Earl of Leicester Portrait

Earl of Leicester

Conservative - Excepted Hereditary

Became Member: 23rd June 2021


2 APPG memberships (as of 13 May 2024)
Pandemic Response and Recovery, Wetlands
Land Use in England Committee
19th Jan 2022 - 28th Nov 2022


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Earl of Leicester has voted in 291 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

6 Dec 2021 - Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Earl of Leicester voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative Aye votes vs 70 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 25 Noes - 74
4 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Earl of Leicester voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 199 Noes - 132
12 Oct 2022 - Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill - View Vote Context
Earl of Leicester voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Conservative Aye votes vs 142 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 159 Noes - 151
View All Earl of Leicester 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
Lord Benyon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(4 debate interactions)
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(2 debate interactions)
Lord Strathcarron (Conservative)
(2 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(3 debate contributions)
Home Office
(3 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Earl of Leicester's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Earl of Leicester, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Earl of Leicester has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Earl of Leicester has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 35 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many (1) vacancies, and (2) roles, there were in the farming sector, in each month of 2022.

A response to the noble Lord’s Parliamentary Question of 12 July is below and attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Earl of Leicester
House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW

18 July 2022

Dear Lord Leicester,
As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of how many (1) vacancies, and (2) roles, there were in the farming sector, in each month of 2022 (HL1696). The Office for National Statistics produces statistics on both vacancies and jobs in our Vacancies and Jobs statistical publication[1]. Within this publication, estimates of both vacancies[2] and jobs[3] are produced by industry, according to the Standard Industrial Classification 2007. Within the classification, the closest industry to “farming” would be Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. With the data available, unfortunately it is not possible to provide estimates of the number of vacancies held by agricultural businesses. This is because the vacancy survey excludes businesses within the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry, owing to the disproportionate costs involved as the industry mainly consists of very small businesses with few vacancies. We are however exploring the use of online job advert data to provide better insights into labour demand by occupation, and we are hoping to publish these insights later this year.

Statistics on jobs are published on a quarterly basis and for agriculture, forestry and fishing are based on estimates of first and second jobs, either as employees or as self-employed, as measured by our Labour Force Survey[4]. As it is a survey of people within private households, it is based on respondents correctly classifying themselves within the right industry. Our most recent publication in June covered data up to March 2022 when we estimate there to have been 329,000 jobs within the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry[5]. This represented a fall of 13,000 from the previous period (December 2021), and a fall of 79,000 when compared with its pre-pandemic level in December 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

1 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/jobsandvacanciesintheuk/latest
2 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/datasets/vacanciesbyindustryvacs02
3 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/workforcejobsbyindustryjobs02
4 https://www.ons.gov.uk/surveys/informationforhouseholdsandindividuals/householdandindividualsurveys/labourforcesurvey
5 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people (1) started, and (2) completed, an (a) Entry Level 2, (b) Level 4, and (c) Level 6, arboriculture apprenticeship in each of the past five years; and what steps they are taking to increase that number.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start a career in the arboriculture sector. There have been over 5.4 million apprenticeship starts since 2010, with 99.6% of the apprenticeships budget spent to support employers of all sizes to deliver high-quality apprenticeships in the 2021/22 financial year.

To support more employers across the country to recruit new apprentices, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. This funding will not only help employers to create new apprenticeships across various sectors, including in arboriculture, but it will also cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already undergoing training, the cost of end-point assessments and any additional payments made to employers and training providers.

The below table shows apprenticeship starts and achievements for the level 2 Arborist apprenticeship standard, with a typical duration of 24 months. There have been no starts on the level 4 Arboriculturist or level 6 Professional Arboriculturist apprenticeship standards, as they are currently awaiting an appropriate end-point assessment organisation to be appointed.

Academic Year

Number of Starts

Number of Achievements

2017/18

130

0

2018/19

170

0

2019/20

170

0

2020/21

220

10

2021/22

190

20

2022/23 (Aug to Jan, as published in March 2023)

170

10

Note: Volumes are rounded to the nearest 10. Annual starts and achievements measures should not be directly compared, as apprentices will not achieve in the same year in which they started. The apprenticeship typically takes around two years to complete, and learners may take a break in learning during their apprenticeship.

