports to £35 billion per annum and to increase the number of international higher education students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per annum, both by 2030.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether schools are encouraged to develop individual clean air plans; and if so, how they incentivise the development of such plans.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. Concerns regarding the air quality in school buildings fall to the body responsible for the school to check and establish what measures need to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which contains guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consulted the (1) Northern Irish, (2) Scottish, and (2) Welsh, governments about their proposals to cap the number of English students who can be admitted to universities elsewhere in the UK; if not, why not; on what date the relevant ministers of those governments were informed of Her Majesty's Government's proposals; and what representations they have received from such ministers about those proposals. [T]

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, have regular meetings with ministers from all the devolved administrations about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. The department’s officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls for institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply consistently wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the registration process for independent higher education providers has been suspended by the Office for Students; and when they plan to recommence registrations.

The registration process for higher education providers is managed by the Office for Students (OfS), the independent regulator of higher education in England.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current unprecedented circumstances, the OfS has decided to suspend new registration applications. This is due to a reprioritisation of resources that enables the OfS to focus on urgent COVID-19 response work.

The OfS is responsible for deciding when to resume new registrations and will do so as soon as circumstances allow. The OfS is continuing to process applications already submitted for both registration and degree awarding powers and has offered to discuss with individual potential providers wherever there might be exceptional circumstances.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer emergency hardship grants to university students from low income households

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Higher education (HE) providers take their responsibilities seriously and are best placed to identify the needs of their student body, as well as how to develop the services needed to support it. HE providers need to consider how they support all students, particularly the most vulnerable, to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes.

Many providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need, including emergencies. The expectation is that where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable providers to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April and May, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.


22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that university courses which supply (1) health workers, (2) teachers, and (3) other core public sector workers, are (a) protected, and (b) expanded, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department recognises these public services are vitally important in such a challenging time and appreciate that this is an uncertain time for all prospective students, and we want to ensure that they are not negatively impacted by disruption to the sector.

For those students receiving A-Levels this summer, results awarded will be formal results, with the same status as results awarded in any other year, and therefore students should continue to receive conditional offers from providers for all courses.

Students accepted on to teaching courses are already eligible for additional bursaries designed to support increased supply and from September this year we are introducing new grants of £5,000 for nurses, midwives and other health professionals to support increased recruitment into these professions. We are also looking at further work with Office for Students to increase capacity in the sector.

The government also contributes to the costs of higher education by providing teaching grant (T-Grant) funding to eligible higher education providers that have opted to be subject to tuition fee caps. This includes high-cost subject funding, which supplements the costs of teaching where tuition fees are insufficient to meet the entire costs of provision, such as for medicine, engineering and some nursing courses. Additional funding is being made available for the expansion of medical school places.

We are committed to supporting our world-class higher education institutions, so will continue working closely with the sector to manage the impact of coronavirus and secure the stability and sustainability of the sector at this difficult time.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to encourage more international and EU students to study at UK universities following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK looks forward to continuing to welcome international and EU students in the future. They enrich UK higher education culturally, socially, and economically and are one of the reasons why our higher education sector remains world-class. The government has provided a number of reassurances for international higher education students already in the UK, as well as for those planning to study at a UK higher education provider from autumn 2020.

On 20 April, the government published bespoke guidance that brings together a number of visa concessions for international students in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tier-4-sponsors-migrants-and-short-term-students.

The visa mitigations in this guidance, which will be kept under regular review, ensure that international students can extend existing visas, engage in online learning, and switch visa categories where needed in order to start new courses in the autumn.

The visa guidance published on 20 April also recommits to the new Graduate Immigration Route which, as previously announced, will be launched in the summer of 2021. Any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after this date will be able to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route. This includes students who have already started their courses even if, due to COVID-19, they have needed to undertake some of their learning remotely.

To address the longer-term impact of COVID-19, officials at the Department for Education and the Department for International Trade will consider how the International Education Strategy can be updated to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional financial support to universities during the COVID-19 pandemic; what guidance they have provided to universities about dealing with requests for refunds of fees; and what plans they have to provide compensation to universities to cover the costs of such refunds.

The government has announced a UK-wide range of support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and various business support packages, to assist businesses whose viability is threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak. These include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. If they need this support, higher education providers that meet the published criteria for the loan and financing schemes should approach their bank and begin to apply for the relevant scheme.

We are working closely with higher education providers and the regulator for the higher education sector in England, the Office for Students (OfS), to ensure that we maintain an up-to-date understanding of the financial risks and implications the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing to bear on the sector. The OfS has stated that one of its key priorities during the pandemic is to support the financial sustainability of the sector. Providers with concerns about their financial viability or sustainability have been encouraged to contact the OfS at the earliest opportunity.

The OfS has produced guidance on practical ways in which students can complete their studies whilst ensuring quality and standards are upheld during this difficult time. Providers are already making these arrangements and we are in close contact with the sector. There are some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality distance and online learning being delivered by institutions across the UK, and the sector is already working hard to prepare learning materials for the summer and autumn terms. Students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support.

However, the government has made it clear that if institutions are unable to facilitate adequate online tuition then it would be unacceptable for students to be charged for any additional terms as, effectively, they would be charged twice. ?Whether an individual student is entitled to a refund of their fees will depend on specific contractual arrangements between the higher education providers and the student.

In the first instance, students should speak to their university. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by institutions to resolve any concerns. Students who are not satisfied with their institution’s final response can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint if their institution is based in England or Wales.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional financial support they plan to provide to universities to deal with increased pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has announced a UK-wide range of support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and various business support packages, to assist businesses whose viability is threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak. These include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. If they need this support, higher education providers that meet the published criteria for the loan and financing schemes should approach their bank and begin to apply for the relevant scheme.

We are working closely with higher education providers and the regulator for the higher education sector in England, the Office for Students (OfS), to ensure that we maintain an up-to-date understanding of the financial risks and implications the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing to bear on the sector. The OfS has stated that one of its key priorities during the pandemic is to support the financial sustainability of the sector. Providers with concerns about their financial viability or sustainability have been encouraged to contact the OfS at the earliest opportunity.

The OfS has produced guidance on practical ways in which students can complete their studies whilst ensuring quality and standards are upheld during this difficult time. Providers are already making these arrangements and we are in close contact with the sector. There are some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality distance and online learning being delivered by institutions across the UK, and the sector is already working hard to prepare learning materials for the summer and autumn terms. Students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support.

However, the government has made it clear that if institutions are unable to facilitate adequate online tuition then it would be unacceptable for students to be charged for any additional terms as, effectively, they would be charged twice. ?Whether an individual student is entitled to a refund of their fees will depend on specific contractual arrangements between the higher education providers and the student.

In the first instance, students should speak to their university. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by institutions to resolve any concerns. Students who are not satisfied with their institution’s final response can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint if their institution is based in England or Wales.

27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to seek programme country status in relation to Erasmus after 2021.

The UK’s approach to negotiations with the European Union, as set out in the ‘Future Relationship with the European Union’, is clear that we remain open to participation in elements of Erasmus+, on a time-limited basis, provided the terms are in the UK’s interests.

27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial implications of reducing the UK’s relationship with Erasmus after 2021 to that of partner status.

The UK’s approach to negotiations with the European Union, as set out in the ‘Future Relationship with the European Union’, is clear that we remain open to participation in elements of Erasmus+, on a time-limited basis, provided the terms are in the UK’s interests.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what level of future involvement for the UK in Erasmus and Horizon programmes they hope to establish after leaving the EU; what has been the financial contribution by the UK to those specific programmes in each of the last five years; and how much has been awarded, in total, to the UK from those programmes in each of the last five years.

This government values the strong collaborative partnerships that we have across Europe in the areas of science, education, research and innovation and want to continue to support these opportunities.

The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement mean that the UK will continue to participate in EU Programmes financed by the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure. Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ are EU programmes financed during this MFF period.

UK organisations, scientists, researchers and businesses will be able to continue in these programmes and receive EU grant funding until the end of 2020 and for the lifetime of individual projects.

We will continue to collaborate with the EU on scientific research and education and we’ve been clear that where it is in the UK’s interests, we will seek to participate in some specific EU programmes, such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. The Political Declaration agreed with the EU in October 2019 demonstrates a shared intent between UK and EU leaders to agree a framework that supports collaboration in science and innovation.

The shape and content of EU programmes post-2020, including Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, are currently being negotiated in the EU Institutions and have not yet been finalised. These EU programmes must be adopted by the EU before any potential formal negotiations on association could begin.

As a Member State, the UK does not contribute financially to specific programmes. Member States pay for participation in EU framework programmes through the general UK contribution to the EU Budget.

The following table indicates the amount of Horizon 2020 funding awarded to UK organisations:

Year (grant signature)

Horizon 2020 funding awarded (excl. Euratom Research & Training)[1]

2014

€ 394 million

2015

€ 1,477 million

2016

€ 1,344 million

2017

€ 1,074 million

2018

€ 1,069 million

2019

€ 820 million

Total

€ 6,179 million

[1] Data source: European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/horizon-dashboard - accessed 14/01/2019. Accessed 14/01/2019

Please note totals of the table will not be accurate due to rounding.

With regards to Erasmus+, the most up-to-date information on funding results is held by the UK National Agency which is attached and can be found at the following link under ‘Statistics for the UK 2014-2018’: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are no longer planning to carry out animal checks at the White Cliffs Site; and where they plan to locate a suitable facility for such checks.

The Government undertook a thorough review of the plans for Border Control Post (BCP) facilities for EU goods arriving through Kent, and a range of delivery options were explored.

Ministers agreed that the BCP at Sevington’s inland border facility would carry out the majority of SPS inspections for imports arriving through the short straits for all plants, plant products, and live animals apart from livestock. Inspections of Products of Animal Origin (POAO) from Eurotunnel will also take place at Sevington. POAO from the Port of Dover will go to a separate BCP in the Dover area.

The review was undertaken in line with good practice to ensure that Government programmes are meeting requirements and delivering the most value for money.

We are working to procure suitable sites which meet the requirements for livestock and POAO facilities.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the coroner’s reports relating to the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah and the prevention of future deaths, published on 20 April, whether they have accepted the recommendation that the UK’s legal limit for particulate pollution should be halved to bring it in line with WHO guidelines; and what steps they have taken (1) to improve public warnings on air pollution levels, and (2) to improve awareness among medical staff of the need to provide more information to patients on the health impacts of air pollution.

Our thoughts continue to be with Ella's family and friends. We are carefully considering the Prevention of Future Deaths Report published by the Coroner on 21 April and we will respond in due course.

We know that air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health, and although air pollution has reduced significantly over the last decade, there is more to do. In 2019, we published our Clean Air Strategy which recognised the need for comprehensive action on air pollution for the primary and crucial purpose of protecting people's health.

Our landmark Environment Bill delivers key aspects of our Strategy. The Bill establishes a legally binding duty to set at least two new air quality targets, through the environmental targets framework. We recognise the need to take action to reduce people's exposure to PM 2.5 and in proposing a dual target approach, we are putting health at the centre of our target setting. This approach will ensure action is taken at pollution hotspots and continuous improvement will be driven across the country. We will take into account WHO guidance when setting these targets

Defra makes air pollution information available through a range of channels, such as the UK-Air website and more recently working with Global Action Plan to deliver the Clean Air Hub. We also provide information to a network of charities (e.g. the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, British Heart Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, British Thoracic Society and others) when air pollution levels are forecast to be elevated to ensure information reaches the most vulnerable.

The Department for Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges during a recent meeting. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short and long-term adverse effects of air pollution in children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the use of Special Development Orders to give planning permission for inland border facilities in England meets their obligations under (1) the Aarhus Convention, and (2) the Kiev Protocol, to provide environmental information to the public.

Special Development Orders (SDOs) respect the public’s access to environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Information requests on SDOs and building the new facilities are likely to come within scope of the EIRs, as would most construction-related issues. This applies to requests and proactive disclosure.

The use of SDOs is provided for under The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020. There is a provision in the Order for proactive disclosure of information to, and engagement with, a number of interested parties. The Order does not disapply measures such as EIRs or Freedom of Information Act that implement our Aarhus Convention obligations with regards access to information. Most requests for information on planning will fall within the scope of the EIRs, and thus the relevant parts of Aarhus: Articles 2, 4, 5 and 9. These are the definition of environmental information, handling requests for environmental information, proactive publication of environmental information, and the appeals process where the requester is not content with the response from the public authority.

There are two main routes for the information generated to be covered by the definition in regulation 2(1) of the EIRs:

  1. The planning rules (and any adjustment to them through this Order) are measures and legislation under regulation 2(1)(c) that will impact upon the land and landscape under regulation 2(1)(a). Implementing the order will result in building works; breaking the ground for the new building, digging up the road to extend infrastructure, destruction of habitats, and the generation of waste and emissions. Other elements of the environment, such as air, water and biological diversity, may also be affected by the works permitted by the Order.

  1. The second route is more direct: the construction works will be an activity under regulation 2(1)(c) that affect the land, landscape and the other elements of the environment in regulation 2(1)(a), as in point 1 above.

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)) Regulations 2017(8) state that EIA developments (which are not subjected to the SDO orders rules) must be subjected to an EIA. This must be submitted before the relevant planning authority, the Secretary of State or an inspector in order to grant planning permission. The EIA and screening procedures determine whether the development is likely to have significant environmental effects, along with the Environmental Statement applications. These are accompanied by publicity requirements such as public consultations and publication of environmental information prior to the decision of the relevant authority.

Finally, the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) is an inventory of pollution from industrial sites and other sources, and the Kiev Protocol requires that this information is publicly accessible. The UK maintains a publicly accessible national PRTR that enables the public to have access to environmental information concerning the activities listed in Annex 1 of the Protocol.

The UK remains committed to the objectives of the PRTR, both domestically and internationally, and continues to monitor its implementation of the Protocol.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding they have provided to those researching the gender impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics and Public Health England are government-funded bodies that are conducting research and analysis to understand gender impacts of COVID-19. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is also funding work in this area, such as adapting existing longitudinal studies to cover covid impacts, and running an open call for research proposals on covid-19. In addition, the Government Equalities Office has commissioned a survey under its existing Gender and Behavioural Insights research programme to measure the impact of the changes in the uptake of flexible working on gender equality within households and the workplace.

7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what errors, if any, have been identified in the Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement with Ukraine; and what is the status of that agreement until any errors have been rectified.

The United Kingdom-Ukraine Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement is in force and operating effectively. It is standard practice for agreements to be amended, corrected or updated over time, depending upon individual circumstances. However, there are no plans for a wholesale reopening of the agreement.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of each of the continuity trade agreements that they have signed since leaving the EU on their plans for freeports and, in particular, the tariffs paid by companies based in freeports.

There is ongoing analysis on the benefits arising from freeports; the outcomes of this will shape how British businesses, including those utilising preferences as a result of the United Kingdom’s signed continuity agreements, can best make use of the opportunities that freeports create.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the likely availability of lithium in 2030, and (2) the likely price of lithium on the world market in 2030.

HM Government has conducted an assessment of critical mineral supply chains, including lithium, and is considering a range of options to secure a resilient critical minerals supply.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last met the Director of the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the impact on businesses of changes to export and import arrangements which will be required following the end of the transition period in December.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) engages regularly with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on a range of trade issues, including arrangements for business in the post-transition period. Along with other cross-cutting business representative groups CBI senior leaders have met with DIT Ministers to discuss business trade priorities since the creation of the Department in 2016. CBI is a member of DIT’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG) and the Export Trade Advisory Groups (ETAG) for customs, investment and trade for development; CBI is also an established partner and supporter of DIT’s Exporting is GREAT campaign

On 6 April, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade had a call with CBI’s Director General, Carolyn Fairbairn, in which they discussed DIT’s key priorities as an independent trading nation. These included the UK Global Tariff, preparations for Free Trade Agreements, the Trade Remedies Authority and looking at the future of trade post-C19 and the future of supply chains. The latter covered DIT’s export and investment strategies which will support UK exporters and provide stimulus to UK business and trade.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Highways England regarding the (1) ecological, (2) environmental, and (3) heritage, impact of the proposed infilling of Barcombe Bridge in East Sussex; what alternatives have been considered to infilling; and why is the infilling being progressed using development powers rather than a planning application.

There are no current plans to infill Barcombe Bridge. All infilling and demolition work on the Historical Railways Estate, including Barcombe Bridge, has been paused while National Highways review their programme and seek additional input through the newly created Stakeholder Advisory Forum.

National Highways will fully consult the Local Planning Authority at an appropriate official level irrespective of whether or not Permitted Development Rights already exist. These discussions would be documented prior to the commencement of any proposed works.

National Highways has been engaging with Transport for the South East, Lewes and Eastbourne District Council and East Sussex County Council over the safe maintenance of the bridge. Specific engagement with Lewes and Eastbourne District Council has occurred over the past 18 months and is ongoing.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what speed restrictions apply to cyclists in 20 mile per hour zones; and what is their policy on ensuring all road users observe speed limits, whatever their mode of transport.

Speed limits are designed for motor vehicles, and do not apply to cyclists.

Enforcement of speed limits is for the police. Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners are operationally independent and how roads policing is undertaken, and available resources are deployed, is the responsibility of individual chief officers, taking into account the specific local circumstances.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that (1) the Civil Aviation Authority, and (2) the Department for Transport, will be able to exercise independent judgement in relation to the functions they are scheduled to assume from the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) provides a range of advice across a number of aviation subjects and domains. The CAA’s Environmental Research and Consultancy Department already produces independent noise advice for many stakeholders and the creation of a new Environmental Panel will give access to greater levels of technical capability and transparency around that advice. Decisions about aviation noise policy will, as they always have, remain with the Government.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to instruct Train Operating Companies to restore services and facilities (1) cut, or (2) reduced, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to reflect the increasing numbers of passengers using the remaining services; and when they intend to issue any such instructions.

The industry continues to adjust service levels to anticipate changes in passenger demand, which is currently at around 60 per cent of pre-COVID journeys. Train operating companies are already providing approximately 85 per cent of pre-pandemic service levels. We are working closely with operators and Network Rail to ensure that service levels remain appropriate to expected demand, whilst prioritising the good performance passengers need, and delivering good value for the taxpayer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their reasons for abolishing the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise; what assessment they have made of its ability to demonstrate its worth during the COVID-19 pandemic; and, in any such assessment, whether they considered that more time may be needed for it to demonstrate its worth given the circumstances of the pandemic.

The independent review of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN), commissioned by the Department, found that ICCAN’s functions were essential, but that other models of delivery could be considered to deliver the functions more effectively. The review took into account the circumstances of the pandemic.

Having considered other models, the Government has decided that the majority of ICCAN’s functions could be done more effectively by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In particular, the CAA’s wider environmental and airspace responsibilities make it a more natural fit to ensure that noise advice forms part of wider considerations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the regulations governing the provision of Blue Badges allow for badges to be given to drivers caring for people with autism; and if not, whether they will consider amending the regulations to give badges to drivers caring for people with autism.

