Tim Farron Portrait

Tim Farron

Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale

First elected: 5th May 2005

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

(since September 2020)

Offenders (Day of Release from Detention) Bill
1st Feb 2023 - 8th Feb 2023
Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill
25th Jan 2023 - 1st Feb 2023
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill
15th Jun 2022 - 20th Oct 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Aug 2019 - 11th Jul 2022
Glue Traps (Offences) Bill
12th Jan 2022 - 19th Jan 2022
Education (Careers Guidance in Schools) Bill
22nd Sep 2021 - 27th Oct 2021
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (North of England) (Northern Powerhouse)
21st Aug 2019 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)
21st Aug 2019 - 6th Jan 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)
7th Feb 2019 - 21st Aug 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2017 - 7th Feb 2019
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
16th Jul 2015 - 20th Jul 2017
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
16th Jul 2015 - 20th Jul 2017
Party Chair, Liberal Democrats
1st Jan 2011 - 31st Dec 2014
European Scrutiny Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 25th Nov 2013
Shadow Secretary of State (Environment)
7th Oct 2008 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2007 - 7th Oct 2008
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
1st Apr 2007 - 20th Dec 2007
Environmental Audit Committee
22nd May 2006 - 12th Jul 2007
Education & Skills
12th Jul 2005 - 22nd May 2006
Shadow Spokesperson (Children, Schools and Families)
10th May 2005 - 5th Mar 2006


Department Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 21st June 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Outdoor Education Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 221
Speeches
Wednesday 7th February 2024
Thames Water: Oxfordshire
I want to press the Minister on the point I raised with my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford West …
Written Answers
Wednesday 14th February 2024
Swimming: Water
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which bathing waters have been de-designated in each …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 7th February 2024
20th anniversary of cockling deaths at Morecambe Bay
This House solemnly notes the 20th anniversary of the death of 23 cocklers in Morecambe Bay on 5 February 2004; …
Bills
Wednesday 17th January 2024
Outdoor Education Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require that every child be offered at least one outdoor education experience during primary school years and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Refugee, Asylum & Migration Policy Project (RAMP)
Address of donor: The Courtyard, High Street, Ascot SL5 7HP …
EDM signed
Tuesday 30th January 2024
Compensation for Equitable Life policyholders
That this House recognises the financial, personal and social impact on policy holders following the collapse of Equitable Life Assurance …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 9th January 2024
Schools (Mental Health Professionals) (No. 2) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to make provision to require every school to have access to a qualified mental health professional; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Tim Farron has voted in 702 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Tim Farron voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Tim Farron voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Tim Farron voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 9 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
26 Apr 2023 - Illegal Migration Bill - View Vote Context
Tim Farron voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 284
View All Tim Farron 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
Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op))
(31 debate interactions)
Alex Norris (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)
(31 debate interactions)
Neil O'Brien (Conservative)
(30 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(100 debate contributions)
Home Office
(59 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023
(44,197 words contributed)
Agriculture Act 2020
(3,038 words contributed)
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022
(2,960 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Tim Farron's debates

Westmorland and Lonsdale Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Westmorland and Lonsdale signature proportion
Petitions with most Westmorland and Lonsdale signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Teaching Assistants are an extremely important part of the running of schools in England, but are not currently recognised as this by our government when reflecting on the wage.

No general statutory duty of care exists in HE. Yet, a duty of care is owed to students, and the Government should legislate for this. HE providers should know what their duty is. Students must know what they can expect. Parents expect their children to be safe at university.

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.


