There have been 20 exchanges between Theresa Villiers and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Mon 15th June 2020||Environmental Protection||3 interactions (521 words)|
|Tue 19th May 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||5 interactions (110 words)|
|Wed 13th May 2020||Agriculture Bill||3 interactions (589 words)|
|Thu 19th March 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||3 interactions (48 words)|
|Mon 10th February 2020||Flood Response||64 interactions (2,826 words)|
|Thu 6th February 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||72 interactions (1,491 words)|
|Mon 3rd February 2020||Agriculture Bill||36 interactions (2,773 words)|
|Tue 21st January 2020||Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill||26 interactions (1,781 words)|
|Thu 31st October 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||70 interactions (1,429 words)|
|Mon 28th October 2019||Environment Bill||46 interactions (2,587 words)|
|Thu 17th October 2019||The Climate Emergency||37 interactions (2,509 words)|
|Thu 25th July 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||44 interactions (1,170 words)|
|Fri 8th February 2019||Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill||3 interactions (54 words)|
|Thu 18th October 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||3 interactions (40 words)|
|Wed 10th October 2018||Agriculture Bill||3 interactions (30 words)|
|Wed 18th July 2018||Litter Strategy (Westminster Hall)||8 interactions (1,900 words)|
|Thu 26th April 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||3 interactions (26 words)|
|Mon 26th February 2018||Leaving the EU: Live Farm Animal Exports (Westminster Hall)||17 interactions (1,521 words)|
|Thu 11th January 2018||Forestry in England (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,169 words)|
|Thu 26th October 2017||Oral Answers to Questions||8 interactions (89 words)|
(2 months ago)Commons Chamber
I wish to make a few brief remarks in support of the introduction of these measures. I congratulate the Minister on bringing them forward. She and I campaigned on this issue on many occasions when she was on the Back Benches, so it is good to see her have the opportunity to bring them forward in government.
The territorial application of the regulations is limited to England and Wales, but as others have observed, much of this plastic waste ends up in the sea, and the sea joins us all, so we are as likely to find this waste on the beaches in Orkney and Shetland as we are in Cornwall. This concerns and affects my constituents substantially, and I am sure that they will be as pleased as I am to see this progress being made.
The hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) made the fair point that this is just a statutory instrument, and we need to look at the nature of our consumption as a whole. He is right about that. I would add to that wider view the relationship between developed western countries and developing countries, because so many of these items put into the waste system are not dealt with in this country; they are exported. We find it difficult to control what happens, and it is effectively a case of being out of sight and out of mind. That is why it is infinitely preferable to cut off the use and supply of these items at source, which is the effect of the regulations.
I add my voice to those who have referred to the need for a deposit return scheme. That is overdue, and I would like to hear from the Minister—in so far as she is able to say, while remaining within the ambit of the debate—when we might expect to see some concrete proposals. I know that she has a personal and political commitment, so it would be good to hear what we can do to help her push that through Government.
These regulations are timely. I am sure we have all noticed that the great progress we have made on the removal of disposable coffee cups and the rest of it has faced a setback as a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic. In fact, I notice that we have plastic cups back at the Table at the front of the House. That is probably a consequence of the concern that people naturally have about transmission; I make no criticism. But we will have to deal with this, because the pandemic may be with us for months, but the damage done by plastic pollution and microplastics will be with us for decades, if not centuries.
First, I must welcome the shadow Minister. I do not believe we have confronted each other yet. I look forward to working with him, on the Environment Bill in particular, and I thank all other Members who have joined in the debate today. That shows how passionate we are about plastic and getting rid of it, and I will address some of the points that were raised.
I was slightly disappointed that the shadow Minister referred to this as a missed opportunity and said he is highly critical of steps being taken. I believe he is unaware of quite how much is under way, and I look forward to working on the Environment Bill with him and exposing to him just how committed the Government are and how much is being done through not only that Bill, but the resources and waste strategy.
We obviously recognise how important this subject is, and I want to touch on a few of the things that are being done: we already have the microbeads and microplastics ban; there is a huge reduction in single-use carrier bag usage; we have launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, which was referred to just now, to stimulate global action; and we are delivering on our promises through the resources and waste strategy and seeking powers through the Environment Bill. Under those powers, there will be a charge for single-use plastic items, the deposit return scheme for drinks containers will be introduced, the packaging waste regulations will be reformed, and greater consistency in household and business recycling collections will be introduced—I touched on that earlier.