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of parking concessions for people with a range of disabilities and medical conditions to enable them to park closer to the places they wish to visit.

If an individual is eligible for a badge then the carer can use it when accompanying the badge holder, carers do not need a badge in their own right. The regulations governing the Scheme do not allow carers to take advantage of the parking benefits provided under the Scheme unless the badge holder is travelling with them. The Department has no plans to amend the legislation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the funding allocated to their current roads programme is for (1) building new roads, or (2) substantial road improvement schemes.

The Government has made £27.504 billion available to National Highways (formerly Highways England) from 2020 to 2025 for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). Around half of this is for major infrastructure enhancement schemes, the majority of which are for enhancements to existing roads rather than building new ones.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a requirement that ‘fitness to drive’ assessments to (1) renew, or (2) obtain a new, driver’s licence, are signed by a medical professional with access to the driver’s full medical history.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency already recommends that drivers who need to submit a medical report with a licence application or renewal should obtain this from a doctor with access to their medical records. However, this is not compulsory and to make it a requirement may have impacts on drivers and the transport industry in terms of time and costs. When conducting medical investigations, the DVLA will write to the driver’s GP or consultant if further medical information is required. There are no plans to change the existing arrangements.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Highways England about their work at Great Musgrave Bridge in Cumbria on why weight restrictions and repointing were not considered as an alternative to infilling; and what assessment they have made the cost of removing the infilling if retrospective planning permission is not granted.

The Department for Transport approved the works at Great Musgrave after being advised by Highways England that urgent action was needed on the grounds of public safety. This urgent need to act was due to the structure of the Great Musgrave bridge being weak and liable to cause the bridge deck to fall suddenly. The bridge was deteriorating, and no weight restriction was in place, meaning it could be used by vehicles of any weight; weight restrictions on bridges are the responsibility of the Local Highway Authority. A bridge assessment completed in 1998 confirmed that the bridge had a 17-tonne capacity, but no weight restrictions by the Local Highway Authority have been implemented.

The support provided by infilling removes the risk that the bridge deck will fall and means a weight limit is no longer required and the bridge will remain safe for everyone who wishes to use it.

Alternatives to infilling any bridge are assessed on a case-by-case basis and depend on the specific structure and the requirements for access being retained.

In the case of Great Musgrave, the aspiration locally is to re-open the route for use as a heritage railway line going under the bridge; it is not expected that this location would be used for a cycling and walking route. Before a heritage railway could be established, there are land ownership issues to be resolved and a replacement river bridge over the River Eden would need to be constructed.

The potential cost of removing the infilling depends on what is done with the fill material. If the fill material is disposed of offsite the estimated cost is £30,000. If it can be re-used to form a walking path, then it is more likely to be £10,000.

Removing the infill would then require appropriate protection and strengthening work for the bridge, which is dependent on the required use. For a heritage railway to be established under the bridge, not only would the bridge need strengthening, but excavation works would likely be required to ensure there is sufficient clearance.

The infill was carried after written confirmation from the Local Planning Authority was received that the works are classed as Permitted Development. Despite this, Highways England has agreed with the Local Planning Authority to submit formal retrospective planning application at the appropriate time.

The infill material will be covered with soil and seeded with grass and have the appearance of a grass embankment when completed; this will be similar in appearance to other projects, such as those at Tadcaster and Lochaber.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the effectiveness of the Masonry Arch Repair and Strengthening (MARS) system as a potential alternative to the infilling of railway bridges deemed unsafe by Highways England; and whether, as part of any such assessment, they have estimated the total (1) cost, and (2) reduction in carbon emissions, of adopting this approach instead of infilling.

The Masonry Arch Repair and Strengthening (MARS) system is one of a range of treatments which is considered for the delivery of our maintenance of the Historical Railway Estate (HRE). It is a system that is suitable for strengthening and reinforcing masonry arches. However, given the type of structures that comprise the HRE, it can only be considered for a small number of arched structures. It should be noted that MARS is just one proprietary system and other systems are used where appropriate to undertake repairs on the HRE, examples include Shankend viaduct and Queensbury Tunnel.

It was considered as a treatment at Great Musgrave. However, Highways England’s assessment found that while initial costs were estimated to be lower than infilling (approximately £100,000 for MARS versus £125,000 for infilling), it would take longer to install MARS. Using the MARS system would also require much more follow up maintenance resulting in additional future costs. Those costs are estimated to be ongoing maintenance every 20 years costing approximately £15,000, major refurbishment every 60 years costing approximately £100,000, plus costs for detailed examinations every 6 years costing approximately £1,500. These additional costs do not apply for infilling, representing better value for money.

The carbon cost of the MARS system is difficult to estimate and compare. The steel used in the MARS system would have to be manufactured and transported to site, most of which usually comes from outside of the United Kingdom. The carbon costs would be far greater than sourcing fill material from a local quarry, although it is accepted that this carbon cost comparison does not take account of the fact that infilling might prevent use for cycling and walking unless an alternative route were provided.

At certain sites Highways England (HE) has partially infilled and provided an access for either active travel or heritage railways, for example three bridges in Cumbia on the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith branch for a heritage railway and in North Ayrshire on Route 73 of the National Cycle Network. Infilling whilst maintaining access is approximately 50% more expensive than infilling alone and requires ongoing maintenance and inspection costs. Where HE has completed this type of work it is on structures with existing or committed active travel routes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to undertake works to mitigate the impact of lighting at the Sevington Inland Border facility.

In response to residents’ concerns, the Department commissioned a detailed lighting survey. This confirmed that site lighting is within recommended levels. However, the survey identified several potential improvements which are being implemented as a priority. These include checking and reducing luminance levels, installing baffles, and checking the angle of lighting. In addition, lighting in the north west and south east parking areas – which are not currently in use- has been switched off. The Department is exploring additional lighting controls providing dimming options tailored to operational activity, and the height of the columns. These improvements will be considered alongside the need to maintain a safe level of lighting for the site to operate 24/7.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what public surveys, if any, they have undertaken on (1) the mandatory use of face coverings on public transport, and (2) the impact a change to a voluntary approach may have on (a) public confidence in the safety of public transport, and (2) demand for public transport.

The Department for Transport has commissioned surveys on travel behaviour, attitudes and social impacts of COVID-19. These surveys are part of the Department’s All Change? study and include questions on perceptions of face covering use on public transport, public transport confidence and travel intentions. Reports of findings are published on gov.uk.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent comments by Sir Howard Davies on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the need for a third runway at Heathrow; and what plans they have to ask Sir Howard to re-examine the case for a third runway at Heathrow taking into account the impact of (1) changed business practices, (2) greater use of IT on the demand for business travel, and (3) their decision to include aviation emissions in the UK’s (a) carbon budget, and (b) net zero emissions target.

The Government have always been clear that Heathrow expansion remains a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers.

The Government will soon be consulting on our ambitious plans to decarbonise aviation in the run up to COP26, setting out how the sector will achieve ‘jet zero’ by 2050.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why meetings arranged with relevant councils in Kent on the planned White Cliffs Inland Border Facility have been cancelled; why no such meetings on this planned facility have been held since March; and why the reasons for the cancellation of these meetings have not been explained to local residents and councillors.

Engagement has continued with local representative on White Cliffs. Some specific meetings have been cancelled or postponed, due, for instance, to the normal rules on public engagements in a pre-election period.

Activities on the White Cliffs project have, in any case, slowed down because of a Cabinet Office-led review of the Inland Border Facilities in Kent to ensure that modelling and costings were fully explored for any option. We delayed holding a further meeting until there was a substantive update to provide to stakeholders with.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of light pollution from the Sevington inland border facility; and whether they plan to reduce the size of this facility given its levels of use.

The Department for Transport is aware of concerns raised about the level of lighting at Sevington IBF and has acted to minimise disturbance by turning off the lights in one of the contingency parking areas in the south-east of the site. The Department will be switching off the lighting in the second contingency parking area in the north-west of the site by the end of June. Additionally, we have commissioned a detailed lighting survey to better understand the issue. Once concluded, we will evaluate the findings and recommendations from the survey, and we’ll share an action plan with the immediate affected residents.

The Sevington site operates on a 24/7 basis with lighting required throughout the night to ensure the site operates safely.

There is no intention to reduce the physical size of the facility, but the business-as-usual operational capacity of the site will reduce. As part of this, the Department will be suspending the use of the two overflow areas from 1st July. However, these areas remain available for contingency traffic management measures should they be required by the Kent Resilience Forum.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of drivers available for the logistics industry; what steps they are taking to address any shortage of such drivers; and what plans they have to improve the supply of trained technicians and mechanics able to work on heavy goods vehicles.

The labour shortages in the sector are longstanding.

We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that jobseekers can find employment or training in the industry as quickly as possible.

We are also working with the Department for Education in supporting the logistics sector make the most of the opportunities provided through the apprenticeship levy.

There is a range of Government backed apprenticeships, delivered by training providers and manufacturers, encouraging training of technicians and mechanics to work on heavy goods vehicles.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Mitigating the Climate Forcing of Aircraft Contrails by Small-Scale Diversions and Technology Adoption, published on 12 February 2020, which found a beneficial impact of altering the altitudes of some aircraft to reduce the impact of contrails on solar radiation; and whether this will affect their approach to airspace management.

The Government has made no specific assessment of the particular study referred to but takes all relevant information into account in its policy decisions.

We will be shortly consulting on a Net Zero Aviation Strategy which will set out the steps to reach net zero carbon emissions from aviation by 2050. The consultation will also consider non-CO2 emissions and highlight the uncertainty that currently exists regarding the impact that non-CO2 emissions, and contrails specifically, could have on the climate. We recognise that more work will need to be done to address this uncertainty and will continue to ensure that the latest scientific understanding of aviation non-CO2 effects is used to inform our policy.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact predicted shortages of construction products at the end of the year will have on the (1) progress, and (2) costs, of the construction of HS2.

The availability of construction materials and the price of commodities is regularly reviewed by HS2 Ltd and DfT. Their latest assessments do not predict an impact on the cost and schedule ranges as published in the March 2021 Parliamentary Report.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the findings of the Williams Rail Review.

The government is committed to bringing forward vital sector-wide reforms and commissioned Keith Williams to carry out the first root and branch review of the rail industry in a generation. The Williams Rail Review was in its final stages at the outbreak of Covid-19 and was then extended to ensure that its conclusions were appropriate in the light of the ongoing pandemic. The reforms are as important as ever and the government intends on publishing a White Paper with details of its plans for rail reform soon.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the results of the trial of single leg pricing on the East Coast main line.

On 2 January 2020 we launched a single leg pricing trial on LNER routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Due to the pandemic, passenger numbers fell to 5% of usual demand. Once demand recovers and further data is collected, the trial will be evaluated and those findings used to inform the development of wider plans for improving fares.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to review existing plans by Highways England to demolish historic rail bridges and tunnels; and whether they have plans to instruct Highways England to prioritise measures that encourage walking and cycling.

Highways England manages the Historical Railways Estate on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and has been in touch with all the local authorities affected, to advise them of its plans, and to see if they have any use for the structures. Highways England is pausing works where local authorities have raised queries about the works, and where there is credible interest for possible re-purposing and transfer of ownership of the assets.

The Department has also asked Highways England to consult with the relevant local authorities concerning the retention, where practicable, of access for pedestrians and cyclists. Highways England continues to work with local authorities and other groups to protect routes for active travel or future rail use. Indeed, several structures are being transferred this year to assist with this.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their decision to alter the grant scheme for plug-in electric vehicles, announced on 18 March, on demand for electric vehicles from (1) private individuals, and (2) fleet purchasers; and what further financial encouragement they intend to provide to fleet purchasers in order to meet the Government's targets for ending sales of petrol and diesel cars.

We signalled our intention to manage an exit from the plug-in car grant in our Road to Zero Strategy, published in 2018, and transition to support through other measures. As the market has developed, we have changed our criteria to focus the plug-in car grant on vehicles, which have the greatest impact on reducing carbon emissions.

In March 2020, the Government extended the plug-in vehicle grant schemes for another three years to 2022/23. For cars, the grant rate is being reduced from £3,000 to £2,500 per car, allowing the funding to last longer and make it available to 20% more drivers, with the cap reducing from £50,000 to £35,000.  The increasing choice of new vehicles, growing demand from customers and the rapidly rising number of chargepoints, means we are today, re-focusing our vehicle grants on the more affordable zero emission vehicles – where most consumers will be looking and where taxpayers’ money will make more of a difference.

Although the market is at an early stage, demand for zero emission vans increased substantially in 2020, with increased interest from commercial fleets. We expect this trend to continue as more models are brought to market and supply increases. Since the grant scheme was launched in 2012, it has since supported over 15,000 electric vans and HGVs across the UK. There are now more than 20 models eligible for the grant and this continues to increase.

The Government has pledged a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles including £1.3 billion for charging infrastructure, £582 million for vehicle grants and up to £1 billion to help secure the transformation of the automotive sector by developing and embedding the next generation of automotive technologies in the UK. We keep our policies and grant rates under review and will monitor the market closely, to ensure the grant remains an effective incentive and good value for money for the taxpayer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish their national bus strategy; and whether, and if so when, they plan to provide funding for the manufacture and purchase of zero emission buses.

The National Bus Strategy for England was published on Monday 15 March.

As set out in Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister last year.

Together with existing funding for the All-Electric Bus Town or City Government funding could support the purchase of 800 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

Further details on how the £120 million funding will be distributed will be announced in the spring.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a consultation on mechanisms to support (1) the development, and (2) the uptake, of sustainable aviation fuels; and when they plan to launch any such consultation.

The Government is committed to supporting the development and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the UK. SAF supply is currently rewarded under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), and £20m has been made available to support the development of SAF and HGV fuel projects under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition.

In addition, as set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan speech to Build Back Greener, the Government has announced measures designed to support SAF further; these include £15m for a new SAF industry competition, £3m to set up a SAF clearing house and a commitment to consult on a SAF blending mandate.

Work has already begun to explore how a mandate may work in practice and it is expected that a consultation will be published later this year. In addition, we are continuing to analyse the need for further demand-side measures and business models that address price risk.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the provision of freight services by charter airlines based in the UK.

The new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) does not place any restriction on air services between points in the UK and points in the EU. Therefore, UK airlines can operate all-cargo services without limitation between the UK and the EU.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the next (1) Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline, and (2) Integrated Rail Plan.

We continue to develop and deliver rail enhancement schemes under the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, using the significant funding provided to the railway. We have confirmed that we intend to publish this in a new Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline Update and will do so as soon as possible.

We intend to publish the IRP this spring

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish a revised summary of payments made to passenger rail operators under emergency measures agreements since September 2020.

Work on the publication is nearing completion and it is expected to be released shortly.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide the Civil Aviation Authority with increased powers, including the ability to issue fines, to tackle problems faced by consumers in obtaining refunds on booked flights following travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government is considering the Civil Aviation Authority’s enforcement powers to strengthen consumer protections. The Competition and Markets Authority are reviewing airlines’ handling of refunds to consumers during the pandemic.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the rules on how airlines hold customer payments so that payments cannot be accessed by the airlines until the flight takes place.

The Government is keeping under review the scope and timing of any future reforms in this policy area. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges, and we will work with the regulator and industry to learn lessons and make changes that are pragmatic and deliverable.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a review of aviation policy following the COVID-19 pandemic; and if any such review will include taxation of aviation.

As announced on 22 February 2021, as part of the roadmap for the phased lifting of restrictions in England, the Secretary of State for Transport will now lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater international travel when the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants.

In addition, the Government is developing a strategic framework on the recovery of the aviation sector, in response to the impact presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has recently confirmed that the consultation on aviation tax reform, announced at Budget 2020, will be published in Spring 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what steps they are taking following the 2019 consultation on the future of aviation.

The 2019 consultation on the Future of Aviation took place before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the impact presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is developing a new forward looking strategic framework which will focus on the recovery of the aviation sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, which will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues. We will also consider climate change and decarbonisation. We aim to publish this framework later this year.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the Williams Rail Review; and, if so, when.

The Government will publish a White Paper with details on the Government's plans for rail reform in due course.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the planned rail link between Oxford and Cambridge will involve electrification of the entire line; and if not, why not.

The Government is committed to decarbonisation, including delivering a net-zero carbon railway. The case for the electrification of East West Rail is being considered, which includes consideration of full electrification along the whole route, as well as options for partial electrification using battery-electric hybrid rolling stock, or hydrogen traction.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the capacity of (1) the port of Dover, and (2) the Channel Tunnel, to process lorries and other commercial vehicles on a peak day; and how they calculated that capacity.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has information on the capacity of Dover and Eurotunnel to process lorries and commercial vehicles. However, these estimates are provided by transport operators on a commercially confidential basis. DfT, therefore, does not have permission to share this information.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to launch an inquiry into whether there is any correlation between employment practices at Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices in Swansea and the number of employees in those offices who have contracted COVID-19.

The safety of staff is the top priority for the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Extensive safety measures have been put in place across the DVLA’s sites, in accordance with all relevant Welsh government advice. These include reconfiguring all sites, dividing floors into zones with no mixing of staff between zones, enhanced cleaning, social distancing, and the leasing of an additional building space, which is now in use.

The DVLA has implemented all recommendations from the local environmental health team and Public Health Wales and continues to work closely with these partners.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the outcome of their discussions with the government of France about the financial support required by Eurostar whilst restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.

Ministers and officials, working with other Government Departments, have engaged extensively with Eurostar since March 2020 in relation to their financial situation.

Commercially sensitive discussions are ongoing with both Eurostar and the French Government to consider all commercial financing options available to the company, which include drawing on existing support schemes where eligible and appropriate. As these discussions are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to say any more at this stage.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the safety of smart motorways.

On 25 January 2021, the Secretary of State held a meeting with Highways England to discuss progress on the Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan. He has asked for a report setting out progress in delivering the 18-point Action Plan and identifying actions that can be delivered early by 12 March 2021, so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many miles of railway track have been electrified since 1 January 2015; and what has been the cost per mile of that electrification.

Between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2020, 686 single track miles of railway was electrified in England and Wales. The data on cost per mile for this electrification is held by Network Rail and needs to be verified, which will take some time. The Department will write to the Noble Lady with the cost per mile figure when the verification process has concluded.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November 2020, by what date they estimate that orders for the "800 cleaner, greener, quieter zero emission buses" will need to be placed for delivery in financial year 2021/22.

As set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 the Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister last year.

Together with existing funding for the All Electric Bus Town or City, Government funding could support the purchase of 800 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

The Department is considering all funding mechanisms in delivering the first of the 4,000 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

Further details on how funding will be distributed will be announced in the spring.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November 2020, what analysis they have undertaken on how the "800 cleaner, greener, quieter zero emission buses" can be delivered in financial year 2021/22; and whether they plan to publish any such analysis.