The level 2 Arborist standard is presently undergoing a comprehensive review led by the trailblazer group, in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Their collective efforts aim to improve the end-point assessment process, thereby increasing the number of apprentices who successfully attain the qualification. The revised standard is scheduled to be introduced by autumn 2023.

To encourage more starts, the department is making apprenticeships more flexible for employers in all sectors, supporting them to build a skilled workforce and develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future. Furthermore, we have removed the limit to the number of apprentices that smaller employers can take on, making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to grow their businesses with the skilled apprentices they need. The department also provides £1,000 to employers and training providers when they take on certain younger apprentices.

The department continues to actively promote apprenticeships in schools and colleges through our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge Programme. This free service provides resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships by giving them up-to-date information on the options available, including apprenticeships in arboriculture sector.

We do not hold information on the number of employers and professional bodies in the arboriculture sector that are signed up to Inspiring the Future, because the programme is not government funded. To obtain comprehensive and accurate information, we recommend contacting Inspiring the Future directly via their website, which can be accessed at: https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/about/contact-us/.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 7 March (HL5760), how the increased funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024–25 financial year for supporting apprenticeships in arboriculture will be spent.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start a career in the arboriculture sector. There have been over 5.4 million apprenticeship starts since 2010, with 99.6% of the apprenticeships budget spent to support employers of all sizes to deliver high-quality apprenticeships in the 2021/22 financial year.

To support more employers across the country to recruit new apprentices, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. This funding will not only help employers to create new apprenticeships across various sectors, including in arboriculture, but it will also cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already undergoing training, the cost of end-point assessments and any additional payments made to employers and training providers.

The below table shows apprenticeship starts and achievements for the level 2 Arborist apprenticeship standard, with a typical duration of 24 months. There have been no starts on the level 4 Arboriculturist or level 6 Professional Arboriculturist apprenticeship standards, as they are currently awaiting an appropriate end-point assessment organisation to be appointed.

Academic Year

Number of Starts

Number of Achievements

2017/18

130

0

2018/19

170

0

2019/20

170

0

2020/21

220

10

2021/22

190

20

2022/23 (Aug to Jan, as published in March 2023)

170

10

Note: Volumes are rounded to the nearest 10. Annual starts and achievements measures should not be directly compared, as apprentices will not achieve in the same year in which they started. The apprenticeship typically takes around two years to complete, and learners may take a break in learning during their apprenticeship.

The level 2 Arborist standard is presently undergoing a comprehensive review led by the trailblazer group, in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Their collective efforts aim to improve the end-point assessment process, thereby increasing the number of apprentices who successfully attain the qualification. The revised standard is scheduled to be introduced by autumn 2023.

To encourage more starts, the department is making apprenticeships more flexible for employers in all sectors, supporting them to build a skilled workforce and develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future. Furthermore, we have removed the limit to the number of apprentices that smaller employers can take on, making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to grow their businesses with the skilled apprentices they need. The department also provides £1,000 to employers and training providers when they take on certain younger apprentices.

The department continues to actively promote apprenticeships in schools and colleges through our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge Programme. This free service provides resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships by giving them up-to-date information on the options available, including apprenticeships in arboriculture sector.

We do not hold information on the number of employers and professional bodies in the arboriculture sector that are signed up to Inspiring the Future, because the programme is not government funded. To obtain comprehensive and accurate information, we recommend contacting Inspiring the Future directly via their website, which can be accessed at: https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/about/contact-us/.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many (1) employers, and (2) professional bodies, in the arboriculture sector are currently signed up to the Inspiring the Future programme.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start a career in the arboriculture sector. There have been over 5.4 million apprenticeship starts since 2010, with 99.6% of the apprenticeships budget spent to support employers of all sizes to deliver high-quality apprenticeships in the 2021/22 financial year.

To support more employers across the country to recruit new apprentices, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. This funding will not only help employers to create new apprenticeships across various sectors, including in arboriculture, but it will also cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already undergoing training, the cost of end-point assessments and any additional payments made to employers and training providers.