(2 months, 3 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
Our hope is that the proposals under consideration, which I have just outlined, will mitigate the possible detriment to respondents from complaints that may be unfounded. Freeing bishops from direct judicial involvement in disciplinary matters would enable them more easily to offer the pastoral support my hon. Friend refers to. We are also exploring how to supplement ecclesiastical legal aid to support those responding to complaints.
I can tell my right hon. Friend that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter day sermon was listened to by 5 million people and that the Alexa Church app has had a 70% increase in usage in the last month. Perhaps most notably, “The UK Blessing”, co-ordinated by Gas Street Church, Birmingham, has been downloaded 2.6 million times, and according to the Prime Minister is a sensational singing masterpiece to which he has awarded a point of light.
I know what a deeply difficult issue this is. The Church will work with the Government on these issues to do safely what my right hon. Friend asks. She will be aware that cleaning in many of our churches is done by volunteers, some of whom are elderly and may have difficulty coming in between funerals, but the point she makes is very valid and has absolutely been noted.
(3 months ago)Commons Chamber
While my constituency is primarily known as a former mining area, agriculture has always played an essential role in the local economy of Don Valley and continues to do so. Consequently, as the Government have confirmed that there will be no extension to the transition period, this Bill is more necessary than ever, and its passage today will provide farmers and many other individuals in my constituency with reassurance on several issues.
I appreciate that Members in all parts of the House are concerned about environmental sustainability in food production, as can be seen in the Opposition’s amendment 26. Yet this amendment is wholly unnecessary, as clause 1(4) already outlines that the provision of any financial assistance by the Secretary of State to agricultural businesses would have to take into account whether such assistance would encourage food production in an environmentally sustainable way. I am pleased with the addition of this requirement, as it will ensure that the often wasteful aspects of the common agricultural policy will become a thing of the past.
Furthermore, I am pleased that clause 17 will require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament at least once every five years on food security in the United Kingdom. This is particularly relevant at this moment in time. Like so many of my colleagues across the House, I have had dozens of concerned constituents email me about the lack of food in shops as a result of the panic buying that we unfortunately witnessed last month. Some were even scared that the UK would run out of food. Yet I am concerned that the Opposition’s new clause 4 would add such a large number of requirements to the Secretary of State’s reporting that the original purpose of clause 17 would be lost. I appreciate that the new clause is designed to encourage the consumption of healthy food, but clause 17(2)(e) already states that the data put forward by the Secretary of State will include statistics on
“food safety and consumer confidence in food.”
This would inevitably touch on aspects relating to the nutritional value of food and consumers’ confidence that the food available to them was healthy to consume.
This has been a robust debate and I have appreciated the diverse range of views that have been expressed across the House. I end simply by stating that this Bill has my full support and will ease some of my constituents’ environmental and food security concerns.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would have loved to have been with you this afternoon in the Chamber, but I am not allowed to be with you. I cannot look you in the eye, but I am here speaking up, I hope, for my constituency of Huddersfield, where we do have farms and farming. We are, of course, the centre for the great Syngenta, one of the leading agricultural science companies in the world. It used to be owned by my old employer, Imperial Chemical Industries—ICI. It is now owned by ChemChina, which is an arm of the Chinese Government.
Things are changing. What the Bill is about, and why I support the amendments that have been tabled, is getting the balance right, across parties, between having good-quality food for our constituents and our children to feed the people of this country and our need for a secure supply chain. Nothing has taught us more about supply chains than the recent coronavirus scandal and the terrible deaths that have been caused by it. The fact of the matter is that we have to have secure food supplies.
Only recently, there was a leaked document—I have to say from the Government side—that said, “Why do we need a farming sector any longer? Why don’t we do what we do with everything else and get the cheapest possible deal in the global supermarket?” That is not the answer. We now know that we must have not only a vibrant farming sector but one that is compatible with a highly skilled and well managed industry. It also needs to be compatible with a diverse and bountiful countryside in which species are not being eradicated and where industrial agriculture does not destroy habitat.
I believe that this is Hedgehog Awareness Week. That is no laughing matter. When I was a young person it was very common to see a hedgehog in a garden. They have almost been eliminated in our country, as have many bird species, through an industrialisation of agriculture about which we must all be wary.
