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Written Question
Zoos: Coronavirus
8 Jun 2020

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to include zoos in the early reopening of leisure facilities in the post-covid-19 lockdown recovery plan.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times. We also appreciate the significant opportunities zoos can provide for the public to access well managed and controlled outdoor spaces, and the potential to improve general wellbeing.

However, the Government has taken the decision that zoos and aquariums should not yet reopen, and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 1 June, provide greater clarity and certainty on this. While each individual attraction can be made safer, it’s vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

We are continuing to work with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to understand how we can reopen zoos in a safe way as soon as possible with social distancing measures in place.


Written Question
Agricultural Products: Coronavirus
22 May 2020

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that a range of farm produce that is consistent with best practice in (a) animal welfare and (b) sustainability continues to be made available to consumers.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

The food industry has responded quickly and impressively to the significant changes in demand that we have seen over the past weeks. This has ensured supply into stores and people’s homes across the country and has demonstrated that the supply chain remains resilient.

To help industry, the Government has introduced several regulatory easements to keep food supply flowing. These include asking local authorities to show flexibility to allow extended delivery hours and flexing rules on drivers’ hours to allow a higher frequency of deliveries to stores.

More generally, this Government was elected on a manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The UK's growing reputation for quality food and drink, with high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability, serves as an excellent platform to increase demand for our products still further.


Written Question
Horses: Animal Welfare
26 Feb 2020

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to grant local authorities the powers to prevent horse tethering.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), local authorities, together with the police and officers of the Animal & Plant Health Agency, already have powers to investigate cases of poor welfare or animal cruelty, including cases of inappropriate tethering.

Tethering can be a useful equine temporary management tool when it is used appropriately. To assist horse owners and keepers as well as inspectors there is a the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids (the Code) which provides information on how to meet the welfare needs of horses, as required under the 2006 Act. The Code contains specific information on how to tether a horse appropriately without being breach of the 2006 Act.

Local authorities are able to make decisions based on local needs and resource priorities and the local arrangements that work best for them. Therefore, I consider that this legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards and powers in respect of horse tethering. However, we will continue to engage with key stakeholders to see if more can be done to spread best practice among horse owners as well as increased partnership working in order to tackle the issue of inappropriate horse tethering.


Written Question
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Apprentices
17 May 2018

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what levels of apprenticeships are offered by his Department; and how many apprenticeship starts there were at each level in each of the last three years.

Answered by George Eustice

Defra currently offers apprenticeships ranging from Level 2 (Business Administration) through to a Level 7 qualification in Finance.

Since April 2016 there have been 79 apprenticeship starts in Defra, broken down against scheme level as follows:

2016/17

Name

Level

Equivalent Educational Level

Number of Starts

Advanced

3

A Level

29

Higher

4, 5, 6 & 7

Foundation Degree and above

4*

*3 at Level 4 and 1 at Level 5

2017/18

Name

Level

Equivalent Educational Level

Number of Starts

Advanced

3

A Level

16

Higher

4, 5, 6 & 7

Foundation Degree and above

30

Data on apprentices was not held centrally in 2015 so we are unable to provide information for that year.


Written Question
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Land
13 Feb 2018

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much land (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies owns in (i) England and (ii) the South West; and how much of that land has been identified as being surplus to requirements.

Answered by George Eustice

The current Government Estate Strategy sets out the Government's objective to deliver an effective approach to estates management. Defra follows the aims of that strategy.

The current landholdings of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are shown in the table below. This does not include land previously identified as surplus that has now been disposed of. The information is correct at time of publication.

Land in hectares

England

South West

Defra

388.36

46.98

Non-departmental public bodies

36,133.39

6,395.35

Total

36,521.75

6442.33

Of the total land the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs holds in England, 280.29 hectares is currently declared as surplus. These figures include three non-departmental public bodies – Environment Agency, Natural England National Nature Reserve estate and Kew Gardens. Land and buildings used by Defras Agencies are held by Defra and are reported under the Defra return.