The below table shows apprenticeship starts and achievements for the level 2 Arborist apprenticeship standard, with a typical duration of 24 months. There have been no starts on the level 4 Arboriculturist or level 6 Professional Arboriculturist apprenticeship standards, as they are currently awaiting an appropriate end-point assessment organisation to be appointed.

Academic Year

Number of Starts

Number of Achievements

2017/18

130

0

2018/19

170

0

2019/20

170

0

2020/21

220

10

2021/22

190

20

2022/23 (Aug to Jan, as published in March 2023)

170

10

Note: Volumes are rounded to the nearest 10. Annual starts and achievements measures should not be directly compared, as apprentices will not achieve in the same year in which they started. The apprenticeship typically takes around two years to complete, and learners may take a break in learning during their apprenticeship.

The level 2 Arborist standard is presently undergoing a comprehensive review led by the trailblazer group, in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Their collective efforts aim to improve the end-point assessment process, thereby increasing the number of apprentices who successfully attain the qualification. The revised standard is scheduled to be introduced by autumn 2023.

To encourage more starts, the department is making apprenticeships more flexible for employers in all sectors, supporting them to build a skilled workforce and develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future. Furthermore, we have removed the limit to the number of apprentices that smaller employers can take on, making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to grow their businesses with the skilled apprentices they need. The department also provides £1,000 to employers and training providers when they take on certain younger apprentices.

The department continues to actively promote apprenticeships in schools and colleges through our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge Programme. This free service provides resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships by giving them up-to-date information on the options available, including apprenticeships in arboriculture sector.

We do not hold information on the number of employers and professional bodies in the arboriculture sector that are signed up to Inspiring the Future, because the programme is not government funded. To obtain comprehensive and accurate information, we recommend contacting Inspiring the Future directly via their website, which can be accessed at: https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/about/contact-us/.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what they are doing to encourage more people to enter careers in arboriculture.

The department wants to ensure that people get high quality, impartial advice on the full range of education, training, and career pathways, including careers in arboriculture.

Employers have designed three high-quality apprenticeship standards in arboriculture at entry level 2, level 4, and level 6, to support them to develop the skilled workforces they need. The department recognises that current numbers of apprentices who complete apprenticeships in arboriculture is low. To support more employers and learners to access apprenticeships, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. Based on the same employer-led standards as apprenticeships, T Levels in Agriculture, Land Management and Production will be taught for the first time this September. This course allows students to specialise in Trees and Woodlands Management.

The department works with the Careers & Enterprise Company to support secondary schools and colleges to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with employers per pupil per year, an experience of the workplace by age 16 and a further experience by age 18. There are lots of ways employers can engage with the Careers & Enterprise Company, including volunteering to work with individual schools or colleges and working with Careers Hubs on a larger local or regional scale. Industry partnerships support business and sector bodies to share up-to-date information about new pathways into their sector to education leaders and young people and increase the representation of their sector nationally. Employers can find out more via the Careers & Enterprise Company website at: https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/employers/.

The National Careers Service (NCS) supports both young people over 13 and adults in offering careers advice across all employment sectors. The website includes around 800 job profiles, describing what these roles entail, qualifications, and entry routes. The NCS can also work with industry to disseminate information to career leaders and careers advisers, in schools, colleges, and in the community via bulletins and newsletters.

The department also funds the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) programme, which provides information, advice and guidance to young people in years 10 to 13 in schools, and further education colleges. At a cost of £3.2 million per year, the programme reached 680,000 young people in the 2021/22 academic year, and over 2,000 schools. It supports young people, parents and carers and teachers into understanding and applying for apprenticeships, T Levels, and Traineeships.

Employers and professional bodies in the arboriculture sector can sign up to Inspiring the Future, run by the Education and Employers charity. This free programme allows volunteers to visit state schools to talk to pupils about their jobs. This will raise the profile of various careers within the arboriculture sector. This is available at: https://www.inspiringthefuture.org.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people (1) started, and (2) completed, an arborist apprenticeship for each year between 2017 and 2022.