It would be wrong in this debate not to say that farming is under threat from the unscrupulous practices of many of our supermarkets. Getting that relationship between farming, the retailer and the supermarkets is extremely important. It is easy to say that our farming is the best. Our farming, where it is good, is very good indeed, but it is not perfect. We have a lot to learn from experience around the world, and not only in terms of high science, good management, good skills training and paying people well who work on the land. The fact of the matter is that we have to get the balance right between all those competing goals.
I am not someone who gets carried away with campaigns, but I hate the fact that we are eliminating the lovely British badger. I believe that that is a wrong-headed, contrary to science campaign, and we should all deplore that.
There must be a right balance between the countryside, the environment and high-quality agriculture, as well as the opportunity for young people who want to become farmers to get hold of some land and get started. Very largely, the push for local authorities to sell off their land during the recent austerity has meant that many young farmers do not have that opportunity. There is much to go at beyond this Bill. Let us all do it together.
(4 months, 4 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that there is a role for the Government. We must take action to set aside any obstacles to making the food supply chain operate in a way that ensures that people have food. On food banks, as I said, we are in discussion with supermarkets. We have also had discussions with them about competition law, and we will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that they can jointly plan their approach to these matters. For the most vulnerable, we are working on proposals that my colleagues in MHCLG will announce shortly.
My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. That is why earlier this week we had a detailed workshop with both retailers and food processors to identify what they would like to do and what changes to competition law we would need to consider and implement. We are working on that right now.
(6 months ago)Commons Chamber
I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement. I join her in sending our condolences to the family of the man who died in Hampshire.
On behalf of the Opposition, I thank the emergency services, the Environment Agency, local councils, volunteers and communities who have worked tirelessly to protect homes and businesses, and to rescue people and animals from rising waters, fallen trees and debris, as well as all those who have worked to reinforce flood defences, not forgetting the RNLI and our coastguard too.
The reality of the climate crisis is that more extreme weather will happen more often and with more severe consequences, especially for those who live and work in areas of high flood risk. As the climate breakdown escalates, we are seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of deadly weather patterns. Much more needs to be done to prevent flooding, to alleviate carbon emissions through habitat restoration, and to return flood plains to a natural state. Building homes on flood plains must stop.
The Government need to ask themselves: since Parliament declared a climate emergency, what are they doing differently on flooding—on protecting our communities? Austerity has had a devastating impact on our environment. There have been unprecedented cuts to our local authorities across the country, including the councils that have been most affected by the increased flooding and increased risk of flooding. The Environment Agency has seen its staffing levels fall by 20% since the Government came to power. I want Ministers to look afresh at what can be done now that Parliament has declared a climate emergency. A new plan for flooding should recognise the realities of the climate crisis, reverse the cuts to our frontline services, invest in comprehensive flood prevention, promote land use change, encourage habitat restoration, and acknowledge in the funding settlements for councils the higher risk in areas that face flooding so often.
I recognise that some new flood schemes have been delivered, but the list that the Secretary of State gave out is of what she has done, not what she will do, in response to this flooding. Will she accept that a comprehensive plan for flooding is now needed? Is it now time for Ministers to recognise that requiring match funding for some flood schemes means that poorer communities lose out compared with richer areas? The Environment Agency said only last year that it needs £1 billion a year to protect our communities, and a new approach on flooding. When will Ministers listen to their own Government agency and fund flood protection properly?
Does the Secretary of State have a date for the much-trailed flood summit that the Prime Minister promised last year? Will the trials of the new environmental land management scheme be targeted at the areas where flooding has been most severe this time? What action is she taking to ensure that homes and businesses that have been denied insurance and are still outside the current Flood Re scheme get the affordable protection that they so deserve?
Water is incredibly destructive and can destroy homes, businesses and livelihoods. Many of those flooded this time have been flooded before. Can the Secretary of State give them an assurance that the warm words and Government press releases this time will result in more action than they saw the last time they were flooded?
Fast-flowing torrents of water damaged homes and businesses across my constituency over the weekend, with communities such as Milnsbridge, Linthwaite, Marsden, Slaithwaite, New Mill, Brockholes and many more suffering at the hands of Storm Ciara. Does the Secretary of State agree that we must get councils clearing culverts and drains of leaves? Does she also agree that, when it comes to housing developments, we must stop this tarmacking and paving of our green fields, which gives no space or capacity for rain run-off when we have severe storms such as these?