Latest EDMs signed by Tim Farron

7th February 2024
Tim Farron signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 7th February 2024

20th anniversary of cockling deaths at Morecambe Bay

Tabled by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
This House solemnly notes the 20th anniversary of the death of 23 cocklers in Morecambe Bay on 5 February 2004; honours their memory and holds their loved ones in our thoughts and in our prayers; remains committed to maintaining safety in the Bay and supports legislation that has prevented a …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 19 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
8th January 2024
Tim Farron signed this EDM on Tuesday 30th January 2024

Compensation for Equitable Life policyholders

Tabled by: Philippa Whitford (Scottish National Party - Central Ayrshire)
That this House recognises the financial, personal and social impact on policy holders following the collapse of Equitable Life Assurance Society; calls on the Treasury to ensure that all of the 1.5 billion pounds set aside for the Equitable Life Payments Scheme, is distributed to Equitable Life policyholders who suffered …
50 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 25
Labour: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Liberal Democrat: 4
Conservative: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Tim Farron's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

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

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


1 Urgent Question tabled by Tim Farron

Monday 3rd July 2023

Tim Farron has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

20 Bills introduced by Tim Farron


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to the family members of refugees and to refugees who are family members of British citizens and settled persons, to provide for legal aid to be made available for refugee family reunion cases, and for connected purposes

Lords Completed
Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 11th July 2018

A Bill to provide for parliamentary approval of trade agreements; to place a duty on the Secretary of State to consider UK agricultural, environmental and animal welfare standards when negotiating trade agreements; to require the Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the effects of potential trade agreements on farming, the rural environment and animal welfare and to produce associated reports; to require the Secretary of State to lay such reports before Parliament; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to provide for mandatory targets and timescales for the ending of sewage discharges into waterways and coastal areas; to make provision about the powers of Ofwat to monitor and enforce compliance with those targets and timescales; to require water companies to publish quarterly reports on the impact of sewage discharges on the natural environment, animal welfare and human health; to require the membership of water company boards to include at least one representative of an environmental group; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require that every child be offered at least one outdoor education experience during primary school years and at least one such experience during secondary school years; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 17th January 2024
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 21st June 2024
Order Paper number: 7
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to establish a new model of company structure for Thames Water, to be called a public benefit corporation; to require that public benefit corporation to consider public policy benefits, including reducing leaks and sewage dumping, as well as returns for shareholders; to limit the payment of dividends until a plan is in place to cut the corporation’s debt; and to require membership of the corporation’s board to include representatives of local environment groups.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 29th June 2023

A Bill to prevent and punish the theft of dogs and to deter the unlawful importation of certain animals into Great Britain; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 6th June 2023

A Bill to require that every child be offered at least one outdoor education experience during primary school years and at least one such experience during secondary school years; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 20th June 2023

A Bill to provide that higher education institutions have a duty of care for their students; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 21st June 2023

A Bill to define the term “green jobs”; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for their creation, including setting targets relating to green jobs, skills, and training; to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on performance in implementing that strategy; to require the Secretary of State to publish a plan to increase take-up of National Vocational Qualification courses related to low-carbon services; to establish a Commission to advise the Government and local authorities on increasing the availability of jobs in the low-carbon economy, including in areas with high levels of deprivation, and on ensuring access to good quality green jobs across the United Kingdom; to require the Commission to consult workers, communities, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and industry representatives; to require local authorities to report to the Commission on the availability in green jobs in their areas; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 14th December 2022

A Bill to require Parliamentary approval of coal extraction from new coal mines commissioned after November 2022; to require the Secretary of State to set targets for phasing out the extraction and use of coal and to report to Parliament on performance against those targets; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for increasing the use of renewable energy sources for steel production in place of coal; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 13th December 2022

A Bill to establish an independent regulatory body to monitor and enforce the compliance of public bodies with climate and environmental requirements and targets; to make provision for associated sanctions; to require the regulatory body to assess the environmental effects of potential trade agreements; to make provision about environmental standards, including in relation to animal welfare; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 28th April 2021
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to terminate a rail passenger services franchise agreement in certain circumstances; to repeal section 25 of the Railways Act 1993; to make provision for local franchising authorities in England; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 10th October 2018
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision to improve access to radiotherapy treatment in England; to define access in terms of the time that patients are required to travel to places providing treatment; to specify 45 minutes as the maximum time patients are to travel; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 19th December 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision to improve access to radiotherapy treatment in England; to define access in terms of the time that patients are required to travel to places providing treatment; to specify 45 minutes as the maximum time patients are to travel; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 29th November 2016
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about the conditions to be met by male blood donors, including removing the restrictions relating to blood donation from men who have sexual intercourse with men; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th February 2016