Apprenticeship starts and achievements on the Arborist Apprenticeship Standard (ST0223) are shown in the below table.

Academic Year

Starts

Achievements

2017/18 Full Year

130

0

2018/19 Full Year

170

0

2019/20 Full Year

170

0

2020/21 Full Year

220

10

2021/22 Full Year

190

20

2022/23 (Aug to Oct)

140

Low

Volumes are rounded to the nearest 10 and 'low' indicates a base value of fewer than five. This data has come from the Apprenticeships and Traineeships 2022/23 release, which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/223f5602-9c34-4509-943f-08db08498a11.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprenticeships in the farming industry were (1) started, and (2) completed, in each year between 2018 and 2021.

The department publishes the Apprenticeships in England by Industry Characteristics publication that shows apprenticeship starts amongst employers in the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing enterprise sector: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-in-england-by-industry-characteristics#content-3-heading.

Apprenticeship starts in the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing sector (and its sub-divisions) from the 2017/18 to the 2020/21 academic years are shown in the attached table and can be found in the 'Apprenticeship starts' tab.

Industry based data is not held for achievements. However, the most timely data for starts and achievements for apprentices studying agricultural and related subjects from the 2017/18 to the 2020/21 academic years can also be found in the attached table and can be found in the 'Starts and achievements' tab.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to teach school children about the countryside and British farming.

There are opportunities within the geography and science curriculums to teach about the countryside, farming and agriculture, and how important the latter are to food production. These do not feature as stand-alone topics in the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum is a framework designed to give teachers the freedom and flexibility to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish, and this could include teaching about the countryside and farming.

As part of the department’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, our National Education Nature Park initiative will also give children and young people the opportunity to learn about and connect with nature.


By 2025 we aim to introduce a natural history GCSE, giving young people a further opportunity to engage with and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the natural world. In studying this GCSE, young people will explore organisms and environments in more depth, gain knowledge and practical experience of fieldwork and develop a greater understanding of conservation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they expect the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to report on their research into potential environmental exposure pathways for flea and tick products.

The research in question is currently under peer review. Although publication is anticipated in the next few months, it is not possible to give an exact time due to the external peer review process.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will make it a mandatory requirement for dog and cat flea treatments only to be approved for use if they have passed an environmental damage test.

Exposure to fleas and ticks may give rise to parasitic disease in pets and present zoonotic risks to humans, as well as causing distress and discomfort. Topical flea treatments form an important part of effective parasite control to protect both human and animal health. Therefore, it is essential to take a balanced approach in terms of the benefits of these treatments and their potential environmental impact when considering this issue.

Nevertheless, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recognises the concerns raised by stakeholders with regard to the potential contribution of flea and tick treatments for companion animals to the levels of certain chemicals of concern currently being detected in UK surface waters, such as fipronil and imidacloprid.

The VMD is reviewing the environmental risk assessment process for companion animal flea and tick treatments, and this is being treated as a priority.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many local authorities in (1) 2021, and (2) 2022, received grants from (a) the Local Authority Treescapes Fund, and (b) the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Forestry is a devolved matter and so this answer is for England only.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) has an expected survival rate of 100% for standard trees in the first two years, dropping to 90% from year three. A selection of planting sites is inspected each year. Any excess failures will require remedial action for trees to be replaced. All post-planting reports for the Local Authority Treescape Fund (LATF) confirm a survival rate of at least 75%.

The UTCF also includes three years of establishment payments for weeding, watering and aftercare to help secure successful establishment. In 2022, this government also offered extraordinary payments to UTCF holders to replace trees lost due to the hot and dry weather.

Figures for these funds are provided in the table below.

Year

Fund

Funding awarded (£m)

Local authorities funded

2021-22

LATF

8.4

42

2021-22

UTCF

8.4

63

2022-23

LATF

6.7

35

2021-23

UTCF

3.6

39

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much funding was awarded to local authorities in (1) 2021, and (2) 2022, from (a) the Local Authority Treescapes Fund, and (b) the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Forestry is a devolved matter and so this answer is for England only.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) has an expected survival rate of 100% for standard trees in the first two years, dropping to 90% from year three. A selection of planting sites is inspected each year. Any excess failures will require remedial action for trees to be replaced. All post-planting reports for the Local Authority Treescape Fund (LATF) confirm a survival rate of at least 75%.