I thank the Secretary of State for giving us advance sight of her statement. I would like to associate myself and my colleagues with the condolences expressed by the Secretary of State to the family and friends of the gentleman in Hampshire who so sadly lost his life, as well as to those who have seen their properties and businesses affected. I would also like to give our thanks to the volunteers and the many in the public services who have worked so hard over the past 48 hours to keep people safe.
Of course, climate change means that extreme weather events of the kind we have seen in the last 48 hours will become more and more frequent, as will the kinds of statement that the Secretary of State has sadly had to make today in consequence. What steps will her Government take to further improve the resilience of the transport network to cope with events such as we have seen, and will she undertake to be engaged with all the Governments in this island as the aftermath of Storm Ciara is dealt with?
Many of my constituents who were flooded last year watch severe weather warnings with dread, expecting to be flooded again every time they see them, and many of them have not been able to apply successfully for Flood Re insurance or for resilience funding. What can the Department do to communicate to councils the importance of working with the people affected—the victims of flooding—to enable them to access this resilience funding?
I cannot begin to convey the sense of absolute devastation across Calderdale that, for so many residents, we are in the same position again, having been flooded in the Boxing day floods in 2015. To update the Secretary of State, we are now looking at 400 residential properties flooded, 400 businesses, eight schools and two care homes, and two bridges have sustained damage. I have written to her today with a number of asks. Will she agree to meet me and representatives from Calderdale Council to go through those in detail so that we can start the recovery? Will she commit to making available the flood grants that came so quickly after those 2015 Boxing day floods, so that we can start that process straight away?
I thank the Secretary of State for her time yesterday, for making herself available and for the support and help she gave. As I have told her, many of my constituents who were flooded over the weekend are exactly the same people who were flooded on Boxing day 2015, which really is completely unacceptable. Can she assure me that the flood defence programme the Government have in place will ensure that my constituents in Shipley will not have to suffer this fate yet again?
There are two essential railway lines in Dwyfor Meirionnydd: the Conwy valley and the Cambrian coast lines. Neither has trains running today, following river and sea flooding. Given that the rail infrastructure of Wales is reserved to Westminster, what is the Department doing to work alongside the Welsh Government and ensure that essential communication links in Wales are resilient in the face of climate change?
Will the Secretary of State join me in paying tribute to the hard-working staff of the Environment Agency in West Sussex and nationally, who have been working diligently at antisocial hours, not just over this weekend, to protect life and property, but in many cases since the flooding in mid-December? I also thank her for making the link between the planning system and the incidence of flooding.
May I say to the Secretary of State that three months on from the floods that hit my constituency in November, many people are still suffering and are still out of their homes, and I am afraid Government help for those particularly without insurance, despite promises made, is inadequate? May I direct her to the issue of matched funds, raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) on the Front Bench, because what this means in South Yorkshire is that, although the Government have said they are making up to £1 million available—itself a measly sum compared to the need—that money is not being released because £600,000 has been raised from local businesses and people, but it does not reach the £1 million? This is penny-pinching, narrow-minded and wrong, so may I ask the Secretary of State to look at this again because it is just wrong for the people in my constituency?
The recent flooding incidents show very clearly that there is a need for better resilience and better planning for flooding events. May I ask the Secretary of State to look closely at the bid submitted by Humberside fire authority, along with Hull university and North Lincolnshire Council, for a national flood resilience centre at a site in Scunthorpe?
Kirkstall in my constituency was devastated by floods on Boxing day 2015, and we were on high alert all day yesterday. In many ways Leeds had a close escape yesterday, but there remains a £23 million gap between what the Government have committed to flood defences in Leeds and what is needed to protect us against the floods we experienced just four years ago. We had a lucky escape yesterday but may not be so lucky next time. When will the Government release that £23 million so that Leeds gets the flood defences we need?
Brigg and Goole and the Isle of Axholme is probably the most flood-prone constituency in the country. We are grateful for the hundreds of miles of flood defences that protect us and for Governments of all parties over the last decade and a half announcing more money for flood projects after events, but the problem at the moment actually is not so much accessing funding for capital projects but ongoing maintenance, which is absolutely vital to ensure our ditches and dykes are free to take the water. I urge the Secretary of State to continue the excellent work on capital funding, but to look at what maintenance funding has been made available to drainage boards, local authorities and the EA?