A Bill to make provision about the award of asylum-seeker status in the United Kingdom to certain unaccompanied children from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea displaced by conflict and present within the European Union; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 8th December 2015

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to undertake a programme of research into the costs and benefits of extending control of all aspects of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes entirely to Local Authorities, including the operation and consequences of such schemes and the introduction of the right of Local Authorities to suspend them; to report to Parliament within six months of the research being completed; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 4th February 2015

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 21st October 2014

A Bill to give local planning authorities the power to determine the requirements for affordable housing contributions from sites of fewer than 10 units as part of planning obligation agreements under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th September 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to give powers to the Secretary of State to provide for elections to be held to the governing boards of National Parks on a pilot basis; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 1st April 2014

19 Bills co-sponsored by Tim Farron

Schools (Mental Health Professionals) (No. 2) Bill 2023-24
Sponsor - Munira Wilson (LD)

Primary care services (report) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Daisy Cooper (LD)

High Income Child Benefit Charge (report to Parliament) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Jim Shannon (DUP)

Carers and Care Workers Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Helen Morgan (LD)

Fire and Building Safety (Public Inquiry) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Daisy Cooper (LD)

Plastics (Wet Wipes) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Fleur Anderson (Lab)

Short and Holiday-Let Accommodation (Registration) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Karen Buck (Lab)

Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LD)

Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Andrew Rosindell (Con)

Jet Skis (Licensing) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Hywel Williams (PC)

Plastic Pollution (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Prime Minister (Confidence) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Tom Brake (LD)

Plastic Pollution Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

House of Peers Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

Representation of the People (Gibraltar) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Craig Mackinlay (Con)

Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Caroline Spelman (Con)

Refugees (Family Reunion) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Angus Brendan MacNeil (Ind)

Public Authority (Accountability) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Andy Burnham (Lab)

Transparency and Accountability (European Union) Bill 2015-16
Sponsor - Caroline Lucas (Green)


671 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
21st Jun 2021
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Commissioners have had with the Government on the potential merits of reconsidering guidance on sung worship in churches from 21 June 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Bishop of London chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group and issued a statement on 15th June in which she said: “While we look forward to restrictions on worship being lifted in the near future, I will continue to press for ongoing appraisal of choral and congregational singing.” Also on 15th June the Bishop of Leeds raised concerns in a question in the House of Lords about inconsistencies on how restrictions are being applied.

Across our parishes live music is valued as integral to worship and for other well-being benefits that choral singing brings.

The Church continues to engage the Government through the Places of Worship Taskforce, and the Bishop of London has requested that the Taskforce reviews the future rules around singing before publication.

Meanwhile, singing under the current guidance remains possible within a very limited framework, both for indoor and outdoor singing.

The Church of England's own guidance on singing is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/COVID%2019%20advice%20on%20conducting%20public%20worship%20v3.5_0.pdf

The Government guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-suggested-principles-of-safer-singing/covid-19-suggested-principles-of-safer-singing

The Royal School of Church Music guidance is here: http://www.rscm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FAQs-re-Singing-19th-May-2021-1.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the number of farmers that have died by suicide in each of the last ten years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon Members Parliamentary Question of 19th December is attached.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the List of Ministerial Responsibilities will be next updated.

The List of Ministerial Responsibilities has been published on 19 December and placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It can also be found on GOV.UK at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities.

A revised List of Ministerial Responsibilities will be published in due course. In the meantime, departments are updating their ministers' pages on GOV.UK which also include portfolio information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants have been re-deployed to support the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government's number one priority is the response to the covid-19 outbreak. As such many civil servants within departments are working on different aspects of the overall response to the pandemic, and have been redeployed to do so. Comprehensive details of these internal redeloyments are not held centrally. The Government Resourcing Hub is also moving civil servants to COVID-19 roles across different departments.

18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants are engaged in negotiations with the EU on a post-transition period trade deal.