As set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 the Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister last year.

Together with existing funding for the All Electric Bus Town or City, Government funding could support the purchase of 800 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

The Department is considering all funding mechanisms in delivering the first of the 4,000 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

Further details on how funding will be distributed will be announced in the spring.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they (1) have provided to date, and (2) plan to provide in the future, to companies providing coach services to ensure that those companies can remain in business to provide essential services once schools return to normal patterns of attendance; and what assessment they have made of the impact that the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic have had on the ability of coach companies to invest in low- or zero-emission vehicles.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has announced a range of measures available to support UK businesses, including coach operators, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

On 5 January, the Chancellor announced a further £500 million of Additional Restrictions Grant funding for businesses that are not legally required to close, but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business due to the national lockdown. Coach companies could be eligible for this package and are encouraged to contact their local authorities for more information.

Since September 2020, the Department for Education has provided more than £97 million for local transport authorities to procure additional, dedicated school and college transport capacity, including coaches. The Government has announced allocations for the first Spring half term, and these allocations will remain in place, with service levels adjusted based on local need. The Department for Education is talking to Local Transport Authorities about funding requirements for the rest of the Spring term, helping to inform future decisions on allocations.

The Government understands that the challenges created by the pandemic will have limited operators’ ability to invest in zero emission vehicles. The Government will continue to work closely with representatives from the coach sector to respond to ongoing issues caused by Covid-19 and, in the long-term, build towards a green recovery.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November 2020, how they plan to fund the “800 cleaner, greener, quieter zero emission buses" in financial year 2021/22; and when they plan to begin the procurement of such buses.

As set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 the Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister last year.

Together with existing funding for the All Electric Bus Town or City, Government funding could support the purchase of 800 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

The Department is considering all funding mechanisms in delivering the first of the 4,000 zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

Further details on how funding will be distributed will be announced in the spring.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have cut funding entirely for the smart ticketing project from Transport for the North's budget for the next financial year; and what plans they have to reinstate funding for this project in future years.

The Government is committed to levelling up every part of this country, including the North. This is reflected in the recent Spending Review, which included funding for key transport infrastructure projects and programmes in the North. The most recent allocation of core funding to Transport for the North will enable the organisation to continue to play a valuable role in delivering its statutory functions of developing a transport strategy for the region and helping the Department with prioritisation and bringing strength of partnership among members to speak to the Government with one voice. The Department will continue to work with TfN to achieve our shared ambition of world-class transport infrastructure in the region.

TfN was allocated up to £150 million at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. TfN has utilised around £24 million to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north. We are now considering how best to deliver the rollout of smart ticketing to improve passenger services across the region. Transport funding for future years will be a matter for the next Spending Review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have cut Transport for the North’s core budget for the next financial year by 40 per cent; and what assessment they have made of the impact of this cut on their levelling-up agenda.

The Government is committed to levelling up every part of this country, including the North. This is reflected in the recent Spending Review, which included funding for key transport infrastructure projects and programmes in the North. The most recent allocation of core funding to Transport for the North will enable the organisation to continue to play a valuable role in delivering its statutory functions of developing a transport strategy for the region and helping the Department with prioritisation and bringing strength of partnership among members to speak to the Government with one voice. The Department will continue to work with TfN to achieve our shared ambition of world-class transport infrastructure in the region.

TfN was allocated up to £150 million at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. TfN has utilised around £24 million to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north. We are now considering how best to deliver the rollout of smart ticketing to improve passenger services across the region. Transport funding for future years will be a matter for the next Spending Review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to announce funding to support bus services during the COVID-19 pandemic after current funding runs out at the end of March; and what plans they have to announce funding that will cover the full 2021/22 financial year.

On 8 August, the Government announced rolling funding of up to £27.3 million a week to support bus services until a time when funding is no longer needed. Government does not have defined conditions for winding down the funding, but instead will continue to work with bus operators and local authorities to review when it is appropriate to end the funding.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of providing one funding package for bus and tram services on an area rather than a modal basis.

The Government has provided separate funding packages for Bus and Light Rail services.

On 8 August, the Government announced funding at up to £27.3 million per week to support the bus sector through the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart scheme, until a time when the funding is no longer needed.

On 22 October, the Government announced up to £67.8 million of funding for light rail services in Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Sheffield, West Midlands, Nottingham and Blackpool. This includes up to £35.4 million for light rail services for the 12 weeks from 27 October and a further indicative allocation of up to £32.4 million for the 11 weeks thereafter.

Providing separate funding packages for Bus and Light Rail services has allowed the Government to respond to the specific needs of transport operators in terms of supporting essential journeys throughout the pandemic. The allocation of CBSSG funding reflects the structure of the bus market and ensures that both Local Transport Authorities and operators have the funding they need to support up to 100% of pre-pandemic service levels, where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a requirement, once possible, for air, sea and rail passengers arriving in England to have had a vaccination against COVID-19 as an alternative to such passengers being required to have a recent negative test result before entry.

The Government wants to open up international travel in a responsible and safe manner as set out in the recommendations of the Global Travel Taskforce Report, and we will continue to be guided by the science including whether COVID-19 vaccines could be used to facilitate international travel in future. We are working with partner countries on a range of issues to ensure an internationally recognised approach to enable travel.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they have provided to ensure the continued operation of Eurostar services; and whether they have provided any such support to assist with the cost of UK track access charges.

The Government has made available an unprecedented package of financial support to all sectors of the economy. The Government has been engaging closely with Eurostar since the outbreak of Covid-19 to monitor its ongoing impact, as well as supporting the company to access available support to address Eurostar’s needs, such as the coronavirus job retention scheme. It will continue to do so.

With respect to track access charges specifically, the Government does not have the ability to adjust Eurostar’s UK track access charges, as these are set by HS1 Ltd in accordance with the HS1 regulatory framework. It has also not provided specific financial support to Eurostar to address the costs of track access. However, the Government continues to work closely with both Eurostar and HS1 to support the sustainability of the HS1 system.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to launch a campaign to improve levels of public understanding of smart motorway rules.

Highways England is developing a nationally-targeted campaign to increase road user confidence on All Lane Running (ALR) motorways, including what to do in the event of a breakdown in a live lane. The campaign concept has been tested on a number of audiences. Stakeholders in the recovery and insurance industries have been engaged throughout the process and have helped to shape the campaign.

Highways England is now in the production phase of the campaign, which will launch in January 2021. The campaign will be seen widely across the country including on TV, social media and national radio to ensure maximum reach amongst the target audience.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which rail upgrade projects will be (1) cancelled, and (2) reduced in scope, as a result of the reduction in the five year rail enhancements budget.

The Spending Review confirmed that the Government will continue to support the railway, investing in ambitious improvements to modernise our railway.

In terms of impacts on individual schemes, it remains the case that no schemes have been cancelled nor formal investment decisions taken as a result of the Spending Review. We are currently working with Network Rail and Ministers to agree a new baseline for the portfolio that fits with the new funding envelope.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place with ministers from Her Majesty's Treasury since 1 July about the introduction (1) of flexible season tickets, and (2) single leg pricing, on the railways; what was the outcome of any such discussions; whether they still intend to introduce those new products; and if so, when those products will be available across the rail network.

Following the outcome of discussions between the Department for Transport and Her Majesty's Treasury, we are working closely with industry to develop a solution that offers better value and convenience for those who work flexibly. We will provide further details in due course.

There have been no discussions with HMT on single leg pricing proposals since 1 July. On 2 January 2020 we launched a single leg pricing trial on LNER routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Once demand recovers the trial will be evaluated and those findings used to inform the development of wider plans for improving fares.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide sufficient funding for bus services for the next three years to enable (1) the recovery of service patronage, and (2) the maintenance of service levels; whether they plan to devolve any such funding to local transport authorities; and if not, why not.

Following the one-year Spending Review settlement, £300 million has been allocated in 2021-22 to provide any ongoing COVID-19 support that may be required, while progressing bus reforms to deliver better services for customers. More information on how this will be spent will be released in due course.

This funding is in addition to funding paid directly to Local Authorities through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) and BSOG provided directly to commercial bus operators (this totalled over £200 million in the current financial year).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they anticipate that Travel Concession Authorities will be able to resume reimbursement of bus operators on the 'no better and no worse off' principle.

Travel Concession Authorities have been given the funding to pay bus operators at pre-COVID levels for this financial year. We are working closely with Travel Concession Authorities and operators on plans for the next financial year.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish a bus strategy.

Following the announcement at the end of October of further national restrictions, the Department for Transport took the decision to delay the publication of the National Bus Strategy until early 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the report by Transport and Environment Plug-in hybrids: Is Europe heading for a new dieselgate?, published on 22 November, that emissions from plug-in hybrid vehicles are higher in road tests than those reported by manufacturers in laboratory tests.

The Government is confident in the robustness of the regulatory emissions test procedures for plug-in hybrids. However, we acknowledge that real-world emissions of plug-in hybrids can vary according to usage profiles and the findings of the report by Transport and Environment are being carefully considered.

The Department for Transport’s Market Surveillance Unit conducts its own impartial testing of vehicle emissions, including of plug-in hybrid vehicles in real-world conditions, and analysis of these results will inform our view of whether any future improvements to regulatory emissions tests are required.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on UK carbon emissions if a substantial number of travellers switched from using trains to aviation services.

The Department has made no such assessment. Rail is a comparatively green mode of transport, accounting for ten per cent of all miles travelled in the UK but less than 1.4% of UK transport greenhouse gas emissions, and the railway is continuing to become greener as we decarbonise the network. At the same time, we are working hard to decarbonise our aviation sector. The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution included funding to support aviation fuels and zero emission aviation, and earlier this year the Transport and Business Secretaries launched the Jet Zero Council to accelerate action.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the business rates relief granted to airports on competition between airlines and Eurostar; and what, if any, assistance they plan to provide to Eurostar to enable them to compete on equal terms.

During the Covid-19 response, the Government has provided unprecedented financial support that has been made available to all sectors of the economy.

On 24 November, the Department announced a financial support scheme to support eligible commercial airport and ground handling businesses by reducing cash burn, enabling businesses to unlock shareholder and lender support. Eligible businesses will be able to apply to the scheme from early 2021. Further details will be published shortly.

The Government has been engaging closely with Eurostar since the outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year to monitor its ongoing impact and support the company to access available support to address its particular needs, where appropriate, and will continue to do so.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to allow solo Compulsory Basic Training and other motorcycle rider training to recommence; and what assessment they have made of the impact that the cessation of this training has had on employment prospects for those wishing to find work in the delivery sector.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives it is vital that compulsory basic training (CBT) instructors respect the national restrictions in England, reduce day-to-day contact with others, and not carry out rider training until the Government’s national restrictions end on Thursday 3 December.

The DVSA estimates that 10,000 – 12,000 learner riders may be affected by the suspension of training during the current national restrictions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what process they are following for procurement of the zero carbon buses to be manufactured in the UK, as announced in February; how many such buses have been ordered so far; and which companies will be supplying them.

The Government is committed to delivering at least 4,000 zero emission buses. Further details, including how funding will be distributed, will be announced after the Spending Review has concluded.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have delayed the production of a handbook for freight drivers using UK ports; if so, why; when this handbook will be ready for distribution; in how many languages it will be available; and what steps they are taking to ensure it is written in accessible language.

The haulier handbook is only one part of a wider package the Government has put in place to help and guide hauliers, which also includes the rollout of 45 Information and Advice Sites and a multimillion pound information campaign, running across the UK and Europe.

We are progressing work on the handbook at pace, and plan to publish it to coincide with this month’s full opening of the Information and Advice Sites.

The handbook explains complex procedures that hauliers and drivers will need to follow. We have worked with stakeholders to make it as clear as possible. Both Logistics UK and RHA have reviewed drafts of the handbook and tested the content with their members. This has lengthened the development time of the handbook, but it will help ensure that the document meets the needs of hauliers and drivers.

Much of the DfT element of this content has been available separately on GOV.UK for some time; as such hauliers have not had to wait for the handbook to get the DfT information.

We keep all our guidance under constant review, so we can improve it based on feedback from users.

The Haulier Handbook will be available in 14 languages including, Welsh, Romanian, Polish, Dutch, Bulgarian, French and Spanish.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government where they intend to designate land for additional parking for freight vehicles using the port of Holyhead for ferries to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This matter is an area of devolved competence and therefore the responsibility of the Welsh Government. The Department for Transport is engaging with officials in Wales and the other Devolved Administrations on traffic management and border readiness plans to share thinking and offer support as required.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in providing support for electric bus services, what assessment they have made of (1) the infrastructure required for (a) battery electric buses, and (b) hydrogen electric buses, and (2) the impact such infrastructure may have on the number of buses that can be parked in existing depots.

The Government is committed to delivering at least 4,000 zero emission buses. As part of work to deliver on this commitment the Government is considering how best to provide support for the infrastructure associated with zero emission buses. Further details will be announced after the Spending Review has concluded.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress made by the port of Shoreham in switching to environmentally friendly and zero-carbon sources of power; and what steps they plan to take to encourage other ports to switch to low-carbon ways of working.

The Department for Transport welcomes the work Shoreham Port is undertaking to deliver both air quality improvements and decarbonisation, as well as the Port’s wider work on renewable energy and adoption of ECO Port status. The efforts being made in Shoreham underline that practical steps can be taken to reduce emissions from ports today.

The Department has highlighted the need to decarbonise our ports in line with our Net Zero 2050 commitment in the 2019 Clean Maritime Plan, and we intend to build on this work for both ports and shipping in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which we expect to publish in Spring 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings by Which? that British Airways and Easyjet had required customers to accept vouchers rather than refunds when they were unable to fly because of COVID-19 restrictions; and what steps they intend to take to ensure that those airlines adopt procedures that make it easy for customers to claim refunds.

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers on the issue of refunds, while recognising the challenges businesses are facing.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Ryanair about the continuation of flights whilst the national lockdown is in effect; and what steps they are taking to ensure that customers who are unable to fly as a result of the national lockdown receive full and prompt refunds from that airline.

The Department engages with a number of airlines on a variety of issues; however whether an airline operates a flight or not is ultimately a commercial decision.

The Government has been clear that where a flight has been cancelled consumers are entitled to a refund and that refund must be paid. The Department and the regulator are working with industry on the policy and practices of airlines with respect to consumer refunds.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to (1) review, and (2) strengthen, the Civil Aviation Authority's powers to issue fines and other penalties against airlines which fail to meet legal requirements in providing refunds to customers in specified time limits.

The CAA has full powers to legally enforce compliance of the airline obligations to refund customers for cancelled flights. The Government will review the CAA’s powers in due course to ensure they are fit for purpose for the sector in the future.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the level of road traffic across England in the first two weeks of October (1) this year, and (2) in 2019; and what estimate they have made of the percentage of workers in England who returned to work in offices and other regular places of work in those two weeks this year rather than working from home.

To monitor the use of the transport system during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department publishes ‘Transport use by mode: Great Britain’ on a weekly basis. This includes an estimate of the change in traffic on Great Britain’s roads. The table below provides (1) the daily estimates for the first two weeks of October 2020. The figures are presented as a percentage of the road traffic on the same day of the week in the first week of February 2020. (2) Equivalent figures are not available for 2019.

The Office for National Statistics publishes ‘Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain’ on a weekly basis. The second table below presents the statistics on the percentage of working adults by location of work for the first weeks of October 2020.

Table A: Road traffic use as a percentage of the equivalent day in the first week of February 2020: Great Britain1

Date1

Cars

Light Commercial Vehicles

Heavy Goods Vehicles

All motor vehicles

01/10/2020

86%

98%

105%

89%

02/10/2020

87%

99%

102%

90%

03/10/2020

85%

100%

111%

87%

04/10/2020

86%

102%

116%

89%

05/10/2020

86%

103%

106%

91%

06/10/2020

84%

100%

105%

88%

07/10/2020

86%

101%

106%

90%

08/10/2020

84%

98%

104%

88%

09/10/2020

88%

100%

104%

91%

10/10/2020

91%

107%

114%

94%

11/10/2020

94%

113%

122%

98%

12/10/2020

85%

102%

106%

89%

13/10/2020

83%

100%

105%

88%

14/10/2020

84%

99%

106%

88%

15/10/2020

84%

99%

104%

88%

16/10/2020

88%

101%

104%

91%

Source: DfT Transport use by mode, Great Britain

1. Although daily data is being reported, direct comparisons of change should not be made between weekdays and weekends/bank holidays. For road traffic there is a different profile on weekend days compared to weekdays.

Table B: Proportion of working adults1 in Great Britain by location of work

30 Sept to 4 Oct

7 Oct to 11 Oct

14 Oct to 18 Oct

Both worked from home and travelled to work

14%

11%

11%

Travelled to work only

48%

54%

49%

Worked from home only

22%

23%

25%

Neither worked from home nor travelled to work – furloughed 2

2%

1%

1%

Neither worked from home nor travelled to work – other 3

15%

11%

14%

Source: ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, Great Britain

1. Base population for percentage: working adults. The working adult population is those that said they had a paid job, either as an employee or self-employed; or they did any casual work for payment; or they did any unpaid or voluntary work in the previous week.

2. Caution should be used when interpreting the furlough response categories as this is not a labour force survey. Official estimates on the levels of furloughing are available in 'Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society'.

3. The main reasons for respondents neither working from home nor travelling to work (other) in the past 7 days include temporary closure of business or workplace, on annual leave or sick leave, variable hours, being on maternity or paternity leave or being unable to work because of caring responsibilities.

4. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have achieved their target, set in 2015, to create 30,000 apprenticeships in the transport sector; if not, why not; and what fresh initiatives they are planning to create more apprenticeships.

In 2016 the Government set ambitions through the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy to increase apprenticeships in road and rail client bodies to help address skills shortages in the transport sector and ensure that the transport sector has the capacity and capability to deliver planned investment. The target to create 30000 apprenticeships was deliberately set at an ambitious level to encourage bold action from industry. Whilst the target was not met, significant progress has been made during this time to embed apprenticeships as the recognised way of getting skilled individuals into the transport industry. It is a mark of the growing recognition for apprenticeships that the number of apprenticeships has grown steadily since this target was set.

The Department is committed to ensuring that the transport industry continues to support the creation of high quality apprenticeships, and in the recent Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) annual report, we committed to updating the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy in early 2021 to reflect current challenges and priorities. We recognise that this is more important than ever in this challenging economic climate.

We will continue to work with the Department for Education to ensure that its Adult Education policy and FE reform proposals reflect the needs of the transport industry, and that employers are able to continue to take on apprentices to deliver our ambitious plans to build the transport infrastructure of the future.

We will also support transport employers to take advantage of broader training and employment offers, particularly those that support young people into employment opportunities that may lead to apprenticeships, such as DWP’s Kickstart scheme.