Promises broken and programmes undelivered: tomorrow morning at five o’clock the River Ouse is likely to rise to the same level as under Storm Desmond, yet we have seen a lack of delivery on issues such as insurance, upper catchment management and even putting in resilience in the city itself. Will the Secretary of State not only expedite action but meet me to discuss the threats that flooding causes my constituents in York?
Recent months have led to a very difficult start of the season for many farmers, particularly arable farmers forced into exceptionally late drilling. Given that farmers are likely to be very badly affected by these latest floods, what reassurances can my right hon. Friend give me that farmers will receive the support and assistance they need?
I, too, want to pay tribute to the emergency services, who have responded so well. My heart goes out to the families and communities who have yet again been hit by this disaster.
There is no denying that the climate emergency causes such extreme weather events. Planting millions of trees is one part of responding to the climate emergency. Indeed, the right hon. Lady’s party has pledged to plant millions of new trees every year. Do the Government have a plan for where those millions of trees will go, and when will it be published?
I am sure the Secretary of State and many Members will have seen the dramatic pictures from Hawick in my constituency, where Sonia’s Bistro and the Bridge House bed and breakfast collapsed into the River Teviot. That was devastating for the business, but thankfully nobody was injured. May we pay tribute not only to the emergency services but to the Hawick flood group and all the other volunteers who made sure that that building was evacuated, and kept many other communities and people safe from what could otherwise have been a disaster?
I join the Secretary of State in praising all agencies, including the Environment Agency, local authorities, police and volunteers. Will she also recognise the enormous contribution of our fire and rescue services in dealing with recent flooding? In order that they are properly resourced, equipped and trained for these responsibilities, as a one nation Conservative will she agree to extend a statutory duty on flood response to fire and rescue services in England, in line with the duty that already exists in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Many of our coastal communities, which are vital to our economy, will be particularly badly hit by Storm Ciara. Will the Secretary of State assure me that she will do everything in her power to ensure that those communities receive the support and assistance they need at this critical time?
As a Hull MP, may I add my support to the comments made by the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Holly Mumby-Croft) on basing a national flood resilience centre in the Scunthorpe area?
I want to ask the Secretary of State about Flood Re. What is her advice to those who are not covered under the present scheme—leaseholders, homeowners who live in properties built after 2009 and businesses, particularly microbusinesses or businesses run from home—and are finding it very difficult to get any insurance?
Parts of my constituency have been underwater since yesterday, particularly Redvales and Ramsbottom. Redvales has benefited from the £40 million Radcliffe and Redvales flood defence scheme—the Government provided £7 million—for which we are grateful. It has mitigated some of the problems that we saw yesterday, but Ramsbottom does not have its own flood defence scheme. Will my right hon. Friend meet me and other relevant agencies to ensure that Ramsbottom has a flood defence scheme at the earliest opportunity to protect local residents and businesses?
Along with my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Craig Whittaker), I was in Brighouse yesterday, where I am a councillor, helping some of the businesses affected by flooding. He is still in Calder Valley helping with the relief efforts and discussing the response with the Under-Secretary. The Government’s response to the devastating floods in 2015 was excellent. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the same support package will be offered to householders and businesses who have been affected once again?
I am sure that the thoughts of the whole House will be with all those families who suffered as a result of the storm and floods over the weekend. Penrith and The Border was hit very hard and my thoughts go out especially to the communities in Appleby. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that she will mobilise efforts across the whole Government to ensure that we can support these people as quickly as possible?
Will the Secretary of State join me in thanking the contractors for Worcestershire County Council who have been clearing all the fallen trees from our roads? In Worcestershire, we have the River Severn, the River Avon and the River Teme, so we experience frequent river flooding. Six new flood defence schemes have been built in West Worcestershire, but we still need more. How much of the £4 billion—the increase in flood defence funding she has announced—has already been programmed?
My right hon. Friend has twice mentioned the planning system. In my view, too many houses are still being built on floodplains, causing problems not only for them but for houses downstream from them. Will she work with colleagues from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government so that where the local authority planning decision is overturned on appeal the Planning Inspectorate always encloses a condition that the local authority must approve a satisfactory drainage system?
Flooding in urban areas such as Dudley South is often made worse by overflowing drains, often caused not by blockages in the drains but downstream in the water waste pipes. Will my right hon. Friend keep pressure on water companies properly to maintain waste water drainage pipes to ensure that our local communities do not suffer an unnecessary risk of flooding?