The UTCF also includes three years of establishment payments for weeding, watering and aftercare to help secure successful establishment. In 2022, this government also offered extraordinary payments to UTCF holders to replace trees lost due to the hot and dry weather.

Figures for these funds are provided in the table below.

Year

Fund

Funding awarded (£m)

Local authorities funded

2021-22

LATF

8.4

42

2021-22

UTCF

8.4

63

2022-23

LATF

6.7

35

2021-23

UTCF

3.6

39

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what the overall success rate of tree planting and survival was recorded from local authorities who received funds in (1) 2021, and (2) 2022, from (a) the Local Authority Treescapes Fund, and (b) the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Forestry is a devolved matter and so this answer is for England only.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) has an expected survival rate of 100% for standard trees in the first two years, dropping to 90% from year three. A selection of planting sites is inspected each year. Any excess failures will require remedial action for trees to be replaced. All post-planting reports for the Local Authority Treescape Fund (LATF) confirm a survival rate of at least 75%.

The UTCF also includes three years of establishment payments for weeding, watering and aftercare to help secure successful establishment. In 2022, this government also offered extraordinary payments to UTCF holders to replace trees lost due to the hot and dry weather.

Figures for these funds are provided in the table below.

Year

Fund

Funding awarded (£m)

Local authorities funded

2021-22

LATF

8.4

42

2021-22

UTCF

8.4

63

2022-23

LATF

6.7

35

2021-23

UTCF

3.6

39

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether local authorities are required to report each year on the success rate of tree planting; and whether they require local authorities to seek advice on best practice for tree planting.

Local authorities in receipt of funding from the Local Authority Treescapes Fund and Urban Tree Challenge Fund must report annually on the success rate of tree planting and survival to be eligible to receive funding for three years of post-planting maintenance.


However, tree planting is not a statutory duty for LAs and there is no requirement in law for them to report on tree planting rates.


The Local Authority Tree and Woodland Strategy Toolkit, published in December 2022, provides step-by-step guidance for local authorities to develop an effective trees and woodland strategy to realise the multiple benefits trees can deliver to their communities. It contains helpful information and resources that can be used to guide tree planting and management. We encourage all local authorities to use this resource and create their own strategic approach to expanding, managing and protecting their local treescape.


We have also launched the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund which is designed to provide financial support to local authorities to increase their capacity and specialist skills to enable them to ramp up tree planting and woodland creation delivery.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government who they have consulted within the forestry industry regarding their tree planting policy; and what consultation they are currently conducting to inform that policy.

Between 19 June 2020 and 11 September 2020, the government ran a public consultation to help inform the development of a new action plan for trees, woodland and forestry in England. We received over 20,400 responses to this consultation, which are summarised in the England Tree Strategy consultation analysis of responses available at GOV.UK.


The England Trees Action Plan was informed by responses to the consultation and provides the strategic framework for the policy measures we will take over this parliament and beyond to meet our long-term vision for healthy and resilient treescapes to 2050. Implementation of the action plan is supported by over £650 million of funding under the Nature for Climate Fund. Our dialogue with delivery partners and other stakeholders continues through the Future of Trees & Forestry Forum and other engagements.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what consultation they are undertaking regarding the planting of trees to ensure the correct type of tree is being planted, the time of planting is optimum, and the appropriate protections for the trees are being considered to ensure trees planted survive; and what discussions they have had with local authorities also consulting on these matters.

Afforestation proposals are screened against environmental constraints and concerns under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) forestry regulations. Defra group / The Forestry Commission has published guidance to help landowners develop appropriate proposals where afforestation is on or near breeding wader sites, and on whether to plant or restock woodland on deep peat and peaty soils. When assessing proposals for grant or regulatory approval, the Forestry Commission must consult the proposer, the relevant interested bodies and place details of the proposal on the Public Register for forestry projects. The Forestry Commission must also consider stakeholder feedback before a decision on approval is made

The UK Forestry Standard sets out the requirements and standards for sustainable forestry, as well as supporting guidance on woodland creation good practice. Maintenance grants are available to help ensure trees are appropriately planted and survive.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) how many trees were planted in England in 2022, and (2) how many trees planted in 2022 have died.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on new planting of woodland, and trees outside woodland, in England. These can be found in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators at GOV.UK.