Negotiations with the EU are led by Task Force Europe. This is a small central unit within the Prime Minister’s Office led by the Chief Negotiator David Frost and currently has 42 staff. These negotiations are a cross-departmental effort and accordingly involve a larger number of staff overall. For example, more than a hundred UK staff have been involved in recent negotiating rounds, supported by FCO officials and others.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who enforces the Ministerial Code against the Prime Minister; and what the process is of that enforcement.

Paragraph 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out that Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the Code and for justifying their actions and conduct to Parliament and the public.

The Ministerial Code should be read against the background of the overarching duty on Ministers to comply with the law and to protect the integrity of public life.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent estimate she has made of the average waiting time for British food brands to be granted geographical indication status in Japan.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) entered into effect on 1 January 2021, and secured protection for 7 of the most economically valuable UK Geographical Indications (GIs) from day one.

The department is having positive discussions with the Japanese government on completing the process of registering GIs and adding them to our agreement text. We look forward to seeing progress soon, though as these discussions are live it would be inappropriate to comment on specific timescales.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many British food brands (a) have been granted and (b) are awaiting geographical indication status in Japan since the Government agreed a free trade deal with that country.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) entered into effect on 1 January 2021, and secured protection for 7 of the most economically valuable UK Geographical Indications (GIs) from day one.

The department is having positive discussions with the Japanese government on completing the process of registering GIs and adding them to our agreement text. We look forward to seeing progress soon, though as these discussions are live it would be inappropriate to comment on specific timescales.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many people worked in the Grocery Code Adjudicator in each year since 2019.

Information on the staffing of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is set out in the Adjudicator’s Annual Report and Accounts which is published and laid before Parliament each year.

The GCA does not employ its own staff but may make arrangements for staff to be seconded from any other public authority. It can also obtain support from temporary contractors. The numbers of secondees to the GCA at 31 March in each year since 2019 were as follows:

2018/2019 – 6 secondees

2019/2020 – 6 secondees

2020/2021 – 4 secondees

2021/2022 – 7 secondees

2022/2023 – 7 secondees

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how much funding the Grocery Code Adjudicator received (a) from the Government and (b) in total in each year from 2019 to 2022.

Information on the funding of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is set out in the Adjudicator’s Annual Report and Accounts which is published and laid before Parliament each year.

The GCA is funded through a levy on the designated retailers which is approved annually by the Secretary of State. The total levy imposed each year from 2018/19 was:

2018/2019 - £2 million

2019/2020 - £2 million

2020/2021 - £2 million

2021/2022 - £1.9 million

2022/2023 – £2 million

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of retail crime on the price of goods.

No assessment has been made.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an estimate of the percentage of properties in Westmorland and Lonsdale which will have Gigabit availability by the end of Project Gigabit.

As part of Project Gigabit, in November 2022 we awarded a £109 million contract to the supplier Fibrus to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to up to 59,000 premises across Cumbria that are not included in suppliers’ commercial plans.

By the end of the contract, it is expected that over 99% of premises in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency will have access to a gigabit-capable connection, through both subsidised and commercial delivery. This is a huge leap in gigabit-capable coverage across the constituency, which currently stands at slightly over 48%.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what information her Department holds on the number of postcode premises in Cumbria County Council that will be classified as White under Project Gigabit's classification system by the end of Project Gigabit in 2025.

Up to 59,000 premises are included in the £109 million Project Gigabit contract being delivered by Fibrus in Cumbria. Approximately 98% of these premises fall into the Cumbria County Council area.

There are approximately 5,200 premises within Project Gigabit in Cumbria which are currently planned to be delivered in 2026, the final year of the project.

There are also 22,000 premises which are in the ‘deferred scope’ of the contract. The deferred scope covers premises within active voucher projects, or where there is a reasonable likelihood of commercial coverage. To allow delivery through alternate means and the best use of public subsidy, these premises are held until the latter stages of the contract, and brought into plan if required. The likelihood is that the majority of premises within ‘deferred scope’ will be reached by other means, but otherwise they will be brought forward in the Project Gigabit plan.

BDUK will continue to monitor supplier plans in the area as the contract progresses, which will enable us to form an accurate picture of the premises that will be classified as ‘gigabit white’ at the end of 2025. These premises will be brought within the scope of Project Gigabit where possible.