I offer my sympathy to all those who have been affected and my praise to all those who have played such a significant role in trying to ensure that everyone is safe. On a visit to North Yorkshire, I saw at first hand the damage that flowing water can do in the small gullies that, under normal circumstances, hold virtually no water, and to the small rural communities whose houses dot the side of the gullies. Huge stones and mud ripped down the hillside, undermining the homes. Who do these people go to in order get that fixed and ensure that in years to come their homes are literally not swept off the hill?
For too many homes, businesses and villages in Rushcliffe, flooding is a recurring issue. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to reconsider what support we can offer to areas that repeatedly flood and how we can encourage the many different agencies and organisations involved in preventing and responding to flooding to better work together to prevent it in the first place, because it is a very complex landscape for residents to navigate?
I thank the Secretary of State for her responsiveness to the flooding over the weekend. On this occasion, the issues in my constituency were minor, but I have been told by residents that those affected by flooding from the River Weaver in Nantwich in November have still not had the support they deserve to help them to recover and get their homes and businesses back on track. Will she meet me to see what we can do to make sure that the Environment Agency and Cheshire East Council work together to look after residents affected since November?
My beautiful constituency is not immune to flooding, and neither is it immune to the reckless growth ambitions of the Labour-led council. We must take steps to look after the houses that are already there. Will my right hon. Friend reassure me that the Government remain committed to protecting an extra 300,000 houses from flooding?
Flooding is not only caused by heavy rain. Coastal areas in my constituency regularly experience flooding when heavy storms coincide with high spring tides. This can result from storm damage to harbour walls or coastal erosion. Will the Secretary of State make sure that our future plans include funding to build resilience into our coastal regions?
Will the Secretary of State join me in paying tribute to Buckinghamshire County Council, the emergency services and volunteers who worked tirelessly to clean up wind-blown rubbish after the flooding at the weekend? Will she consider community payback schemes using ex-offenders to help with dredging and other things we need to prevent flooding in the future?
(6 months, 1 week ago)Commons Chamber
1. What steps her Department is taking to tackle organised waste crime. 
Fly-tipping in particular is an issue that costs our local councils and landowners hundreds of thousands pounds annually to clear up, with rural communities particularly affected. Just last week, the village of Austrey in my constituency was targeted yet again. What additional resources and powers can we give our local authorities and police to eradicate this scourge once and for all?
I welcome the Minister’s answer, but I must tell her that landfill tax fraud is a multi-million pound business. From my experience in the north-east of England, where there is some good co-operation going on between various agencies, the problem is with HMRC, which will not investigate unless a certain threshold is hit. I asked for feedback on prosecutions in one high-profile case that was activated four years ago and found that, to date, nothing has happened.
Fly-tipping ranges massively from lorry loads of hospital waste to a sofa. Farmers are then expected to dispose of that waste at their own cost. We quite rightly welcome what the Secretary of State says about taking lorries, vans and cars away from people, because we really must stop this crime.
Fly-tipping is a major issue in my area, not least because of changes in policy from North Lanarkshire Council. One way of stopping such crimes is by increasing the recycling rate and targeting particular sectors, such as the construction sector, which has a particularly bad problem with waste pollution. Will the Secretary of State outline potential areas such as training staff in those sectors to ensure that they are aware of how to recycle properly?
2. What recent discussions she has had with the Mayor of London on improving air quality in London. 
Break in Debate
4. What her policy is on the compliance of imported agricultural goods with UK (a) animal welfare, (b) environmental and (c) food safety standards after the transition period. 
My constituents benefit from the glorious countryside of Northumberland and County Durham—landscapes shaped by small-scale farmers. Those farmers would be devastated by unfair competition from the American agro-industrial machine, with its lower animal welfare, food and environmental standards. The Secretary of State talks a good talk and reads a good brief, but she will not put anything into law, so will she now unequivocally condemn any Government who trade away our high food, environmental and animal welfare standards?
On Monday, the Secretary of State heard from both Opposition MPs and MPs on her own Benches that she had to put our high environmental standards into law to prevent US agriculture from undercutting them in any trade negotiations. Now that a few days have passed since that debate, has she reflected on the fact that there is cross-party support for putting those promises into law and will she do the right thing and put them in the Agriculture Bill?