We will continue to work with industry partners on schemes such as Engineering UK’s Code of Practice, to ensure that transport apprenticeships and careers are available and accessible to people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

We are exploring what more can be done through contractual and procurement levers to encourage the supply chain to continue to invest in apprentices and other skills and training initiatives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vehicles are (1) in the Department for Transport (DfT) fleet, and (2) in the fleets of those agencies that report to the DfT and otherwise operate under its authority: and how many of those vehicles, in each such organisation, are (a) fully electric, and (b) hybrid.

The Department for Transport (DfT) consists of a Central Department and 4 Executive Agencies.

The DfT as a whole has 1,860 vehicles in total consisting of:

  • 156 ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV) of which:

o 22 are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV); and

o 134 are plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) or mild hybrid;

  • 43 petrol vehicles;
  • 1,326 diesel vehicles; and
  • 335 motorbikes/ specialist LCV.

Please see the table below for the full breakdown of vehicles by Agency and type (please note the Government Car Service operates under the central department).

DfT organisation

Total no. vehicles

BEV

Hybrid

Petrol

Diesel

Other

Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA)

32

2

9

0

21

0

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

1220

1

97

8

779

335 motorbikes/ specialist LCVs

Government Car Service

92

18

26

28

20

0

Maritime & Coast Guard Agency (MCA)

510

0

0

7

503

0

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

6

1

2

0

3

0

Totals

1,860

22

134

43

1326

335

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the levels of transport emissions in London in the each of the last three months, compared with levels in the same months of 2019; and what assessment they have made of the impact of those emissions on health.

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.

The Mayor carries out monitoring of air quality in London and London has its own air quality monitoring network (the London Air Quality Network) which is run by Imperial College and contains more detailed monitoring than any carried out at a national level.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) national air quality monitoring network provides continuous measurements of a range of pollutants across the UK. This network includes five roadside sites in London and the data is made available online on Defra’s UK-Air website.

We know that air pollution is a major public health risk and poses the single greatest environmental risk to human health, which my Department is addressing through its Clean Air Strategy and the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Defra have not carried out any specific assessment on the health impacts of air quality in London over the last 3 months.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the letter sent by Baroness Vere of Norbiton to Transport for London (TfL) on 31 July, whether the suspension of free travel for 11 to 17 year olds in London, as a condition of Government financial support for TfL during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been implemented; if not, why not; and what plans they have to insist upon that suspension as a condition of funding.

The Government agreed a further finance package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of essential services.

This deal is clear that while the national tax payer will continue to fund free travel to school for children who qualify under national legislation, if the Mayor wishes to maintain free travel for all under 18’s, over and above the English baseline, he must raise the money to pay for this.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the outcome of the Williams Rail Review.

The Government is committed to bringing forward vital sector-wide reforms and commissioned Keith Williams to carry out the first root and branch review of the rail industry in a generation. The Review was in its final stages at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and we continue to examine a range of options to reform the railways. The Government will publish a White Paper with details on the Government's plans for rail reform once the course of the pandemic becomes clearer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of procedures being followed by train operating companies (1) to train new drivers; and (2) to refresh the training of existing drivers, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the initial outbreak of COVID-19, training of new drivers was halted. Subsequently, train driver training agreements have been made with the train drivers’ trade union ASLEF and the train operating companies to enable training to re-start in a COVID secure way. This agreement covers both in-cab practical training of new drivers and the on-going training of existing drivers for route and traction control training purposes. The Department is not directly involved in assessing these procedures at it is a matter for the employers and the recognised trade unions to discuss and agree.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have made decisions on the frequency of train services since taking over financial responsibility for each rail franchise; and how they intend to make decisions on the future pattern of services in the event of economic recovery.

The Government and the rail industry revised the train timetable to ensure passengers received a regular and reliable service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We took early action to stabilise the industry, which enabled the continued operation of critical passenger and freight services. From 7 September, the railway has been operating at 91 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity, providing frequent and reliable trains for passengers. Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly and deliver the services passengers need. We will continue to work closely with industry to make sure we strike the right balance between running the maximum levels of service that can be resourced reliably and protecting taxpayers’ best interests.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are now responsible for making decisions on the conditions applying to refunds requested for cancelled or delayed train journeys.

The conditions that apply to refunds requested for cancelled or delayed train journeys have not changed and continue to be as described in the National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCoT), which sets out the general terms and conditions for rail tickets sold in Great Britain. The NRCoT is a rail industry owned document but any changes must be approved by the Secretary of State.

As per condition 30.1 of the NRCoT, if a train on which a passenger is scheduled to travel is cancelled, delayed, or the reservation will not be honoured, and they decide not to travel, they may return the unused ticket to the original retailer or train company from whom it was purchased, where they will be given a full refund with no administration fee being charged.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent estimate they have made of the increase in air traffic over the next (1) 10 years, (2) 20 years, and (3) 30 years; what sources of information were used as the basis for any such forecasts; and what plans they have to revise those forecasts further to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘UK Aviation Forecasts 2017’ is still our latest forecast. Its aim is to provide a strategic longer-term, instead of short-term, view on demand growth over the next few decades.

The current level of uncertainty makes the production of a new long-term forecast unfeasible at present. For the shorter term, we are proactivity monitoring the current/evolving situation and engaging regularly with the industry on their forecasts and will consider updates to the long term model when it is practical to do so.

Observed UK aviation passenger and Air Transport Movement demand is based primarily on data from the Civil Aviation Authority. The forecast of this demand is determined by key drivers, such as GDP and fares, and the estimated relationships between such drivers and passenger demand. Detailed information can be found in the published UK Aviation Forecasts 2017 on DfT’s website.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of occasions where airlines have chosen to operate a flight contrary to Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice in each of the last five years; and what assessment they have made of the impact on the rights of consumers or tour operators to receive a refund if they cancel their booking for the flight concerned.

The operation of flights is a commercial decision for individual airlines and the department does not monitor this. Where a consumer has cancelled a booking, their right to a refund will depend on the contract in place with the airline or travel provider. The Government keeps consumer rights under constant review and has encouraged industry to act fairly, particularly during this current crisis.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will bring forward the proposed airline insolvency legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech.

Government has considered the recommendations of the Airline Insolvency Review to identify the reforms needed to ensure a strong level of consumer protection and value for money for the taxpayer.

The Government is also mindful of the need to consider the challenges faced by the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. We are keeping under review the scope and timing of any future reforms in this policy area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of travel companies using a trust account model to process flight-only airline refunds.

The aviation sector is a private industry and these are commercial decisions for individual airlines. There are currently no specific requirements for all travel companies to have a trust account in place for refunds.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the enforcement powers held by the Civil Aviation Authority under the Enterprise Act 2002; and what plans they have to enhance its powers to take action against airlines and travel companies who fail to comply with legislation on refunds for cancelled services.

The CAA has full powers to legally enforce compliance of the airline obligations to refund customers for cancelled flights. HMG will review the CAA powers in due course to ensure they are fit for purpose for the sector in the future.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to conduct a systematic review of passenger rights and protections following difficulties in accessing refunds for cancelled flights during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they are taking to ensure that passenger protections are strengthened under any new airlines insolvency legislation.

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether venues at airports and ports have been removed from the list of exemptions to the restaurant curfew from 10pm to 5am; if so, why; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that decision on social distancing at airports.

Hospitality venues in airports, maritime ports, the Eurotunnel terminal, Motorway Service Areas and catering facilities onboard transport services are exempt from the 22:00-05:00 hospitality closure restriction. These venues, however, cannot sell alcohol during this curfew period, but alcohol can continue to be sold to passengers seated on an aircraft at any time. Additional restrictions apply to hospitality venues in areas where the Local COVID Alert Level is Very High. The aforementioned venues are not exempt from these restrictions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reconsider their decision not to give refunds or compensation to people unable to use railcards as a result of (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) their advice to avoid public transport.

The Department recognises that Railcard holders have been unable to use their cards while travel restrictions were in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We took immediate action at the outbreak of the pandemic to support passengers and the rail industry by keeping the services people depend on running, protecting jobs, delivering refunds and removing charges for cancellations. To date, over £480m has been refunded for people whose travel plans unexpectedly changed due to the pandemic. Fares revenues fell to less than 5% of pre-Covid levels in the Spring and are still at just 30% of previous levels. Looking to the post-COVID-19 recovery, we need to build a rail network which is fit for the future. In this context we must ensure the demands placed on taxpayers are fair and balanced and that Government focuses its investment on maintaining services, to enable social distancing and support our economic recovery. I recognise that the emergency situation has meant that railcard holders have not been able to benefit to the fullest extent over recent months. However, many passengers are able to recover the cost of their railcard in a single trip. Having carefully considered the situation, we can confirm that railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish (1) the specific details, and (2) the financial value of each aspect, of the £343 million railways package for Wales, announced on 21 August.

The specific details and the financial value of each aspect of the £343 million railways package for Wales, announced on 21 August, is as follows:

Cardiff Central station enhancement

£58m

Development of South Wales and North Wales main line enhancements

£1.99m

Cambrian Line Signalling upgrade development

£3m

New Stations Fund Bow Street station construction

£3.99m

Access for All improvements to various stations

£4.4m

Severn Tunnel Electrification costs

£76m

Core Valley Lines funding package

£196m

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their review into regional connectivity following the collapse of airline Flybe has started; and when they plan to publish that review's findings.

The Government recognises the impact of Flybe’s collapse and the subsequent impact of COVID-19 on regional airports, regional economies and connectivity across the UK.

The Government remains committed to supporting regional connectivity across all transport modes, as well as the importance of maintaining a thriving competitive aviation sector in the UK to deliver connectivity. Regional air connectivity will form a key strand of our aviation recovery plan which we aim to publish this Autumn.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of bridges in England that are not able to support vehicles over a certain weight as a result of structural weakness.

On the Strategic Road Network (SRN) which is managed by Highways England, there is one structure which has a signed weight restriction, but this applies only to lanes 2 and 3. Lane 1 is unrestricted for vehicles complying with the Construction and Use Regulations. Highways England also has responsibility for most road carrying bridges crossing the SRN. Of these bridges, 84 have been identified as currently having a signed weight restriction. On the local highway network, it is a matter for each local highway authority to assess its bridge stock and the Department does not hold this information.

Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the Department allocated £4,825 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network, including bridges. Over the same period, the Department also allocated £75.4 million to local authorities through the highways maintenance challenge fund for 20 bridge maintenance projects. In addition, £892.7 million was spent on bridge repairs on the SRN.

The spend in each year is shown in the table below:

£millions

Local Highways Maintenance Block

Highways maintenance Challenge Fund

SRN Bridge Repairs

2015/16

901

32.6

161.6

2016/17

876

142.9

2017/18

876

16.5

202.8

2018/19

1,296

195.4

2019/20

876

26.3

190.0

Total

4,825

75.4

892.7

In 2020/21, the Department is allocating £876 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network including bridges. During 2020/21, the Department has also allocated £31.9 million through the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund to nine bridge maintenance projects.

Future funding decisions for local highways maintenance, including bridges, will be made as part of the current Spending Review.

There is also a proposed bridge maintenance project for the Tame Valley Viaduct in Birmingham in the local authority Majors scheme pipeline, a £93.5 million scheme. This is subject to full approval and the forecast funding profile is detailed in the table below:

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

0.9

16.9

21.3

17.0

15.9

£millions

The planned funding for bridge repairs on the SRN, for the current financial year and the four remaining years of the current Road Investment Strategy period is shown in the table below. Funding levels for 2025/26 will be subject to future Road Investment Strategies.

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

Total

171.0

227.0

315.0

351.0

388.0

1,452.0

£millions

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding they have allocated for bridge repairs in England in (1) this financial year, and (2) the subsequent five years.

On the Strategic Road Network (SRN) which is managed by Highways England, there is one structure which has a signed weight restriction, but this applies only to lanes 2 and 3. Lane 1 is unrestricted for vehicles complying with the Construction and Use Regulations. Highways England also has responsibility for most road carrying bridges crossing the SRN. Of these bridges, 84 have been identified as currently having a signed weight restriction. On the local highway network, it is a matter for each local highway authority to assess its bridge stock and the Department does not hold this information.

Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the Department allocated £4,825 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network, including bridges. Over the same period, the Department also allocated £75.4 million to local authorities through the highways maintenance challenge fund for 20 bridge maintenance projects. In addition, £892.7 million was spent on bridge repairs on the SRN.

The spend in each year is shown in the table below:

£millions

Local Highways Maintenance Block

Highways maintenance Challenge Fund

SRN Bridge Repairs

2015/16

901

32.6

161.6

2016/17

876

142.9

2017/18

876

16.5

202.8

2018/19

1,296

195.4

2019/20

876

26.3

190.0

Total

4,825

75.4

892.7

In 2020/21, the Department is allocating £876 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network including bridges. During 2020/21, the Department has also allocated £31.9 million through the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund to nine bridge maintenance projects.

Future funding decisions for local highways maintenance, including bridges, will be made as part of the current Spending Review.

There is also a proposed bridge maintenance project for the Tame Valley Viaduct in Birmingham in the local authority Majors scheme pipeline, a £93.5 million scheme. This is subject to full approval and the forecast funding profile is detailed in the table below:

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

0.9

16.9

21.3

17.0

15.9

£millions

The planned funding for bridge repairs on the SRN, for the current financial year and the four remaining years of the current Road Investment Strategy period is shown in the table below. Funding levels for 2025/26 will be subject to future Road Investment Strategies.

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

Total

171.0

227.0

315.0

351.0

388.0

1,452.0

£millions

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Transport has spent on bridge repairs in England in each of the last five years.

On the Strategic Road Network (SRN) which is managed by Highways England, there is one structure which has a signed weight restriction, but this applies only to lanes 2 and 3. Lane 1 is unrestricted for vehicles complying with the Construction and Use Regulations. Highways England also has responsibility for most road carrying bridges crossing the SRN. Of these bridges, 84 have been identified as currently having a signed weight restriction. On the local highway network, it is a matter for each local highway authority to assess its bridge stock and the Department does not hold this information.

Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the Department allocated £4,825 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network, including bridges. Over the same period, the Department also allocated £75.4 million to local authorities through the highways maintenance challenge fund for 20 bridge maintenance projects. In addition, £892.7 million was spent on bridge repairs on the SRN.

The spend in each year is shown in the table below:

£millions

Local Highways Maintenance Block

Highways maintenance Challenge Fund

SRN Bridge Repairs

2015/16

901

32.6

161.6

2016/17

876

142.9

2017/18

876

16.5

202.8

2018/19

1,296

195.4

2019/20

876

26.3

190.0

Total

4,825

75.4

892.7

In 2020/21, the Department is allocating £876 million by formula to local authorities in England, outside London, for the maintenance of their entire local road network including bridges. During 2020/21, the Department has also allocated £31.9 million through the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund to nine bridge maintenance projects.

Future funding decisions for local highways maintenance, including bridges, will be made as part of the current Spending Review.

There is also a proposed bridge maintenance project for the Tame Valley Viaduct in Birmingham in the local authority Majors scheme pipeline, a £93.5 million scheme. This is subject to full approval and the forecast funding profile is detailed in the table below:

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

0.9

16.9

21.3

17.0

15.9

£millions

The planned funding for bridge repairs on the SRN, for the current financial year and the four remaining years of the current Road Investment Strategy period is shown in the table below. Funding levels for 2025/26 will be subject to future Road Investment Strategies.

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

2023/24

2024/25

Total

171.0

227.0

315.0

351.0

388.0

1,452.0

£millions

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the respective risks of travel by (1) public transport, and (2) car.

The Department has not made an assessment of the risks of travel by public transport or car. The Department publishes statistics on casualty numbers and rates by modes of travel in the annual Transport Statistics Great Britain publication. Comparing risks between transport modes is not straightforward as the types of journeys people make with each mode are different, so a simple comparison of casualty numbers or rate (casualties per billion passenger miles) may not be a fair one.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what their current advice is on the use of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our current advice on the use of public transport is available in our guidance on gov.uk. We advise people to help control coronavirus and travel safely by walking and cycling, if they can. Where this is not possible, they should use public transport or drive. We also advise passengers to observe social contact rules, wash or sanitise their hands regularly, maintain social distancing and avoid the busiest routes and times.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to waive the rules applying to the use of slots by airlines; whether they plan to make a statement to this effect; and if so, when.

On 14 September, the European Commission published their intention to extend the current airport slot waiver for the 2020/2021 winter season, until 27 March 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with representatives of Fulham, Richmond and Hammersmith Councils, and with Transport for London, about the funding for repairs to Hammersmith Bridge.

The Government wants to make sure that Londoners can move around the capital easily, on public transport, through active travel and on our roads. As part of that, the Government want to see the Hammersmith Bridge opened as soon as safely possible, so that – at a minimum – people can cycle and walk across the bridge and in time return the bridge to full use.

To help find a speedy resolution to the situation, the Government has established a Taskforce. This Taskforce includes representatives from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, to help determine the most appropriate next steps.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have reached agreement with the EU on the future arrangements for the administration of the Channel Tunnel; and if not, what is the planned timetable for those negotiations.

The Government has supported operators in establishing contingency measures, now in place, to secure the continuation of critical services through the Channel Tunnel regardless of the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU.

As agreed by the UK and the EU as part of the Political Declaration in October 2019, the Government is engaging with France to establish bilateral agreements to further support the continuation of services through the Channel Tunnel and to provide long term certainty for operators. The Government has been clear, however, that any bilateral agreements must fully respect the UK’s status as an independent sovereign nation and this will guide our approach to negotiations.

Bilateral discussions between UK and French officials are expected to continue over the coming months and the Government will provide updates on these in due course.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are (1) the dates of, and (2) the reasons for, each announced stage of delay in the completion of the Elizabeth Line; and what has been the additional cost of each delay.

Crossrail Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London.

In August 2018, Crossrail Limited (CRL) announced a delay to the opening of the Elizabeth line which was originally due to open in December 2018, stating that services would launch in autumn 2019. CRL stated that the reasons for this delay was due to more time being needed by contractors to complete fit-out activity in the central tunnels and the development of railway systems software, and that testing had started but further time was required to complete the full range of integrated tests.

In April 2019, CRL announced their revised schedule which identified a six-month window for delivery of the central section, with a midpoint at the end of 2020. CRL stated that the reasons for this delay was due to the complexity of the remaining work and the level of risk and uncertainty remaining in the development and testing of the train and signalling systems.

In November 2019, CRL announced that the Elizabeth line would open “as soon as practically possible in 2021” stating that further time was needed to complete software development for the signalling and train systems and the safety approvals process for the railway.

In January 2020, CRL announced that it planned to open the central section of the railway in summer 2021 and the full Elizabeth line by mid-2022, citing challenges with completing the software development and the safety assurance processes preventing it from meeting its previously planned opening window.