The statistics are reported for each financial year with an interim mid-year estimate where is data available. The reports show that new planting of woodland and trees in amounted to approximately 4,344,000 trees in 2021-22 plus 1,389,000 trees in the first half of 2022-23 to 30 September 2022. We expect to publish statistics for the 2022-23 year in June 2023. We do not collect information on the number of recently planted trees that have died, although a minimum survival rate is required for grant-funded schemes. However, responding to last summer’s exceptionally hot weather, we have supported agreement holders who lost a high proportion of trees planted in winter 21/22 through ‘extraordinary Payments for Replanting in Exceptional Conditions.’

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of local authorities which implement a policy of repeat tree inspections looking out for unsafe trees and tree diseases such as ash dieback.

The Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes a duty of care on landowners, including Local Authorities, to manage their tree stock and make safe any trees which pose a risk to public safety.

Government has provided Local Authorities with a range of guidance to help them manage their tree stock, including a Common Sense Guide to the Risk Management of Trees, an Ash Dieback Toolkit which has been downloaded over 20,000 times and a Trees and Woodland Strategy toolkit published in December 2022.

The frequency of tree inspections at a local level will be guided by risk, including the proximity of the tree to people and property. Defra does not collect data on the frequency of Local Authority tree inspections.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of ash trees that are surviving chalara ash dieback disease.

From observations in Europe and the UK, we expect 1-5% of ash trees to show useful levels of genetic resistance to the disease. Resistance is heritable which offers hope for a future breeding programme.

Reports from Europe have shown maximum mortality rates of 85%, but rates vary between countries and sites, as well as the timescales of monitoring and felling activity, so are difficult to validate. Ash trees, especially larger and older trees, can also decline slowly with the disease, over a period of years or decades, and with recovery shown in some years. This makes it difficult to estimate long term survival with any certainty. In the UK, the level of infection remains widely variable between areas, with the south-east of England being most affected.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of ash trees that were felled in England in each year between 2012 and 2022.

The Government does not collect data on the number of individual ash trees that have been felled, including those affected by ash dieback, but between May 2018 and February 2023, the Forestry Commission has recorded a total of 7271 felling licence applications containing ash (making up a component of the trees planned for felling). The felling licence system in operation prior to May 2018 does not allow the species breakdown to be reported.

The number of approved felling licences with ash since May 2018 are as follows:

Year

Total

2018

370

2019

1433

2020

1548

2021

1855

2022

1752

2023

313

Grand Total

7271

However, precise estimation is challenging because felling in some circumstances, such as when public safety is at risk, does not require a felling license, and the issuing of a felling license does not come with an obligation to conduct the felling works.

Where appropriate, approved felling licences carry legally enforceable restocking conditions to ensure any trees felled are replaced using suitable means and to ensure tree and woodland cover is maintained for future generations.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect the health of trees in the UK against the disease ash dieback.

Since ash dieback was first detected in the UK, we have restricted the movement of ash trees from outside Europe to protect against other strains of the pathogen, and invested more than £8 million to advance our scientific understanding of this disease.

We have conducted the world’s largest screening trials for tolerant trees and have planted over 3000 trees of 1000 genotypes in the first UK archive of tolerant ash. They have been drawn from a wide geographic spread, and new trees will continue to be added, to maximise the genetic diversity in the collection and facilitate the possibility of a future breeding programme of resilient ash.

Guidance for landowners on managing diseased ash has also been published, including a toolkit for Local Authorities, which has been downloaded nearly 20,000 times. Defra also provides restoration grants, to support replanting with alternative species where ash dieback is present.

We continue to invest in research to enhance our understanding of the disease, improve management and identify resistant trees.