I am afraid that is not a good enough answer from the Environment Secretary, because unless there is a specific clause in the Agriculture Bill that guarantees that there will be no undercutting of British farmers by imported US agriculture in particular—produce grown to lower animal welfare and environmental standards—no one will believe a word that the Environment Secretary has to say. The Trade Secretary is today publishing a document that will apparently lock those standards into law, so if it is good enough for the Trade Secretary, why is it not good enough for the Environment Secretary to put the same commitment into law?
How will the Secretary of State ensure that ractopamine-treated pork and turkey meat from the United States stays out of our food chains?
I welcome my right hon. Friend’s and the Government’s commitment to maintaining high food, welfare and health standards, but can she update the House on what plans there are for a food standards commission, as requested by the National Farmers Union of Scotland?
Can my right hon Friend put the House at ease and confirm that any trade agreement will have to be ratified under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 and that this House will therefore have a full opportunity to scrutinise any effect of trade deals on our food standards?
13. It is absolutely right that we focus on high-quality standards in our trade deals with the rest of the world, but the reality is that 90% of Cumbrian farm exports are to the European single market. Can the Secretary of State guarantee that my farmers next January will not be facing crippling taxes and tariffs on their exports? 
5. What steps her Department is taking to increase tree-planting rates. 
Break in Debate
14. What plans she has to increase the number of trees planted each year. 
The Secretary of State will know that many of us are leading on planting plans in our constituencies, working closely with local councils, local wildlife trusts and so on. A good example is the new arboretum at lower Westgate Street in Gloucester, which was planted at the beginning of January. However, does she agree that there is a risk that, however many thousands of trees we plant in our constituencies, somebody will always say that we should have done much more? Is there an opportunity for some independent body to make an objective assessment of how many trees can realistically be planted in urban constituencies such as mine?
Does the Secretary of State agree with me and the Woodland Trust that we need to get local councils writing emergency tree plans that identify land for tree planting, and that we need to ensure that developments that come forward from housing developers include a minimum of 30% tree canopy cover?
Will the Secretary of State join me in congratulating the pupils of Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in my constituency, who recently planted 130 saplings in a new eco-area at the school? Does she agree that the new eco-area at the school will be a great educational resource for the students, helping them to learn more about the natural world while also helping to improve the local environment in Coventry North East?
Does the Secretary of State accept that the prime purpose of planting trees in the present climate crisis is to provide an effective carbon sink to produce the negative carbon emissions that offset other carbon emissions in a net-zero world? The Committee on Climate Change suggests that that means planting perhaps up to 50,000 hectares of trees per annum up to 2050—perhaps 2.4 billion trees. Does she agree that the present target in the clean growth plan of 11 million trees is tiny—especially as it is currently being missed by 71%—and almost amounts to “greenwash”? When is she going to get real on tree planting and management, and adopt measures that will secure the billions of trees we need and not the millions she is projecting?
Councils are required to deliver a five-year supply of sites for housing. Has not the time come for us to require councils to provide a five-year supply of sites for tree planting?
6. When she plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for (a) glass and (b) plastic. 
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T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. 
Data published in the recent climate change agreements biennial report showed the dairy industry delivering a 21% improvement on its energy efficiency over the last 10 years—the latest in a long line of sustainability wins for the industry. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, far from being a villain in the climate change story, the dairy industry is proving itself a force for good?
This Government have made much of the fact that we are leaving the EU and all its bureaucratic processes, but only to replace it with the catch app, a far more complex system for smaller fishing boats. Will the Secretary of State instruct the Marine Management Organisation to change the new catch app and remove the risk of criminality, which is causing so much anxiety for fishers in our coastal communities?
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T3. I am proud to represent many farmers in East Surrey who are the guardians of our beautiful countryside. Does the Minister agree that the best way to support those farmers and protect the environment is to buy seasonal and to buy British? 
T2. If the biodiversity gain requirement is to make a real difference, local authorities will need additional strategic planners, ecologist and enforcement officers. What assessment has been made of the human and financial resources required, and will the Secretary of State confirm that those resources will be set out and funded in the forthcoming Budget? 
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T4. In Beaconsfield, we have many hard-working farmers, as well as local environmental groups such as Transition Town Marlow and Wild Marlow, which are leading the way locally in animal welfare and environmental protection. Will the Minister join me in welcoming the new standards that we are going to put in place for environmental protection and animal welfare as we leave the EU, and for the protection of our British farmers?