Premises that are not reached as part of the Project Gigabit contract in Cumbria, or through suppliers’ commercial build plans, may become eligible for other interventions such as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme or potential future interventions aimed at connecting very hard to reach premises.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many properties in Cumbria County Council within the scope of Project Gigabit will not be connected by 2025.

Up to 59,000 premises are included in the £109 million Project Gigabit contract being delivered by Fibrus in Cumbria. Approximately 98% of these premises fall into the Cumbria County Council area.

There are approximately 5,200 premises within Project Gigabit in Cumbria which are currently planned to be delivered in 2026, the final year of the project.

There are also 22,000 premises which are in the ‘deferred scope’ of the contract. The deferred scope covers premises within active voucher projects, or where there is a reasonable likelihood of commercial coverage. To allow delivery through alternate means and the best use of public subsidy, these premises are held until the latter stages of the contract, and brought into plan if required. The likelihood is that the majority of premises within ‘deferred scope’ will be reached by other means, but otherwise they will be brought forward in the Project Gigabit plan.

BDUK will continue to monitor supplier plans in the area as the contract progresses, which will enable us to form an accurate picture of the premises that will be classified as ‘gigabit white’ at the end of 2025. These premises will be brought within the scope of Project Gigabit where possible.

Premises that are not reached as part of the Project Gigabit contract in Cumbria, or through suppliers’ commercial build plans, may become eligible for other interventions such as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme or potential future interventions aimed at connecting very hard to reach premises.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many properties in Cumbria County Council are within the scope of Project Gigabit.

Up to 59,000 premises are included in the £109 million Project Gigabit contract being delivered by Fibrus in Cumbria. Approximately 98% of these premises fall into the Cumbria County Council area.

There are approximately 5,200 premises within Project Gigabit in Cumbria which are currently planned to be delivered in 2026, the final year of the project.

There are also 22,000 premises which are in the ‘deferred scope’ of the contract. The deferred scope covers premises within active voucher projects, or where there is a reasonable likelihood of commercial coverage. To allow delivery through alternate means and the best use of public subsidy, these premises are held until the latter stages of the contract, and brought into plan if required. The likelihood is that the majority of premises within ‘deferred scope’ will be reached by other means, but otherwise they will be brought forward in the Project Gigabit plan.

BDUK will continue to monitor supplier plans in the area as the contract progresses, which will enable us to form an accurate picture of the premises that will be classified as ‘gigabit white’ at the end of 2025. These premises will be brought within the scope of Project Gigabit where possible.

Premises that are not reached as part of the Project Gigabit contract in Cumbria, or through suppliers’ commercial build plans, may become eligible for other interventions such as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme or potential future interventions aimed at connecting very hard to reach premises.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of letters handled by Royal Mail in England were not delivered within 5 days in the last year.

The Government does not hold this information.

Royal Mail, as the universal service provider, is required to publish quarterly statistics reports, and an annual overview, on its quality of service performance against targets set and reviewed by Ofcom, the postal industry regulator.

Ofcom has powers to investigate and take enforcement action where Royal Mail fails to achieve the regulated standards, without sufficient justification.

Royal Mail’s reports are available to view on its website: www.internationaldistributionsservices.com/en/about-us/regulation/quality-of-service/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of letters bearing second class stamps were delivered by Royal Mail within three days in the LA postcode area in the last year.

The Government does not hold this information.

Royal Mail, as the universal service provider, is required to publish quarterly statistics reports, and an annual overview, on its quality of service performance against targets set and reviewed by Ofcom, the postal industry regulator.

Ofcom has powers to investigate and take enforcement action where Royal Mail fails to achieve the regulated standards, without sufficient justification.

Royal Mail’s reports are available to view on its website: www.internationaldistributionsservices.com/en/about-us/regulation/quality-of-service/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of letters bearing first class stamps were delivered by Royal Mail the following day in the last year.

The Government does not hold this information.