Since ash dieback was first detected in the UK, we have restricted the movement of ash trees from outside Europe to protect against other strains of the pathogen, and invested more than £8 million to advance our scientific understanding of this disease.

We have conducted the world’s largest screening trials for tolerant trees and have planted over 3000 trees of 1000 genotypes in the first UK archive of tolerant ash. They have been drawn from a wide geographic spread, and new trees will continue to be added, to maximise the genetic diversity in the collection and facilitate the possibility of a future breeding programme of resilient ash.

Guidance for landowners on managing diseased ash has also been published, including a toolkit for Local Authorities, which has been downloaded nearly 20,000 times. Defra also provides restoration grants, to support replanting with alternative species where ash dieback is present.

We continue to invest in research to enhance our understanding of the disease, improve management and identify resistant trees.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of farm businesses in England have received the advance payment of their Basic Payment Scheme from the Rural Payments Agency.

As of 22 July 2022, 42.74% of farm businesses have been issued with Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) advance payments. This equates to a total value of £54.7M released in advance BPS funding.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is forecasting to have paid over 60,000 farmers (approx. 73%) by the end of the month. By the end of the second week of August, they expect to have paid 82,000 farmers who are eligible to receive a payment at this time. Prior to the payment run, RPA undertook preliminary checks to ensure the agreed funds were ready for release on schedule. There will inevitably be a small number of farmers who cannot be paid, for reasons such as: low claim value (under £1k); outstanding probate; and absence of bank details. RPA made efforts to contact all customers ahead of time where bank details were not held, in order to minimise the number of farmers whose payments could not be made. RPA will write to all farmers they believe are unlikely to receive their payment by the end of August.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they have paid out to farm businesses in England in advanced payment of the Basic Payment scheme.

As of 22 July 2022, 42.74% of farm businesses have been issued with Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) advance payments. This equates to a total value of £54.7M released in advance BPS funding.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is forecasting to have paid over 60,000 farmers (approx. 73%) by the end of the month. By the end of the second week of August, they expect to have paid 82,000 farmers who are eligible to receive a payment at this time. Prior to the payment run, RPA undertook preliminary checks to ensure the agreed funds were ready for release on schedule. There will inevitably be a small number of farmers who cannot be paid, for reasons such as: low claim value (under £1k); outstanding probate; and absence of bank details. RPA made efforts to contact all customers ahead of time where bank details were not held, in order to minimise the number of farmers whose payments could not be made. RPA will write to all farmers they believe are unlikely to receive their payment by the end of August.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in setting up the Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership announced at COP26; and what the membership of the Partnership will be.

I am pleased to confirm that the first meeting of the UK Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership (the Partnership) was held on 4 May 2022.

The Partnership will advance UK Administrations’ shared commitment to work together to progress the evidence base on blue carbon habitats in the UK, and our shared interest in protecting and restoring blue carbon habitats as a nature-based solution. Therefore, the membership includes representatives of the UK Government and all Devolved Administrations.

9th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 5 December 2022 (HL3057), how the UK Health Security Agency’s The effectiveness of face coverings to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in community settings: A rapid review (update 2) from November 2021 accounts for biases such as the retrospective data collection, short-term duration of the studies and the presence of co-interventions; and why the rapid review was not independently peer-reviewed.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a range of rapid evidence reviews. The first review of the effectiveness of face coverings in non-healthcare settings was published on 26 June 2020, with the first update published on 29 January 2021, and the second update published on 9 November 2021. The second update review searched for studies up to 14 September 2021.

Studies were assessed by an experienced UKHSA evidence reviewer and checked by a second reviewer using the quality criteria checklist (QCC) for primary research. This risk of bias tool can be applied to most study designs, observational and interventional, and is suitable for rapid reviews of mixed type of evidence. As copy of this checklist is attached.

Reviewers using the QCC tool can capture bias from retrospective data collection, presence of co-interventions, and short-term duration of follow-up. In all three evidence reviews of the effectiveness of face coverings, all biases that the reviewers felt were present in each of the included studies were detailed in the supplementary tables to the reports.