In August 2020, CRL announced that the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood would not be ready to open until the first half of 2022 and that following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will be introduced. CRL stated that the schedule delay was due to lower than planned productivity in the final completion and handover of the shafts and portals, revisions to the schedule assumptions for the completion of the new stations and the impacts of Covid-19 had placed significant constraints on ongoing work and productivity due to the reduced numbers that can work on site to meet strict social distancing requirements.

In December 2018, the Government approved a £2.15bn funding package whereby the Department for Transport would provide a loan of £1.3bn to the Greater London Authority (GLA) and a loan of £750m to Transport for London (TfL) to finance the remaining costs of the project. The GLA also provided a £100m cash contribution.

In August 2020, CRL announced that the cost to complete the Crossrail project could be up to £1.1bn above the funding package agreed in December 2018.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 31 July (HL7214), what powers are held by Transport for the North, beyond offering advice to the Secretary of State.

The Regulations which established Transport for the North as a statutory transport body in 2018 require them to provide advice to the Secretary of State about the exercise of transport functions in its area. In addition, they are required to prepare a transport strategy, may co-ordinate transport activity across the area and make further proposals to the Secretary of State on their role and functions.

Transport for the North delivered its Strategic Transport Plan for the North in February 2019. They have provided advice to the Secretary of State on a range of transport matters, including the Roads Investment Strategy, Major Route Network priorities and the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have suspended meetings of the expert steering group representing airports; if so, why; how they intend to liaise with airports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on airports across England; and when they last held discussions with the representatives of each airport in England.

The Department momentarily paused all non-essential official-led engagement with the aviation sector ahead of Parliament returning, taking the opportunity to review how we engage with industry, both in terms of sharing information and for giving industry the opportunity to feedback as policy develops. Engagement has now restarted, with the Secretary of State having personally spoken to numerous stakeholders.

A revised Expert Steering Group, as well as other forums for engagement have now resumed and we remain committed to an open dialogue with the sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the environmental impact of the reintroduction of skywriting, and (2) the impact of such a reintroduction on their plans for reducing carbon emissions; whether they intend to introduce legislation to implement such a reintroduction; and if so, when.

The public consultation for the legalisation of skywriting and skytyping aerial activities took place between 16 and 29 March 2020. The consultation document was published online at GOV.UK and respondents could submit their views via email or post to the Department for Transport. The Department received a total of 93 responses from members of the public, trade bodies, registered companies, and other respondents. 20% of the responses supported the legalisation of skytyping and skywriting.

The Department acknowledges some of the concerns raised on the environmental impacts but believes on balance these impacts should be minimal or can be mitigated against – as set out in the consultation document. Skytyping and skywriting activities can only take place in very specific zero wind and fine weather conditions. As such, there is not expected to be a significant volume of these activities, so any impact on emissions is deemed to be minimal.

As part of its net zero ambition, the Government is supporting the development of sustainable aviation fuels and other environmentally friendly technology.

A statutory instrument was laid on 17 April 2020 amending the Civil Aviation (Aerial Advertising) Regulations 1995, which concluded in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords on 11 June 2020. Skytyping recently featured as part of the VE 75 commemorations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to adjust the timings of announcements adding countries to the list of those requiring quarantine for returning visitors in order to allow a longer interval between the announcement of new quarantine measures and their implementation.

As the Secretary of State set out in the House on 7 September, there is a tension between bringing in to force regulations at pace which are designed to protect the health of the public and allowing travellers and operators the chance to consider incoming regulations. Our current approach, a Thursday announcement followed by the regulations coming into force on a Saturday tries to straddle those concerns. It is also an approach that has been agreed across the four nations, and takes on board operational considerations at the border. However, we reserve the right to bring regulations in to force quicker if their strong public health rationale to do so.

As we have consistently made clear, COVID-19 has profoundly changed the nature of international travel, and those who chose to travel should do so with their eyes open. It is right that we prioritise the health of the public.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the public consultation for the reintroduction of skywriting took place; how that consultation took place; how many responses they received; and what percentage of the responses were supportive of such a reintroduction.

The public consultation for the legalisation of skywriting and skytyping aerial activities took place between 16 and 29 March 2020. The consultation document was published online at GOV.UK and respondents could submit their views via email or post to the Department for Transport. The Department received a total of 93 responses from members of the public, trade bodies, registered companies, and other respondents. 20% of the responses supported the legalisation of skytyping and skywriting.

The Department acknowledges some of the concerns raised on the environmental impacts but believes on balance these impacts should be minimal or can be mitigated against – as set out in the consultation document. Skytyping and skywriting activities can only take place in very specific zero wind and fine weather conditions. As such, there is not expected to be a significant volume of these activities, so any impact on emissions is deemed to be minimal.

As part of its net zero ambition, the Government is supporting the development of sustainable aviation fuels and other environmentally friendly technology.

A statutory instrument was laid on 17 April 2020 amending the Civil Aviation (Aerial Advertising) Regulations 1995, which concluded in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords on 11 June 2020. Skytyping recently featured as part of the VE 75 commemorations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the findings of the review by the UCL Institute of Health Equity into COVID-19 related deaths of bus workers in London, published 27 July, whether they intend to issue new guidance to bus companies to protect drivers and other front-line staff.

We have been clear that the safety of transport workers is a top priority, and employers must take appropriate measures to protect all staff in line with the recommendations we have set out in the Safer Transport guidance, to ensure their workplaces are Covid-19 secure. This includes making sensible workplace adjustments, for example introducing screens, providing hand sanitiser, and reducing capacity onboard services in line with social distancing requirements.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 22 July (HL6684), what additional funding they intend to provide to support bus and tram services outside of London once the current COVID-19-related funding expires on 4 August; and when they intend to announce the arrangements for any such funding.

Officials are engaging with HMT on the future of emergency funding for the bus and light rail sectors, as a matter of the highest priority. The department will be in contact with operators as soon as we are in a position to update them.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide long-term financial support to bus, coach and tram services outside of London whilst there is reduced capacity and demand for public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and how any such funding will be dispersed.

The Department continues to work closely with transport authorities and operators to understand the risks and ongoing issues in the bus and coach industry and how these can be addressed, so that public transport services can adapt to any ‘new normal’ that emerges from the COVID-19 outbreak and work towards a sustainable long-term recovery.

The Department is engaging with HMT on the future of emergency funding for the bus and light rail sectors as a matter of the highest priority. My department will be in contact with operators as soon as we are in a position to update them.

We are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 21 July (HL6569), how Highways England was able to determine three possible new routes for the A27 between Polegate and Lewes before completing consideration of (1) environmental impacts, and (2) the impact on the towns and communities at the two endpoints of these routes.

The “A27 East of Lewes Off-line Study” represents an early stage of work to evaluate the need or otherwise for an enhancement of the A27 off the existing line of route. The study uses three different alignments for modelling purposes only. Development of specific route options and a detailed assessment of their benefits and costs, including environmental impacts, would follow at a later stage of work.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional funding they intend to provide to bus and coach operators to ensure that COVID-19 (1) safety, and (2) additional capacity, requirements are in place when schools return in September; and when they plan to announce their funding decisions for such provision.

The return of pupils to education settings in September will be a considerable challenge for public transport capacity while maintaining social distancing. The Department is working with the Department for Education as a matter of urgency to explore options to increase capacity to ensure students can get to school or college in September.

Solutions must be locally-led with authorities working closely with transport operators, and the Government will do what we can to support local authorities. The Government is therefore supporting local authorities with travel demand management, and we will continue to provide financial support for bus services in September in order to boost the amount of local transport capacity available.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise the maximum age at which the Civil Aviation Authority can grant a licence to a commercial pilot so that it is equivalent to the state pension age; and what assessment they have made of the financial position of commercial pilots who are no longer permitted to fly but who are not yet eligible for a state pension.

The Department for Transport is aware of the difference between the maximum age for commercial pilots and the state pension age, and of the financial impact this could have on some people. The government is determined to ensure equal employment opportunities are available to all, regardless of age. The Department is working with the CAA to explore whether there is a safety case for increasing the maximum age for commercial pilots and is also considering the approach that other regulators are taking in Europe on this issue.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with the Civil Aviation Authority about the effect of the difference between the maximum age for commercial pilots and the state pension age on the financial position of commercial pilots.

The Department for Transport is aware of the difference between the maximum age for commercial pilots and the state pension age, and of the financial impact this could have on some people. The Government is determined to ensure equal employment opportunities are available to all, regardless of age. The Department is working with the CAA to explore whether there is a safety case for increasing the maximum age for commercial pilots and is also considering the approach that other regulators are taking in Europe on this issue.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to support the bus and coach industry after the current COVID-19 financial support expires in August; and what discussions they have had with the bus and coach industry to understand that industry's strategic requirements.

The Department continues to work closely with transport authorities and operators to understand the risks and ongoing issues in the bus and coach industry and how these can be addressed, so that public transport services can adapt to any ‘new normal’ that emerges from the COVID-19 outbreak and work towards a sustainable long-term recovery.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much new COVID-19 funding they have spent to date (1) in total, and (2) per passenger, on (a) roads, (b) rail, (c) bus, (d) coach, (e) light-rail, (f) walking, and (g) cycling.

Government’s new spending to date due to COVID-19 is £3.473 billion. This includes funding brought forward from 2020-21. £2.8 billion has been spent on rail franchised operators, £84 million on buses outside London and £42 million on walking and cycling. Light rail has been allocated £29 million. It is important to note that the spend on buses, walking and cycling only reflects spend to date, and significant further sums will be spent as bus services continue to ramp up and local authorities roll out active travel schemes.

Transport for London has received £547 million. Other funding, including roads and coaches, has come from existing budgets. Government does not hold data for COVID-19 funding per passenger.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on the COVID-19 communications campaign advising people to avoid using public transport; and what (1) plans they have for, and (2) associated spending they have allocated to, a communications campaign to encourage people to resume using public transport.

The Department for Transport launched a campaign in May, with the objective of providing clear communications to avoid public transport unless the journey is essential and no other option (i.e. walking, cycling or driving) is available. The Department worked with operators across the transport network who amplified the message. The cost of the May and June activity, which had a primary message advising people to avoid to public transport, was £245k. This activity alone had reached more than 15 million people by 3 July 2020.

At the start of the campaign, the 2m social distancing rule meant public transport was running at 10% of capacity. To enable key workers to access the network safely, the department encouraged those who could avoid travel altogether, or use an alternative mode, to do so. Overcrowding has remained a risk as lockdown restrictions have been lifted and sectors have reopened, so managing demand to protect those who cannot work from home or travel in another way has remained a priority. The campaign to date has helped to prevent such overcrowding by providing clear and consistent advice to the public.

However, ‘avoid travel’ was just one message in a suite communicated to the public, and shared with our partners to disseminate. The campaign has also informed passengers about the steps they can take to protect themselves and others should they need to use the network. Materials and messages have been updated and added regularly to reflect the evolving policy and guidance positions, including, for example, the move to mandatory use of face coverings.

The campaign is therefore not clearly split between advising people to avoid public transport and encouraging them to resume using it. It has, and will continue to, communicate a range of messages to different audiences and will shift over time to reflect the latest advice to the public. Our priority must be the safety of passengers, but when we are able to welcome more people back to the network, we will use the same channels and mechanisms utilised to date. This is an ongoing issue and further spending on communications will be a part of that.

Transport was also a key element of the Stay Alert campaign run by Cabinet Office, with an estimated £2.35 million invested up to 12 July 2020, accounting for 19% of Stay Alert investment. Cabinet Office have worked closely with stakeholders such as TfL who have provided free access to poster sites and Network Rail who have provided 30,000 48 sheet and 96 sheet advertising slots per week.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the different requirements in the guidance for social distancing for (1) airlines, and (2) bus operators; whether that assessment demonstrated that the guidance for one is more prescriptive than the other; and if so, why.

Our safer transport guidance and safer aviation guidance provide advice to help transport organisations and the aviation industry manage the risks of coronavirus. This includes suggested measures for how they can provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers, including mitigations where social distancing is not possible or more difficult to manage. The measures suggested are intended as a guide, not as a prescriptive set of requirements. Transport organisations and the aviation industry will need to carry out their own risk assessments.

Both sets of guidance have been developed in collaboration with industry, Public Health England, and relevant health and safety regulators. The risk control measures suggested in both reflect the nature of the settings for which they are intended. Aviation settings differ in several key ways from buses and other modes of public transport, particularly the higher level of control inherent in aviation settings. In comparison, bus and other land transport services operate in less controlled environments with a greater degree of passenger autonomy.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the proportion of registered UK seafarers who have been stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic who have been repatriated; and what plans they have to ensure that all seafarers are given assistance to enable them to return to the UK.

Within the cruise sector we have repatriated 1,209 British national seafarers since 16 April. There are 471 British nationals remaining on cruise vessels globally but these are essential staff.

We continue to work with industry and the unions to get better overall data for British seafarers on other types of vessels.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what work has been done by Highways England (1) to assess, (2) to quantify, and (3) to monetise, the environmental impacts of the proposed new dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate; and what plans they have to publish all available information produced as a result of this work.

Highways England’s “A27 East of Lewes Off-line Study” strategic outline business case, published in response to a Freedom of Information request represents the early work done to date to consider a new route for the A27 between Lewes and Polegate. The second Road Investment Strategy, published in March, commissioned Highways England to develop proposals for this route for possible delivery after 2025. This work is expected to explore potential options and their benefits and costs, including environmental impacts, as appropriate.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish any evidence they have received about the economic impact of the proposed dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate on (1) Eastbourne, and (2) Polegate.

Highways England’s “A27 East of Lewes Off-line Study” strategic outline business case, published in response to a Freedom of Information request represents the early work done to date to consider a new route for the A27 between Lewes and Polegate. The second Road Investment Strategy, published in March, commissioned Highways England to develop proposals for this route for possible delivery after 2025. This work is expected to explore potential options and their benefits and costs, including environmental impacts, as appropriate.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken, or intend to take, to enforce the requirement for passengers on public transport to use face coverings.

We do not expect stringent enforcement immediately from 15 June and have seen high levels of compliance since the launch. We expect to see a gradual ramp-up of enforcement, supported by a significant Government communications campaign over the coming months.

It will be up to operators to decide the best way to enforce these changes, and we are working closely with them to help implement their plans. We are also working closely with Transport for London and the police, including the British Transport Police, are able to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice as set out in the Regulations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with representatives of the Road Haulage Association, following its petition for an extension to the transition period.

The Government meets regularly with representatives from the Road Haulage Association to discuss a number of issues of importance to the logistics sector, at both official and Ministerial level.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are prioritising transport workers for COVID-19 testing; and whether those tests are currently available in such workers’ workplaces.

DfT is committed to ensuring that every transport worker who requires testing has access. We are engaging closely with stakeholders and DHSC to ensure that a robust testing process is in place for transport workers, whilst recognising that priority needs to be given to patient care, front-line healthcare staff and social care workers. COVID-19 antigen testing is currently available through home delivery kits, regional test sites, satellite sites and mobile testing centres throughout the country.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety Roads Policing and its contribution to road safety, published on 4 June; and what consideration they have given to the reasons why road deaths in the UK have not declined since 2010.

The PACTS report was an evaluation of academic work to establish if enforcement had an impact on road casualty numbers.

In the Refreshed Road Safety Statement in July 2019 we announced the most comprehensive review of roads policing and this reflects our commitment to continuing to reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

We will also shortly be launching a Call for Evidence to help us further investigate the link between enforcement, collisions, congestion and crime – helping make our roads safer for everyone.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what long-term support they plan to offer to community transport providers to help them adapt vehicles to improve safety for passengers while COVID-19 remains a threat.

On 23 May, we announced a further £254 million in funding for buses as part of the Government’s efforts to help increase bus services as quickly as possible. This will allow people travelling to hospitals, supermarkets or their place of work to get to their destination safely and quickly, whilst helping ensure social distancing can be observed. Bus operators?who hold a permit under section 22 of?the Transport Act 1985 are eligible for this new funding.

Operators will be able to claim for reasonable personal protective equipment and safe operation costs, such as hand sanitiser, cleaning vehicles, and installing barriers and screens.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have fully to implement Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to enable councils to manage traffic offences including the obstruction of cycle routes.

The Department is giving thought to the role these powers could play in helping councils to deliver their transport recovery plans. No decisions have yet been taken.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require train operating companies to introduce flexible season tickets suitable for part-time workers.

The Government recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a fundamental change in working patterns and that this could have long-term effects on commuter behaviour. As we move from lockdown to recovery, it is important that we get the balance right in the short and medium term between managing demand and ensuring that we provide better value for money for passengers going forward. The Department is working with industry to explore already available options for flexible commuters and what steps could be taken quickly to make these as useful and convenient for passengers as possible.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) airlines, (2) airport operators, (3) ports, and (4) ferry companies, about the impact of the new requirement for passengers arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on (a) their businesses, (b) the number of people they employ, and (c) the number of flights and sailings they will operate; and about the practical implementation of associated measures at ports and airports.

The Department for Transport has engaged regularly with cruise, ports and ferry stakeholders on the requirement to provide information to international passengers, sharing guidance and responding to queries. Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, the Maritime Minister has engaged with the shipping, ports and cruise sector on fortnightly calls on a range of topics including lockdown, PPE and border measures which include the 14-day quarantine. Following the Home Secretary’s announcement, the Department has worked with the Home Office and engaged through the cross-modal and modal-specific Border Specific Implementation Group with associations and operators. An exemption has been secured for seafarers (defined in section 313 of the Merchant Shipping Act) to the quarantine element of the proposed measures. In addition, officials have engaged on border measures, including the proposed quarantine measures, restart and recovery discussions with stakeholders and additionally on daily calls with Short Straits operators.

The Department has similarly engaged with the aviation sector on this issue and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. This includes working with senior representatives from the aviation industry as part of the Aviation Restart and Recovery Expert Steering Group. This group serves as the working group for the International Aviation Taskforce – one of five sectoral taskforces announced by the Government on 13 May to support the development of guidelines for safely reopening businesses. The Aviation Minister has also carried out fortnightly calls with the sector on a range of topics, as well as bilateral conversations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their relaxation of the rules applying to the use of slots by airlines; and if so, when.

Her Majesty’s Government is legally prevented from intervening in the slot allocation process. However, we welcome the response taken by the European Commission and the UK’s independent slot coordinator to temporarily relax the 80:20 slot usage rules, and will continue to engage across the sector on this matter. We want airport landing and take-off slots to be used as efficiently as possible for the benefit of UK consumers and are carefully considering the role of the slot system in rebuilding a competitive aviation sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that train operators speed up refunds for the portions of season tickets unused because of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic; and whether they will allow commuters to set the amount of any refunds they are due against the cost of the purchase of new season tickets.

We are monitoring train operators’ processing times closely to ensure that refunds are paid as quickly as possible. Train operators have allocated additional resources to process the unprecedented number of refund requests, so the majority are being paid within the industry standard processing time of one month. We have asked train operators to provide accurate estimates on their websites of the expected claim processing time, so passengers know when they will receive their refund and are reassured that the time taken to process their claim will not affect the amount refunded.

The Department has no plans to put in place a system where a refund that is due is offset against the cost of purchasing a new season ticket; however since 17 March over 120,000 season ticket holders have received refunds totalling over £190 million in response to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation they undertook with the (1) Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, (2) Independent Garage Association, and (3) Institute of the Motor Industry, prior to introducing the MOT exemption; and what assessment they have made of the impact of the lockdown ease in England on the number of unsafe cars on the roads.

In accordance with section 195(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the Department consulted with a selection of representative organisations including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Independent Garage Association. The analysis of the effect of these regulations is ongoing.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with British Airways and other airlines about the (1) requirement to provide passenger refunds for cancelled flights within the legal timescale, and (2) the need to ensure consumer rights are respected.

The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. We are working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process large volumes of refunds.

The Government appreciates the frustration consumers may be experiencing. We have been clear that where a consumer has asked for a refund, that refund must be paid.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their proposed trial of e-scooters on public roads will include (1) rental schemes only, (2) privately owned e-scooters only, or (3) both rental schemes and privately owned e-scooters.

E-scooter trials will include only rental scooters. This allows trials to take place in a controlled manner while we assess their safety and other impacts. There are a wide range of e-scooters available, built to differing standards. Limiting trials to rental scooters ensures that only approved scooters are used, and that they can meet legal requirements. It will also improve the quality of the evidence we gather, that will inform whether e-scooters should be fully legalised. We are working with local authorities to enable trials to begin soon.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the aviation sector about the impact of the proposed 14 day quarantine period on that industry. [T]

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the Government recognises the challenging times it is facing as a result of COVID-19.

The Department for Transport has kept an open dialogue with the aviation sector and put in place regular structured engagement on both Ministerial and official level. Recent discussions have included the impact of the proposed 14 day quarantine period. In addition, the International Aviation Taskforce has been established which aims to:

  • ensure that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phased approach and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input;

  • agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance; and

  • provide key sector stakeholders direct access to Ministers to shape the guidance.

Our transport systems are critical to support the restart of the wider economy and we continue to work closely with the aviation sector on these restart plans and the longer-term recovery of the sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that public transport services are expanded to take account of their recommendation that employers stagger working hours to reduce the pressures on public transport once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

The department has been working closely with transport operators and local partners to explore options for restoring public transport services. Is it clear that restoring services is challenging, for example due to the need to bring drivers out of furlough and equipment back online, and will therefore take time. We are working to ensure that services are ramped up over the coming weeks and are grateful for the work of transport workers and for their support.

The guidance we published for the travelling public is clear that journeys on public transport should only be made if they are essential, and then only if walking, cycling or driving is not an option. Peak times should be avoided if at all possible – we look to employers to support their staff to travel outside the peaks.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of British Airways' proposed redundancies on Gatwick airport.

The Department for Transport is working with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers.

The Chancellor has set out unprecedented support for workers of airline companies. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are being used across the aviation industry to protect the sector against the Covid-19 economic crisis.

These measures, alongside other Government support measures such as Coronavirus Large Business Loan Interruption Scheme and the CCFF, are helping airlines of all sizes get through this crisis and beyond. The Chancellor has noted that under exceptional circumstances bespoke support could be provided to airlines.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the deaths of 28 bus drivers and other Transport for London front line staff from COVID-19; and what steps they are taking to ensure that bus companies in the UK introduce protective measures similar to those now introduced by Transport for London.

We have been clear the safety of transport workers must remain a top priority, and employers must protect their staff in line with Public Health England advice. On the 12 May, the Government published guidance for transport operators to help keep their staff safe, including how social distancing rules should be interpreted to do this. This guidance will be kept up-to-date as restrictions on travel change.

In the tragic circumstances where workers die with Covid-19, our thoughts are with their families and loved ones and employers should ensure they are appropriately recognised. The Government is working with the industry to ensure that all workers and the travelling public stay safe during this very difficult time.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to ensure that (1) those public transport workers who die from COVID-19 are given public recognition, and (2) the families of those workers are given support similar to that provided for NHS workers’ families.

We have been clear the safety of transport workers must remain a top priority, and employers must protect their staff in line with Public Health England advice. On the 12 May, the Government published guidance for transport operators to help keep their staff safe, including how social distancing rules should be interpreted to do this. This guidance will be kept up-to-date as restrictions on travel change.

In the tragic circumstances where workers die with Covid-19, our thoughts are with their families and loved ones and employers should ensure they are appropriately recognised. The Government is working with the industry to ensure that all workers and the travelling public stay safe during this very difficult time.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they intend to introduce to encourage children to walk or cycle to school following the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the number of cars on the road.

The Government recognises that walking and cycling have great potential as a means of enabling people to move around safely while maintaining social distancing. Active travel can help to relieve pressures on public transport as well as delivering health benefits and reducing motor-vehicle congestion.

On 9 May, the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking. This includes £250m which will encourage cycling to work and school through the provision of pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, safer junctions as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities. Further details on the allocation of this funding will be announced in due course.

This will build on the Government’s investment of almost £3 million into the Walk to School programme since 2015 which aims to increase the number of children walking to school. For the schools involved in this programme in 2017-18, walking to school rates increased across all schools by 30 per cent, rising from 59.5 per cent at baseline to 77.2 per cent at follow up.

In addition, the Conservative Manifesto made the commitment to extend Bikeability cycling proficiency training to every child in the country.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with British Airways about their financial position; and when any such discussions took place. [T]

The Department cannot comment on the commercial or financial matters of private companies.

The Transport Secretary, Aviation Minister and Department officials are in regular contact with the aviation sector, ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures could address specific industry issues.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on Heathrow airport of reports that British Airways plans to make up to 12,000 staff redundant.

We recognise the impact of British Airways announcement will be very distressing news for BA employees and their families, and we stand ready to support them. The aviation sector is essential to the UK economy, and firms can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

If airlines find themselves in trouble as a result of coronavirus and have exhausted the measures already available to them, the Transport Secretary is clear that the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort.

The Transport Secretary, Aviation Minister and DfT officials are in regular contact with the aviation sector, ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures could address specific industry issues.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge, published on 4 March, and the reported relationship between the increase in the purchase of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and the average CO2 emissions per mile for new cars rising since 2016, what plans they have to discourage the purchase of SUVs.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars, including SUVs, is a key priority for the Government’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan. There are three primary measures to achieve this:

(i) regulation that requires manufacturers to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new vehicles registered in the UK;

(ii) speeding up the transition to zero emission vehicles. The Department is investing around £2.5 billion in grants for plug-in vehicles and funding to support the roll out of improved charge point infrastructure, as well as consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible;

(iii) making public transport and active travel the natural first choice for our daily activities.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made towards encouraging operators providing electric vehicle charging infrastructure to introduce a single payment method for all public chargepoints.

The Government wants the consumer experience of electric vehicle charging to be straightforward and hassle free. In July 2019 the Department challenged industry to provide debit and credit card payment at all newly installed rapid chargepoints by spring of this year, and to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public chargepoint through a single payment method. While the industry has responded with the majority of new rapid chargepoints offering contactless payment, further action is necessary to ensure drivers can access all public chargepoints with ease. The Department will therefore consult later this year on a range of measures aimed at making charging electric vehicles just as easy as filling up a traditional petrol or diesel car, including ease of payment.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their target date for all buses to be ultra-low, or zero, emission.

Transport, including buses, has a significant role to play in the economy reaching net zero. In “Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge”, published in March, the Department noted there are no current Government targets set for buses in this respect. The forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan will set out how we will tackle transport emissions and get all road vehicles to ultimately be zero-emission.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reintroduce COVID-19 screening of all incoming international passengers and air crew at all UK airports; and why such measures have not been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Targeted screening measures were initially carried out at UK airports for inbound passengers during the containment phase of the pandemic when the aim was to prevent the virus coming in to the UK. Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border.

Airlines and airports have implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from Public Health England (PHE), Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Chief Medical Officer, as well as following their existing internal protocols on preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

In time, the aviation sector will begin to restart and recover, and we are exploring measures that could be deployed in the aviation sector to ensure the public can be confident that flying is a safe and healthy way of travelling. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that all motor insurers offer customers a rebate during the COVID-19 pandemic. [T]

The Department continues to monitor the situation and is in contact with the Association of British Insurers about measures to help drivers. Although this is ultimately a commercial decision for insurers we welcome and encourage companies to take steps to support customers during this difficult time.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they have provided, and intend to provide, to light rail services which have been adversely affected or reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government announced on 24 April 2020 that it would be supporting light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham, and Tyne and Wear. The Department for Transport has now announced a package worth nearly £30 mllion to allow these essential services to continue.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport hold regular meetings with Transport for London to discuss the financial impacts of COVID-19 and will continue to do so as the outbreak continues.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with National Rail about the provision of compensation to railcard holders and extending the validity period of such railcards to reflect the length of time when train services have been severely reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Railcards are sold and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf on the rail industry, and proposals for amendments to existing policies are for the Rail Delivery Group to bring forward. The Rail Delivery Group and the Department are considering the position on Railcards in light of the current COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to (1) standardise the (a) procedures, and (b) terms and conditions, for rail ticket refunds across the UK, and (2) simplify the pricing of rail fares and the ticketing system, during the time that rail franchises have been transferred onto Emergency Measures Agreements.

The Department has worked with the rail industry to introduce temporary policy changes to standardise procedures and terms and conditions on ticket refunds across all the Department’s franchised operators. This is in the context of the exceptional circumstances and Government advice to avoid unnecessary travel. For example, we have made Advance tickets held on 23 March refundable with no administration fee and have implemented processes to improve the passenger experience of claiming refunds. These include that passengers can now claim refunds online; they have eight weeks to apply rather than the usual four; and can backdate their season ticket refund to 17 March or when their ticket was last used, whichever is later.

At this time, the Department is focused on protecting the public transport services that key workers rely upon to get to and from work and we have taken decisive action to financially support rail operators to ensure services can continue to operate. No changes to pricing of fares or ticketing systems were implemented as part of the Emergency Measures Agreements.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial assistance they are providing to local authorities which manage light rail and tram services; and what plans they have, if any, to provide financial assistance to Transport for London.

The Government announced on 24 April 2020 that it would be supporting light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham, and Tyne and Wear. The Department for Transport has now announced a package worth nearly £30 mllion to allow these essential services to continue.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport hold regular meetings with Transport for London to discuss the financial impacts of COVID-19 and will continue to do so as the outbreak continues.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce minimum safety standards for the bus industry to improve the protection of drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 7 April the Government published Public Health England’s guidance regarding social distancing measures in the workplace. On 11 April, the Transport Secretary wrote to all bus operators asking them to follow this guidance and implement measures recommended in it if they had not already done so. We continue working closely with the transport sector on the measures that are being put in place to protect staff.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) are updating their advice currently.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following their report Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge, published in March, what consideration they have given to reinstating plans to (1) electrify rail lines, and (2) prioritise rail routes, (a) between Cardiff and Swansea, (b) in the East Midlands, and (c) in the Lake District.

Electrification will play a significant role in our programme to decarbonise the railway. Network Rail’s ongoing work developing the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy will inform decisions about whether electrification or new technologies are the right option for all parts of the network where diesel trains currently run.

In deciding which schemes to take forward at each stage of the decarbonisation programme, the Department will consider the environmental impact as well as factors such as affordability; readiness of a scheme to proceed; deliverability; the disruption that might be experienced by passengers or freight operators during works; and availability of suitable rolling stock.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch Report on the accident to Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N264DB 22 nm north-north-west of Guernsey on 21 January 2019, published on 13 March, what assessment they have made of the additional checks required to ensure that pilots operating outside the Air Operations Centre structure have the required licences, certificates and ratings for the flights they undertake.

Each pilot has a legal responsibility to make sure they can safely and legally operate each flight they make. If pilots fail to comply they are flying illegally and can be subject to prosecution. Where the CAA has evidence that pilots are flying without the correct licences and ratings they will take appropriate action which can include prosecuting the offenders.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) made a recommendation that “the Civil Aviation Authority ensure that the system in place to meet the requirements of EASA Part ARA. GEN.220 is effective in maintaining accurate and up-to-date records related to personnel licences, certificates and ratings”. This was not designed to stop a pilot who chooses to operate outside the privileges of their licence, and it will not do so. Such requirements (to check licences etc) already exist for properly constituted operations in accordance with commercial regulations (with an Air Operators Certificate). The AAIB recommendation was intended to ensure that routine changes to a pilot’s licence (such as new ratings) are reflected accurately against the CAA’s record for that pilot. Pilots of private flights do not have their credentials checked every time they go flying, as such a system would be disproportionate to the risks associated with the activity.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional measures they intend to introduce to raise awareness among passengers of (1) the dangers  and (2) the potential legal repercussions, of being carried on a so-called "grey" charter flight.

The CAA conducts awareness campaigns with the aim of highlighting to the consumer the dangers of illegal operations, and what to look for when chartering an aircraft to ensure the flight is legal. One such campaign, called "Legal to Fly", is currently underway. So far this has seen the CAA distribute awareness material aimed at prospective passengers to over 200 UK airfields and commercial operators. This will be followed by a wider campaign aimed at the general travelling public that may seek to use small charter flights.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Civil Aviation Authority monitors the operation and maintenance of foreign registered aircraft based in the UK; and what assessment they have made of the number of US-registered aircraft which are habitually based in the UK.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) listed 729 American registered aircraft as resident in the UK on 17 July 2019. This includes business aviation and private non-commercial operators. The Business aviation owners will be regulated in accordance with the Commercial Air Transport rules.

The UK CAA conducts Aircraft Continuing Airworthiness Monitoring (ACAM) surveys each year and American registered and other non-UK registered aircraft are included in those samples.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action is being taken by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to address urgently the findings of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch over the issue of maintaining accurate and up-to-date records relating to pilot and engineer licences, certificates and ratings issued by the CAA.

The CAA is actively studying the recommendations from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and will take whatever action is necessary. A programme to update its licensing administration system is currently underway. At no time have any issues with these systems affected its ability to accurately process and issue licences.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review urgently the legislation relating to cost sharing of flights and day leasing of aircraft.

The Department for Transport and the CAA keep all existing legislation under constant review, in order to maintain the UK's high standards of aviation safety. Cost-sharing was not applicable to the accident involving Emiliano Sala, although the Air Accidents Investigation Branch report refers to the practice in a more general context. American registered aircraft are subject to US cost-sharing rules which apply the ‘common purpose’ principle. There was no common purpose between the pilot and passenger on the accident flight, and so cost-sharing was not applicable.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons why owners of high performance light aircraft based in the UK choose to register such aircraft on the US aircraft register under a Trust arrangement, rather than the UK aircraft register.

The operation of non-UK registered aircraft in the UK is permitted under regulations made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The government commissioned an independent review into the UK approach to general aviation (GA) safety. This report is currently out for consultation, and can be viewed on the CAA’s website. While it looks at GA safety in the round, it found that traditionally the two main reasons why people may register aircraft on the US register are the ability to use a US Federal Aviation Administration Pilot Instrument Rating, and a sometimes-different approach to maintenance requirements.

These reasons are becoming less significant with the development of the new European Basic Instrument Rating to provide greater and easier access to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flying and the introduction of a new Part M Light maintenance regime for private non-commercial aircraft.

Full findings on the use of N-Registered aircraft in the UK GA sector are available at Appendix C-2 5.0 of the aforementioned review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the freight capacity of the East–West railway from Oxford to Cambridge.

The strategic scope for East West Rail is currently being developed. EWR Co. are considering provision for freight, ensuring the route will support existing freight, and are currently undertaking a study to understand potential freight use.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the number of British staff working for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, (2) how many of those work outside the UK, and (3) how many of those have agreed to return to the UK to work.

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to make a statement to Parliament about their plan to leave the European Union Aviation Safety Agency; and why they chose to share this information first with Aviation Week on 6 December 2019.

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the capacity of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take over the role of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in respect of the UK; and what level of additional resources the CAA will require to do so.

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the aerospace sector was formally consulted prior to their announcement that they plan to leave the European Union Aviation Safety Agency; and if so, what was the view of that sector of the potential impact of those plans on aviation safety.

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have contributed towards the cost of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in each of the last five years; and what estimate they have made of the total cost within the first year of establishment of the proposed new system to be led by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the level of air traffic noise over the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (2) the reasons for any change in such noise levels, and (3) the level of consultation undertaken in relation to changes in air traffic in that area.

The airspace and noise issues surrounding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were considered in the Department’s Airspace Policy consultation in 2017. The outcome of this work was the Air Navigation Guidance 2017 which is reflected in the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) airspace change process. The guidance for this process sets out the level of consultation required for airspace change proposals. The guidance also requires airspace change sponsors to have regard to the statutory purpose of AONBs when developing proposals.

The government has not conducted an assessment of aircraft noise over the Shropshire Hills AONB. Any airspace changes affecting the Shropshire Hills AONB would need to follow the CAA’s airspace change process.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many additional charging points are planned for installation on UK motorways by the end of 2020.

Chargepoints at Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) are installed by commercial operators. The Government is aware of the importance of ensuring chargepoint provision across the Strategic Road Network (SRN) to support the uptake of electric vehicles and to combat range anxiety. Highways England has committed £15m to ensure that there are chargepoints (rapid where possible) every 20 miles on 95% of the SRN by the end of 2020.

Last year, work commenced to review the provision of rapid and higher-powered charge points along England’s SRN and we aim to report on this in Spring 2020.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to synchronise any increased demand on the UK electricity supply in line with the growth of electric vehicle usage and the availability of charging points.

We will be engaging with stakeholders, including network companies, to ensure that increasing demand can be accommodated, whilst minimising the impact on businesses, workers and consumers across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures in place.

The electricity market is already set up to promote investment in generation capacity to meet demand; for example, the Contracts for Difference scheme facilitates significant investment in low-carbon generation. This complements numerous measures to ensure a smarter, more flexible energy system, increasing the efficiency of the electricity system to prepare for electric vehicles (EVs).

‘Smart’ charging of EVs (at off-peak times) can reduce demand from EV charging at peak times; the Government has taken powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to mandate that all charge points sold or installed in the UK must be smart enabled and we have recently consulted on secondary regulations. The Government has also invested £30 million to support vehicle-to-grid technology, where the storage capability of EV batteries provides electricity back to the grid.

Ofgem, the independent energy regulator, is developing its next set of energy network price controls to incentivise network companies to be ready for the future needs of the energy system, including the required capacity to support EVs. Ofgem has a performance-based framework to set price controls, the RIIO (Revenue=Incentives+Innovation+Outputs). Ofgem uses price controls to determine the revenues companies recover, investment they make and performance standards they must deliver. Ofgem’s next RIIO framework will ensure companies make the case for investment needed to support decarbonisation. As part of the RIIO process, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) forecast the likely uptake of EVs, in order to shape investment plans for reinforcing the network. The regime allows DNOs to seek approval from Ofgem for increased funding, should load growth be significantly higher than anticipated during the price control period.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the estimated increased impact from electric vehicles on the UK power grid system is likely to be by 2035; and what factors were considered in making that assessment.