All evidence reviews were subject to an internal quality assurance and clearance process prior to publication. Due to the pace of the UKHSA COVID-19 pandemic response, independent peer review was not sought prior to publication.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 5 December 2022 (HL3057), what assessment they have made of the Cochrane Review on Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, published on 30 January 2023; and whether they will update their guidance on face coverings in response to those findings.

The Government is aware of the Cochrane Review published on 30 January 2023, which concludes that there is uncertainty about whether wearing masks helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses based on the studies assessed.

The National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM), published on the National Health Service website in April 2022 in an online-only format and most recently updated in January 2023, is consistent with the recommendations in the Cochrane Review. The NIPCM is used by healthcare providers in all healthcare settings in England and is complemented by pathogen/disease specific guidance produced by the UK Health Security Agency.

The NIPCM does not require patients or visitors to NHS settings to routinely wear a face mask. However, there are some circumstances where it is recommended by a local risk assessment that patients and visitors to care settings wear masks, for example, where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Cochrane Review Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, published on 20 November 2020, which found that mask use in the community was unlikely to be effective in containing the transmission of any respiratory infection, including COVID-19, whether they will review their guidance on face coverings.

In November 2021, the UK Health Security Agency published The effectiveness of face coverings to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in community settings: A rapid review (update 2) to identify and examine the latest available evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community. The review includes 25 studies, two randomised controlled trials and 23 observational studies undertaken to 14 September 2021. The evidence suggests that face coverings reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community through source control, wearer protection, and universal masking. A copy of the review is attached.

As and when any new evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings emerges, we will consider whether any guidance should be amended.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to recognise full COVID-19 vaccination status for British citizens who have had one COVID-19 vaccination administered in England and the other vaccination administered abroad.

A service has been in place since 11 October for individuals residing in England who received one or more Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen vaccines in the United States of America, the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Australia or Canada to record their vaccination in the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS). If they have received one vaccination overseas of a two-dose course, they will be offered a second dose of a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-approved equivalent vaccine. Once an individual has a NIMS record, they can access a NHS COVID Pass.

The service currently has seven sites capable of reviewing vaccination evidence, with 13 additional sites pending. Further expansion of the service is planned in due course.

17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government to ensure that people who have had one COVID-19 vaccine administered in England and one in Scotland are recognised in Scotland as being fully vaccinated; and what plans they have to ensure that people who have had one COVID-19 vaccine administered in England and one in Scotland are recognised in England as being fully vaccinated.

Discussions at official and ministerial level have taken place with the Scottish Government. Following these discussions, NHS Digital has established live bi-directional data flows between England and Scotland which updates both the general practitioner (GP) record and NHS COVID Pass status. Before a NHS COVID Pass can be issued, both doses must be recorded.

Interoperable digital and non-digital solutions are now available in each United Kingdom nation. The service an individual accesses depends on where their GP is registered.

22nd May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how much of the World Health Organization's $6.83 billion budget for 2024–25 is, and will be, funded by (1) the UK, and (2) non-state actors.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many short-term visas were granted for people working in the farming sector in (1) January, (2) February, and (3) March.

The most recent data available on the seasonal worker visa scheme is released quarterly and contained within published tables at: (entry clearance detailed dataset Vis_D02 - attached).

It is worth noting that while most short-term jobs in the agriculture sector are under the seasonal worker visa, a small number may be on other visa types and not all seasonal worker visa jobs will relate to farming.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many section 21 eviction notices were recorded in England in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities does not hold data on the number of section 21 notices which are served by landlords.

The prescribed form for serving a notice requiring possession under section 21 is published at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many times a local authority has been brought to court in each year between 2018 and 2022 for cases involving injury due to fallen trees.

The Ministry of Justice publishes information on the number of defendants prosecuted for offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, between the year ending June 2018 and year ending June 2022 in the Outcomes by Offence data tool: June 2022.

This information can be filtered to ‘Companies, public bodies etc.’, however, whether the defendant was a local authority and whether the offence was in relation to injury due to fallen trees specifically is not held centrally in the Court Proceedings Database. This information may be held on court records but to examine individual court records would be of disproportionate cost.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)