The latest National Grid Future Energy Scenarios report was published last year and sets out the impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) on the electricity system. The electricity market is already set up to promote investment in generation capacity to meet demand; for example, the Contracts for Difference scheme facilitates significant investment in low-carbon generation.

In February this year, the Government launched a consultation on bringing forward an end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans from 2040. The responses to the consultation will inform our analysis and research, to consider any future grid demand scenarios.

The Government will continue to engage with stakeholders at all stages of the electricity system, including Distribution Network Operators, to ensure they are able to fulfil required capacity. Existing mechanisms help to ensure that network and generating capacity will stay in step with growing EV demand, and our work on the smart charging of EVs, at off-peak times, can reduce demand from EV charging at peak times.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they plan to take to inform consumers about the comparative carbon footprint generated by different electric vehicles in their production.

Vehicle manufacture is a global industry and there is no agreed harmonised approach that can be used to inform consumers of the comparative carbon footprint of the production of different vehicles. The Government does not have any current plans to inform consumers about the comparative carbon footprint generated by different electric vehicles in their production. We expect the transition to zero emission motoring to be industry led and supported by the measures set out in the Road to Zero strategy.

In 2018, the Department for Transport developed the Transport Energy Model, published alongside the Road to Zero strategy, to provide a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts of different road vehicle technologies and fuels. This showed that battery electric vehicles in the UK have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles, even when taking into account the energy mix of the electricity to charge the battery and the electricity used for battery production. This largely agrees with full life cycle analyses (which also account for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle manufacture) from independent sources.

Emission values are highly dependent on the electricity mix of the country in which the vehicle is charged, and the country(/ies) in which the vehicle, battery and other parts are manufactured. They will also vary according to model type, car size and miles driven. To obtain full environmental benefits, electric vehicles and their batteries need to be manufactured using electricity from carbon-free sources.

The UK’s £274 million Faraday Battery Challenge is taking steps to ensure the batteries used in electric vehicles are sustainable. This includes research into greenhouse gas emissions over the lifecycle of a battery, from raw materials to end-of-life.

By 2050, as the electric grid decarbonises and we further establish UK electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, we expect battery electric vehicles produced and driven in the UK to reach near zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for a standardised formula for assessing vehicular carbon footprint to ensure a reliable comparative assessment system that has public confidence.

We have not made an assessment of the case for a standardised formula for assessing vehicle carbon footprint.

However, the Government has carried out a relative assessment, in terms of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, of different fuel and powertrain options based on outputs from the Transport Energy Model, which was published alongside the Road to Zero strategy in 2018. The modelling makes clear that, even with the current electricity grid emissions, battery electric vehicles are estimated to have greenhouse gas emissions 66% lower than a petrol car and 60% lower than a diesel car. Between now and 2050 we project that grid emissions will fall by around 90%, with total emissions from electric vehicles falling in parallel.

As well as considering the greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, we have also considered the emissions from battery production. As battery production is an energy intensive process we would also expect these emissions to fall over the period to 2050. We are clear that battery electric vehicles have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles even when taking into account the electricity source and electricity used for battery production.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 10 February (HL Deb, col 2066), which organisations have been asked to contribute to their review of the safety of general aviation; and whether that includes the Air Charter Association.

The organisations engaged with as part of the General Aviation safety review are listed below. The independent general aviation safety review, funded by the Department for Transport, is focused on non-commercial aviation, often referred to as recreational aviation. The Air Charter Association is rightly concerned with illegal public transport activity and is engaging with the Civil Aviation Authority on the matter. Given their commercial focus they were not included in the consultation for this non-commercial aviation safety review; noting that illegal commercial activity does not fall within the direct scope of the review. Within the context of the recreational aviation review, the Air Charter Association may wish to submit a response to the forthcoming consultation on the recommendations of the review.

The UK Approach to Recreational General Aviation Safety review engaged with the following organisations:

  • GA Partnership – A CAA-led group of industry, regulator and government.

  • GASCo - General Aviation Safety Council

  • PPL IR Europe

  • BGA - British Gliding Association

  • AOPA - Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

  • BMAA - British Microlight Aircraft Association

  • LAA - Light Aircraft Association

  • GAA - General Aviation Alliance

  • EASA - European Aviation Safety Agency

  • EASA GA Task Force Member (EAS)

  • GAAC - General Aviation Awareness Council

  • UKAB - United Kingdom Airprox Board

  • AAIB - Air Accidents Investigation Branch

  • GBASF - General and Business Aviation Strategic Forum

  • AOG - Airfield Operators Group

  • GA Advocate

  • BAAC - British Balloon and airship club

  • UKFSC - UK Flight Safety Committee

  • CHIRP - Aviation and Maritime Confidential Incident Reporting

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 10 February (HL Deb, col 2066), whether they are considering the rules around cost sharing as part of their review of the safety of general aviation.

The independent general aviation safety review, funded by the Department for Transport, is focused on non-commercial aviation, often referred to as recreational aviation. Cost sharing is considered in terms of setting out the rules and benefits of a properly conducted cost sharing flight which should support private pilots to ensure they do not inadvertently step beyond the rules. The review “UK Approach to Recreational General Aviation Safety: An Independent Review” will be published shortly as part of a wider consultation process on the review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to invest in the development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to encourage the adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Government is supporting development of the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), recognising that the market is at an early stage. Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme aims to increase the uptake of FCEVs and grow the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations. The programme is delivering nine new refuelling stations, upgrading five existing stations and deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles across the UK.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that railway franchise holders improve mobile phone signal coverage on trains.

The Department recognises the importance of providing mobile connectivity for rail passengers and has sought improvements when franchises are renewed. In both the new East Midlands and West Coast Partnership franchises, the operators have committed to improving mobile connectivity for their passengers on trains and at stations. Beyond these franchises, we continue to seek other opportunities to enhance mobile connectivity across the rail network. In particular, the Department has been working with Ofcom, Network Rail and others to improve the data available about mobile phone signals along rail corridors so that operators can take this into account. This was published by Ofcom in December 2019.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the anticipated uptake of electric vehicles by 2040; and what plans they have to ensure that such uptake targets are met.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. This reflects the advice from the Committee on Climate Change – to make sure that the UK meets its net zero by 2050 commitments.

As part of the consultation, we are asking what the accompanying package of support will need to be to enable the transition and minimise the impacts on consumers and businesses across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place. We plan to conclude the consultation in the summer.

We are currently investing nearly £1.5bn? between April 2015 and March 2021, with grants available for electric cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, as well schemes to support charge point infrastructure at homes and workplaces and on residential streets.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the anticipated impact by 2040 on total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK from Government measures to reduce emissions from vehicles; whether there are interim emissions targets in place; and if so, what they are.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan, announced last year, will be published later this year. Ahead of that, a call for engagement, setting the scale of the challenge, will include the department’s forecasts of emissions based on current policies. We already recognise the need to go further than current plans, as shown by the announcement earlier this month on new cars and vans.

In that announcement, the Prime Minister set out a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible. This reflects the advice from the Committee on Climate Change – to make sure that the UK meets its net zero by 2050 commitments. The consultation’s purpose will be to identify what the accompanying package of support will need to be to enable the transition and minimise the impacts on consumers and businesses across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place. We plan to conclude the consultation in the summer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what increases in electric supply they envisage in order to meet any increased electricity demand across the UK from electric vehicles.

The electricity market is already set up to promote investment in generation capacity to meet demand; for example, the Contracts for Difference scheme facilitates significant investment in low-carbon generation. We are confident that the grid will be able to cope with increased demand from electric vehicles.

‘Smart’ charging of electric vehicles can reduce demands from electric vehicle charging at peak times by building in flexibility. The Government has taken powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to mandate that all chargepoints sold or installed in the UK must be smart enabled, and we have recently consulted on secondary regulations. The Government is engaging with Ofgem and industry to ensure demand from electric vehicles can be accommodated.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce additional incentives to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles; and when they intend to put those plans in place.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. This reflects the advice from the Committee on Climate Change – to make sure that the UK meets its net zero by 2050 commitments.

As part of the consultation, we are asking what the accompanying package of support will need to be to enable the transition and minimise the impacts on consumers and businesses across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place. We plan to conclude the consultation in the summer.

We are currently investing nearly £1.5bn? between April 2015 and March 2021, with grants available for electric cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, as well schemes to support charge point infrastructure at homes and workplaces and on residential streets.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for the provision of new facilities on smart motorways in order to ensure the safety of electric vehicles in the event of breakdown.

We want our roads to be as safe as possible. That is why the Secretary of State asked the Department to carry out an evidence stocktake to gather the facts about the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. The Department will present the findings of the stocktake shortly.

While I would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads. I will write to you as soon as the stocktake is completed to answer your specific questions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the review into safety on Smart Motorways is expected to be completed; and when they intend to publish the findings of that review.

The Secretary of State for Transport heard the concerns about smart motorways and asked the Department to carry out, at pace, an evidence stocktake to gather the facts quickly and make recommendations.

While I would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to a reduction of maximum permitted speeds on Smart Motorways either (1) pending the outcome of their review on Smart Motorways or (2) as part of any plans to improve the safety of such motorways.

The Secretary of State for Transport heard the concerns about smart motorways and asked the Department to carry out, at pace, an evidence stocktake to gather the facts quickly and make recommendations.

While I would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the length of trains used for cross country routes; and if so, when they expect such trains to be introduced.

The Department is currently working with the Cross Country operator to put in place additional capacity enhancements during 2021, and it is expected this will be achieved through longer trains, rather than extra services.

In addition, further rolling stock options are being considered for the next Franchise.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many electric vehicle charging points have been installed at car parks operated by Network Rail; where those charging points have been installed; and what is Network Rail’s programme for future installation of such points.

There are 35 car parks that are owned by Network Rail and operated on its behalf directly. Two charging points will be installed shortly at two of these stations, London Victoria and Birmingham New Street. Network Rail is developing plans to install 180 charging points across the 35 stations operated on its behalf by 2024. My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State, has also recently written to Network Rail asking them to accelerate their plans for installing electric vehicle charge points.

Other car parks are owned by Network Rail but operated by Train Operating Companies. Network Rail is currently collecting the charging point data for these car parks before developing a charging point strategy for them.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their planned timetable for the introduction of legislation to regulate the use of electric scooters and other similar vehicles.

The Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, published on 19 March 2019, includes a commitment to conduct a Regulatory Review to address the challenges of ensuring our transport infrastructure and regulation are fit for the future.

One strand of this will look at options for enabling uptake of safe and sustainable micromobility devices. A consultation is planned to be issued shortly.

No timetable for the introduction of legislation for micromobility has been set as this is dependent on the outcomes of the consultation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the main terms of the contract held by Ecotricity for the provision of electric charging points at motorway services; who are the parties to this contract; and whether it covers the (1) provision of prompt repair of charging points when required, (2) regular maintenance of those charging points, and (3) 24-hour helpline for motorists using those services.

This contract is a commercial matter between Ecotricity and the Motorway Service Areas (MSAs).

The Government recognises the urgent need for a joined up and reliable charging provision on the strategic road network and is working with industry to ensure this is established. Highways England has dedicated funding of £15m to ensure that its total network is within 20 miles of an electric vehicle chargepoint. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is currently undertaking a review (Project Rapid) into current provision and future demand for rapid and higher-powered chargepoints for cars and vans along England’s strategic road network. Should it become necessary to regulate, the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act gives the Government powers to improve the experience of using chargepoints by setting reliability and maintenance stands to ensure chargepoints are accessible and to require availability of chargepoint data including charge location, if they are available for use and whether they are in working order.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the planned asset transfer between Transport for Wales and Network Rail has now been approved by the Secretary of State; and whether that was done in time for the planned implementation on 31 January.

Officials from the Department for Transport, Her Majesty’s Treasury and Network Rail continue to work closely with colleagues from the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales on the divestment of the Core Valley Lines. The Department and partners remain on target to consider the necessary approvals and deliver this divestment by the agreed contractual date, which has always been 31 March 2020.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of individuals who are entitled to claim Bereavement Support Payments fail to do so; and how information on these payments and their criteria for eligibility are disseminated to the general public.

Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) was introduced in April 2017, to replace Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Bereavement Allowance and Bereavement Payments. To date no assessment has been made of what percentage of individuals, who are entitled to claim Bereavement Support Payments, fail to do so.

Information is available which aims to ensure people are aware of bereavement support payment and how to claim it. The way such information is made available is under constant review. As well as traditional sources of information (such as leaflets), we have worked with funeral directors, Registrars and voluntary groups to try to ensure people are fully informed of the action to take following the loss of a husband, wife or civil partner. Further information about the benefits to which they are entitled and how to claim them can be found on the government services and information website at www.gov.uk.

Following the report of a death to the department’s ‘DWP Bereavement Service’, an eligibility check for BSP will be undertaken, and a claim can be taken over the phone. If a death is reported via the ‘Tell Us Once service’, the customer will receive a notification stating that there may be financial support available from the department. The notification includes the telephone number for DWP Bereavement Service and the gov.uk link.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any of the UK delegates to (1) the 74th meeting of the World Health Assembly, and (2) the 149th session of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, were qualified nurses; and if so, whether these delegates attended specifically to represent the nursing profession.

No members of the United Kingdom delegation were qualified nurses.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what inspections they are undertaking on the (1) quality, and (2) standards, of accommodation and services provided in hotels contracted to provide quarantine facilities for passengers arriving from countries on the red list during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they are taking to supervise such hotels to ensure (a) that vulnerable people are protected, and (b) that the regulations on isolation are properly followed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Department has contracted to provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week liaison officer cover in all managed quarantine hotels. We receive daily reports from the embedded liaison officers for each hotel providing assurance of the facilities provided and ensure any areas of concern are addressed. We also engage with hotels and service providers on a regular basis to monitor the quality and effectiveness of services provided.

We have allocated resources to ensure that vulnerable people in quarantine hotels are signposted to the appropriate support and follow safeguarding procedures where appropriate. All hotels have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week security presence and access to an onsite medic. All hotels and security providers assigned to the quarantine service follow our standard operating procedures to ensure that guests remain in a COVID-19 secure environment for the entirety of their stay.

26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the research by Mark Ashworth et al 'Spatio-temporal associations of air pollutant concentrations, GP respiratory consultations and respiratory inhaler prescriptions: a 5-year study of primary care in the borough of Lambeth, South London', published in Environmental Health on 7 May.

Epidemiological studies have shown that long-term exposure to air pollution (over years or lifetimes) reduces life expectancy, mainly due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Short-term exposure (over hours or days) to elevated levels of air pollution can also cause a range of health impacts, including effects on lung function, exacerbation of asthma, increases in respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and mortality.

The Ashworth et al (2021) study adds to the existing evidence base that exposure to air pollution can cause adverse respiratory effects, concluding that short- and long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, PM10 and PM2.5 particles are associated with an increase in the daily number of General Practitioner respiratory consultations and inhaler prescriptions.

26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to enable universities to use their residential accommodation as so-called “quarantine hotels” for international students arriving in UK from countries for which a period of quarantine is required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is currently exploring the options for international students arriving in the United Kingdom from ‘red list’ countries. However, we have no current plans to enable universities to use their residential accommodation as managed quarantine facilities for international students.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the payment rate per COVID-19 vaccination administered by (1) a GP in a GP surgery, (2) a qualified pharmacist in a setting outside a GP surgery, and (3) other trained personnel in a mass vaccination location; what is the cost breakdown for each payment; and what is the reason for adopting a differential payment structure.

Payments for both general practitioner-led services and community pharmacy contractors are set at £12.58 per dose administered, regardless of the role of the staff member that is delivering the vaccine. This is set out in the respective enhanced service specifications for both models of vaccine delivery. This rate has been set at a level of 25% more than the current £10.06 received for an influenza vaccination. This is in recognition of the need for extra training, post-vaccine observation, and other associated costs with delivering COVID-19 vaccines beyond the supply of vaccines, consumables, and requisite equipment which is supplied at no cost to contractors.

Supplementary payments are also made available on an ad-hoc basis at the discretion of NHS England where contractors are required to deliver vaccines in a different way or to a specific timescale, such as in care homes, to reflect the additional costs of doing so. National Health Service trusts operating the hospital hub or vaccination centre delivery model are not paid on a per item basis. The additional costs of delivering vaccinations are reclaimable from NHS England by trusts. This approach reflects and is consistent with existing differences in the contractual relationships between NHS England and NHS trusts and foundation trusts and with primary care contractors.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to include airline pilots and cabin crew in the priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who provide advice to Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use, and which groups to prioritise. Whilst there is a desire for the whole UK population to be vaccinated, there may need to be an element of prioritisation - based on availability, evidence on safety and efficacy in different population groups and constraints in supply.

The committee – in their interim advice - have advised that for Phase 1, the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors in the initial phase. We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as further data emerges in preparation for Phase 2 including for critical workers in other essential sectors. Our vaccination programmes are led by the latest scientific evidence and we expect the Committee’s advice to develop as more evidence is gathered.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 15 October (HL7812), which organisation is responsible for the operation of the COVID-19 testing facility based at Gatwick airport; whether that facility is carrying out tests; and if so, on what date tests were first carried out at that site.

The service provider for the Regional Test Site at Gatwick airport is Sodexo. The site is currently open and operating. The site came online on 8 April 2020.

3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what COVID-19 testing capabilities exist at Gatwick Airport; and how much any such testing capabilities have been used in each of the last eight weeks.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the increased provision of low dead space needles in needle and syringe exchanges in England.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes providing needle and syringe programmes in their areas.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that local areas commission services which offer and encourage the use of low dead-space needles and syringes. The guidance on Needle and syringe programmes is attached.

Public Health England supports local authorities in their work of needs assessment and commissioning services by providing advice, guidance and data.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) testing, and (2) treatment, for hepatitis C continues in prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise that the need to focus on COVID-19 response across prison establishments has had an adverse impact on the number of people in prisons tested and able to access treatment for hepatitis C.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently working proactively with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service partners and other key stakeholders on a programme of restoration and recovery of key services. As Blood Borne Virus testing forms part of the Public Health Section 7a agreement with Public Health England, this work is being prioritised.

It is anticipated a full resumption of the hepatitis C elimination programme will take place from October 2020.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rise in COVID-19 infections in Uganda; what assessment they have made of the scale of the shortage of (1) oxygen, (2) personal protective equipment, and (3) other medical supplies in that country; and whether they intend to provide emergency aid to the government of Uganda to assist with these problems.

Uganda is currently experiencing a COVID resurgence with a rise in weekly cases from 3,228 to 9,525 from May 23-29 to June 13-19. Although a lock down was put in place on 18th June, cases are expected to remain high. The surge in cases has increased demand for critical supplies including oxygen, with current capacity meeting only 10% of projected daily oxygen cylinder consumption rates. The expansion of patient care to more health facilities has also resulted in increased consumption of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing supplies and kits. An increased supply, particularly of gloves and masks, is needed.

In response to the current crisis the UK has committed £500,000 to UNICEF Uganda's COVID-19 appeal - vital support that will benefit over 1.8 million people across Uganda. The funding will support an increase in oxygen production and delivery, and improve the availability of PPE at selected health facilities, to help keep health care workers safe. Immediate benefits include the purchase of 100 7,500-litre oxygen cylinders and the provision of operational support to four oxygen plants for three months. UK support will also enable the procurement and installation of a new oxygen plant, boosting Uganda's oxygen production capabilities. In addition, funding will support the training of health care workers in PPE and oxygen use.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of cuts to Official Development Assistance on (1) university research, and (2) the UK’s soft power across the world.

The Covid pandemic's economic impact has forced the government to take the difficult decision to temporarily reduce ODA to 0.5% of GNI. Despite this reduction, we will remain a world-leading ODA donor, spending around £10 billion on ODA in 2021-22. The Foreign Secretary has set out a strategic approach to ensure maximum impact for our aid spend for 2021-22, laying a Written Ministerial Statement for Parliament in January, summarising overall departmental cross-government allocations of ODA. FCDO and other departments are working through the implications of their allocations for the research programmes they manage with universities.

The UK has led funding for scientific advances that have helped drive significant reductions in extreme poverty, increases in agricultural productivity, declines in childhood mortality, and increases in life expectancy across the developing world. We remain committed to the use of ODA to support research that can provide new solutions to critical challenges in development.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the White Cliffs Site for the Inland Border facility is being reduced to 25 per cent of its original size; and what plans they have to sell off the rest of the site.

The original site was intended to be used by both HMRC and Defra. The recent decision, which also took into consideration the concerns of local residents, means that the site will now be an HMRC facility only and therefore smaller than the original plans.

Department for Transport, as site owners, are currently evaluating all options before making a decision on the future of the remainder of the land.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reduction in the planned size of the Inland Border Facility at the White Cliffs Site, whether they still expect that the North Downs Way will need to be rerouted; and if so, (1) when they expect construction at that site to commence, and (2) why it has not already begun.

The Government is currently agreeing the final design for the site and assessing any effect this may have on the North Downs Way. It is working closely with Natural England to reach the right decision.

The project was paused pending the review of the Dover White Cliffs facility. Following the decision that HMRC will be the sole occupant, they are now finalising their plans including engaging commercial partners. Work on the access road is due to commence shortly.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of why the use of the inland border facilities in Kent was less than was predicted prior to the end of the Transition period with the European Union.

The Government has successfully delivered Inland Border Facilities (IBFs) to address the issue of some ports not having sufficient space to develop the infrastructure needed for customs control.

The IBF network has been designed to manage peak demand which is expected to be reached in 2022, following the end of staged customs control. The demand forecasts used for planning purposes are based on a reasonable worst-case scenario in order to ensure there is sufficient capacity at IBFs in 2021 and beyond.

There are a number of factors which affect demand at IBFs including the overall levels of trade and the number of traders choosing to delay declarations under staged customs controls.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the funding available through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility; what plans they have to extend the term for such loans beyond 12 months; and how they intend to make such loans more accessible to the aviation industry.

The Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) was set up in March 2020 to provide short-term liquidity for fundamentally strong firms. It was introduced during a period of exceptional volatility in financial markets to support corporate markets and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

As corporate credit conditions are increasingly supportive, the CCFF will close to new issuance from 23 March. Firms that have already accessed the scheme and meet the requirements are able to extend their loans for up to twelve months, providing funding until March 2022.

The CCFF has helped large corporates across a range of sectors, including the aviation industry. In total, the CCFF has provided over £34bn of support to some of the UK’s largest firms, directly supporting businesses responsible for almost 2.5 million jobs in the UK.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of Covid-19 and HM Treasury continues to support the Department for Transport’s work leading the Global Travel Taskforce to facilitate a resumption of international travel. Firms can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including flexibilities with tax bills and the extended furlough scheme. The aerospace sector and its aviation customers are also being supported with almost £11 billion made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, and grants for research and development. This includes £8bn of UK Export Finance Guarantees.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish statistics on UK–EU trade based on information gained from the additional border checks now in place.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics. UK trade data is published by HMRC via their dedicated website.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their proposed sites for freeports and free zones include the seven UK sites that had this status until 2012.

Freeport locations will be chosen according to the fair, open and transparent selection process, as set out in the Freeports Bidding Prospectus. This is a competitive process and all ports across the country were eligible to apply for Freeport status, regardless of whether or not they had Freeport status until 2012.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the article by the Institute for Fiscal Studies Up to £10 billion of the Chancellor's 'Plan for Jobs' will be funded by underspends on previously planned projects, published on 16 July, how much money included in the Summer Economic Statement had not already been announced or included in previous economic statements; and what steps they are taking to improve the transparency and accuracy of fiscal announcements and statements.

Since the start of the pandemic the government has provided support for people, businesses and public services worth more than £200 billion.

The Plan for Jobs in July set out ambitious capital investment plans to accelerate £8.6 billion of decarbonisation, infrastructure and maintenance projects. As set out in the Plan for Jobs document, this included £5.6 billion of infrastructure projects announced by the PM to start many projects sooner than previously planned. The package was to fund additional activity in 2020-21 and 2021-22, both by accelerating planned programmes and funding new projects to help support jobs and improve our infrastructure. It is funded by a mix of additional funding and underspends in 2020-21, with future years coming from the spending envelope announced at Budget. The Chancellor will be setting out further capital investment plans at the Spending Review, with details outlined in the accompanying document.

In the usual way, the Office for Budget Responsibility will provide their independent assessment of the effect of government policy on the economy and public finances when they publish their forecast alongside the Spending Review on 25 November.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their Consultation on the potential approach to duty- and tax-free goods arising from the UK’s new relationship with the EU: summary of responses, published in September, did not invite responses on the impact of the removal of the Extra Statutory Concession on VAT on goods supplied at duty-free and tax-free shops; what assessment they have made of the impact of that removal on the operating profits of individual airports; and what estimate they have made of the total impact of that change (1) on GDP, and (2) on the number of job losses that may result from it.

The Government published a consultation on the potential approach to duty-free and tax-free goods following the transition period which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation.

The consultation document discussed the Government’s concerns with the operation of tax-free airside sales under the extra statutory concession, and asked about the impacts of abolishing them. In particular, paragraph 4.26 was an open question about whether the Government should extend airside tax-free sales, and paragraph 4.27 was a question specifically about views and impacts of abolishing airside tax-free sales.

The Government continues to meet and discuss the change with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their decision not to extend relief from business rates to airports in England.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation industry as a result of COVID-19. Firms experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19 can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

The Government will continue to engage closely with the sector on the impact of COVID-19.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement on 12 June of an additional £50 million being made available for customs agent recruitment, training and IT, what that money is intended to cover; and what assessment they have made of the statement by the Road Haulage Association that the amount of money allocated is insufficient.

The Government has already injected £34 million into growing the intermediary sector, in order to encompass EU trade after 2020. Thousands of agents, freight forwarders and parcel operators have taken advantage of this funding to make improvements, from IT hardware to staff training. To date, this funding has supported over 20,000 training courses, nearly 15,000 units of IT, the recruitment of an additional 600 new customs agents, and the online customs academy training centre (where Government has procured training capacity directly) which has delivered 1,139 courses so far.

The new £50 million support package will further boost the capacity of the customs intermediary sector to help provide businesses with support ahead of the new processes taking effect in July 2021. Having listened to industry feedback, the focus of support will continue to be on IT, recruitment, and training. This new investment will provide a significant boost to the sector and build on the success of the grant scheme to date.

This additional funding is one element of the wider package of measures announced in June to help lay the foundations for a diverse, innovative and competitive intermediary sector. The Government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients, and allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the reduction in VAT announced on 8 July to the purchase of electric vehicles.

VAT is a broad-based tax on consumption and the standard rate of 20 per cent applies to most goods and services. As was acknowledged at Budget 2020, VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances and helps fund the Government's spending priorities including health, schools, and defence.

Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of electric vehicles at present.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government where they plan to locate inspection zones for vehicles travelling into the UK via the port of Dover.

On 12 June the Government committed to building new border facilities in Great Britain to carry out the required checks following the end of the transition period, building inland port facilities where there is no space at ports for new infrastructure. The Government will also provide targeted support to ports to build new infrastructure.

The Government is consulting with ports across the UK to agree what infrastructure is required.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 50,000 additional UK customs agents required after the end of the transition period have been recruited so far; and how many have completed their training.

The UK has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries which serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The sector is varied and made up of a number of different business models including specific customs brokers, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators; all of which will require varied numbers of staff. Government support of £34m has been designed flexibly to meet the needs of the sector to build capacity by covering training and IT innovation, as well as recruitment.

This funding has led to almost 20,000 applications for customs training courses with providers. These courses will teach all the necessary skills required to handle customs declarations, and include the online UK Customs Academy founded by HMRC.

HMRC do not employ customs agents/customs intermediaries directly and the 50,000 figure is an industry calculation.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a business rate relief scheme for airports in England.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday have also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings have taken place between Treasury ministers and representatives of (1) UK airlines, (2) UK airports, and (3) aerospace manufacturers, in the last three months.

Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of any future revenue deficit due to a decrease in sales of petrol and diesel fuel as a result of an increase in clean energy alternatives; and what plans they have, if any, to compensate for such loss.

Fuel duty will continue to play an important role in the tax system in the short and medium term. Technology is changing many aspects of the economy, including vehicles, and the Government keeps under active consideration how the tax system will need to adapt to manage these changes.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether deferred Air Passenger Duty relief is congruent with state aid and competition rules.

As announced on 14 January, HM Treasury is undertaking a review of Air Passenger Duty to ensure regional connectivity is strengthened while meeting the UK’s climate change commitments to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and uses a range of levers at its disposal, including spending, taxation and regulatory policy, to meet its climate and environmental objectives.

The actions that the Government has taken are fully compliant with State Aid rules.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the environmental impact of cutting Air Passenger Duty from all domestic flights.

As announced on 14 January, HM Treasury is undertaking a review of Air Passenger Duty to ensure regional connectivity is strengthened while meeting the UK’s climate change commitments to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and uses a range of levers at its disposal, including spending, taxation and regulatory policy, to meet its climate and environmental objectives.

The actions that the Government has taken are fully compliant with State Aid rules.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the current arrangements which enable universities to sponsor overseas students to study remotely into the next academic year until international travel restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic are eased.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has operated a wide range of concessions to support international students and their sponsors, and these have been kept under regular review.

There is no requirement for students overseas who begin a course by remote study to hold a Student visa or to be sponsored by a licensed Student sponsor for study undertaken overseas.

Students who begin a course remotely are able to make an application for a visa once they intend to begin face-to-face learning in the UK. The simplified Student route allows for an application to be made up to 6 months in advance of the start date for study in the UK. This is increased from the 3 month period allowed under the former Tier 4 route, and formerly a Covid-19 concession which we have formalised in order to provide assurance to students who plan to travel to the UK for their course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by the Chief Operating Officer of Heathrow Airport that queues at border control (1) regularly exceed three hours, and (2) sometimes exceed six hours; what plans they have to provide more staff to process border procedures; and what assessment they have made of the impact of border control waiting times on the UK’s international reputation.

Wait times in airports can be caused by a number of factors, not just related to resourcing. This includes all mandated border security activity, the volume of immigration case working, additional support, specific security activity and, like many other international destinations, checks in relation to ensuring border health measures relating to the Covid-19 have been complied with.

Our teams seek to balance this range of tasking each day. Whilst mindful of passenger wait times and experience, our primary objective is to ensure the security of the border and compliance with border health measures.

Like all public services operating throughout this unprecedented global pandemic, there have been additional pressures placed on Border Force and the safety of the public and our staff remains our priority.

Resource and staffing requirements at every port, including Heathrow, are continually reviewed by Border Force working with airport operators including Heathrow Airport Ltd.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of Border Force staff at Heathrow Airport; and what steps they have taken to verify the accuracy of reports of excessive waiting times for border checks at that airport.

Wait times in airports can be caused by a number of factors, not just related to resourcing. This includes all mandated border security activity, the volume of immigration case working, additional support and checks in relation to Covid-19, and specific security activity. Our teams seek to balance this range of tasking each day. Whilst mindful of passenger wait times and experience, our primary objective is to ensure the security of the border.

Like all public services operating throughout this unprecedented global pandemic, there have been additional pressures placed on Border Force and the safety of the public and our staff remains our priority.

Resource and staffing requirements at every port, including Heathrow, are continually reviewed by Border Force working with airport operators including Heathrow Airport Ltd. Resources are deployed flexibly as and when they are required.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the requirement for additional border checks for passengers entering the UK from ‘red list’ countries on queues at (1) Heathrow airport, and (2) other airports; and what plans they have to increase the number of Border Force officers on duty dealing with passenger border checks in order to improve people’s ability to maintain social distancing.

We will never compromise on border security and continue to fill our vital function of keeping the border secure and are deploying additional officers to provide support as and when required. Border Force officers have played a vital role during this pandemic.

There is extensive signage throughout the airport – including in immigration halls – reminding passengers to adhere to the Government’s social distancing guidance, but there are points in the airport journey where social distancing is not always possible. Border Force officials implement social distancing as an effective control measure. Every airport, including Heathrow, has a responsibility to comply with social distancing and Covid measures on site.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of (1) the increase of the use of drones by law enforcement agencies in England and Wales in the last four years, and (2) the reasons for any variation between police forces in their reliance on drones.

The Home Office does not currently have any plans to update legislation on the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. The use of drones by law enforcement agencies is guided by regulations set by the Civil Aviation Authority and the use of surveillance cameras by police is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (2018) and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (2013).

The use of drones is an operational decision for individual police forces who deploy drones based on their operational needs. The Home Office does not gather any data on the use of drones by law enforcement agencies.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government at what stage of development is the Electronic Travel Authorisation system; and when they intend the system to come into use.

The Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme requires primary legislation. It will be developed for delivery as part of the wider multi-year programme of change to the UK’s Points-Based Border and Immigration system.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the errors made by the Home Office in the case of Saiful Islam, originally from Bangladesh and now living in Cardiff; whether they still intend to deport him; and what steps they intend to take to ensure that such errors do not occur in future in relation to other cases.

All applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with the immigration rules. Since Mr Islam’s case came to light, we have apologised to him for the errors made in relation to criminality checks, and rolled-out a new training package for all staff entitled ‘Data Protection in the Home Office.

Although not in direct response to Mr Islam’s case in particular, this training course aims to enhance data protection awareness and understanding throughout the Home Office workforce.

Mr Islam is not subject to removal action at present.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare for when both the CE and UK Conformity Assessed markings will be accepted for construction materials; how they will ensure there are enough testing facilities for each type of product; and how many new testing facilities they estimate will be required for products that are currently tested in the EU.

Since January 2021, construction products that meet UK requirements and bear the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark can be placed on the market in Great Britain. To provide sufficient time for businesses to transition to the new requirements and to ensure that the supply of construction materials continues to meet demand, construction products can continue for a time-limited period to be placed on the market in Great Britain without any need for reassessment or re-marking if EU requirements are met - this includes products bearing the CE marking.

The Government is working closely with industry to help them manage these changes for all goods sectors, including construction products. There are capacity and capability constraints for UK conformity assessment bodies to assess construction products against some UK designated standards. We are working with industry to identify the right support, and any interventions that may be required, to ensure that products can continue to be placed on the market in Great Britain.

However, businesses must prepare for the end of recognition of the CE mark in Great Britain, and affix the UKCA marking using a UK-recognised approved body. Guidance explaining the necessary actions for businesses to take was published in September, and legislation to enable this came into force on 31 December 2020. We have engaged extensively with stakeholders to assess issues and develop mitigations, including for Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP) system 3 products. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will soon be updating its guidance to provide further detail on what industry must do to prepare for the end of recognition of the CE mark in Great Britain for construction products.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether universities will be eligible to bid to the Shared Prosperity Fund for funding for research projects.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be a flagship policy in delivering this Government’s commitment to level up the country and will target the people and places most in need across the UK. It will be focused on our domestic priorities and seize the opportunities that come from our departure from the EU and the bureaucracy of EU structural funds.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms.  We will publish further details about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in a UK-wide Investment Framework later in 2021 and its funding profile will be set out at the next Spending Review.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require all new-build (1) residential, and (2) commercial, developments to have electric vehicle charging points.

The government consulted in 2019 on options to amend the building regulations to require electric vehicle chargepoints in residential and non-residential buildings. We will publish a response, which will set out our plans for the new requirements coming into effect.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that money saved by local authorities is spent on improving (1) the standard, and (2) the availability, of public lavatories should the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill be passed by Parliament.

The Government recognises the importance of public lavatories. The Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill would provide a 100% business rates relief to properties that consist wholly or mainly of public lavatories. This would reduce running costs and help keep these valuable public amenities open. The Government recognises that local authorities are best placed to make decisions on spending based on local needs and priorities and has a long-standing policy of not ring-fencing funding.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on Crawley and the surrounding area of the redundancies announced by Gatwick Airport; and what plans they have to provide additional support to the local authorities concerned.

Government is working with the Crawley Economic Recovery Task Force to support Crawley and the surrounding area.

We have provided local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, allocating £4.3 billion of support for?spending?pressures, including £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund. Crawley Borough Council have received £1.39 million in emergency grant funding.

We are also supporting local authorities to help local businesses. Government has put forward a package of support for businesses to help with ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This includes the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF). As of 30 August, Crawley Borough Council have paid out over £12.5 million to 886 business premises under the SBGF and RHLGF. They are also working hard to deliver grants to local businesses under the LADGF.

Government has recently awarded the Coast to Capital LEP £19.2 million from the new Getting Building Fund for a wide range of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy. Over £8 million has been awarded to a proposal to create a new innovation centre in Crawley, bringing together major innovation-led businesses.

We have recently received Crawley's Town Investment Plan as part of the government's Towns Fund. This sets out Crawley's vision to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of Crawley, accounting for Covid-19 impacts, to deliver long term economic and productivity growth. Government is currently reviewing Crawley's Town Investment Plan and will respond shortly.

We will continue to work closely with all local authorities as they support their communities through the pandemic.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) review, and (2) lift, restrictions on the Welsh Government’s ability to borrow (a) during, and (b) after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Devolved Administrations are working closely with the UK Government to chart jointly the way through this crisis and beyond. We greatly appreciate this collaborative approach.

Through the Barnett formula the Welsh Government receives a share of funding from UK government borrowing, including during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK Government therefore has no plans to review the Welsh Government’s ability to borrow.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)