Royal Mail, as the universal service provider, is required to publish quarterly statistics reports, and an annual overview, on its quality of service performance against targets set and reviewed by Ofcom, the postal industry regulator.

Ofcom has powers to investigate and take enforcement action where Royal Mail fails to achieve the regulated standards, without sufficient justification.

Royal Mail’s reports are available to view on its website: www.internationaldistributionsservices.com/en/about-us/regulation/quality-of-service/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of letters bearing first class stamps were delivered by Royal Mail within three days in the LA postcode area in the last year.

The Government does not hold this information.

Royal Mail, as the universal service provider, is required to publish quarterly statistics reports, and an annual overview, on its quality of service performance against targets set and reviewed by Ofcom, the postal industry regulator.

Ofcom has powers to investigate and take enforcement action where Royal Mail fails to achieve the regulated standards, without sufficient justification.

Royal Mail’s reports are available to view on its website: www.internationaldistributionsservices.com/en/about-us/regulation/quality-of-service/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake a feasibility study for a tidal energy project in Morecambe Bay.

The Government is open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing the tidal range energy in the bays and estuaries around our coastlines, including barrage schemes and other alternatives. Revised guidance in the energy National Policy Statement will be published shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions have taken place between bodies associated with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the governments of the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man regarding potential transboundary impacts of activities associated with the planned construction of a geological disposal facility for the storage of high-level radioactive waste.

Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), a division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is the delivery body for the geological disposal facility (GDF). NWS meets with officials from the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man under the auspices of the regular UK-Ireland Contact Group to update them on the siting process for a GDF, including sighting them on potential impacts of activities it undertakes to identify a suitable location. The community consent-based process to identify and select a site in England is at an early stage. Currently, four possible areas are under consideration – three in Cumbria and one in Lincolnshire.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake an assessment of the contribution of community energy; and what discussions his Department has had with Ofgem on the value of community energy in helping to deliver (a) lower bills, (b) energy security and (c) net zero.

As promised in the Net Zero Strategy, the Government has created a Community Energy Contact Group to discuss policy and delivery issues relevant to community energy, including the contribution that community energy can make, to strengthen engagement with the sector.

Ministers and officials regularly meet with Ofgem to discuss a range of issues relating to the energy market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote community energy.

The Government encourages community energy groups to work closely with local authorities to support the development of UK-wide growth funding schemes. The Government is working with the sector to deliver a programme which will support local authorities develop community-led energy groups and projects. The Government has provided £10m funding to community energy groups through the Rural Community Energy Fund.

The Government has not made a formal assessment of the role of community energy in reducing household energy bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential role of community energy in reducing household energy bills.

The Government encourages community energy groups to work closely with local authorities to support the development of UK-wide growth funding schemes. The Government is working with the sector to deliver a programme which will support local authorities develop community-led energy groups and projects. The Government has provided £10m funding to community energy groups through the Rural Community Energy Fund.

The Government has not made a formal assessment of the role of community energy in reducing household energy bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government is planning to introduce a cap on the price per litre of heating oil for domestic heating.

The Government has carefully considered the introduction of a price cap to help heating oil customers with high fuel prices. However, government analysis indicates that a cap would not be in the long-term interests of consumers.

The existing gas and electricity price cap was designed to protect consumers on default tariffs from the loyalty penalty, which the Competitions and Markets Authority warned was causing customers to be overcharged. The structure of the heating oil market is different and imposing a price cap below wholesale costs would drive companies out of the market, reducing competition and possibly result in supply shortages.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support people in rural areas who use heating oil as their primary heating method with the cost of living.

The Government understands that fuel prices are an important component of UK household and business expenditures and is sympathetic to the impact of domestic fuel costs on UK consumers.

The Government recently announced a £15 billion package to support households with the cost of living, in addition to the over £22 billion that had already been committed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to amend the Weights and Measures Act to decrease the 500 litre minimum required for a delivery of heating oil.

At present there are no plans to decrease the 500-litre minimum required for a delivery of heating oil.

For many years the industry standard for a minimum delivery of oil for efficiency reasons has been 500 litres, using mechanical meters calibrated and sealed by Trading Standards using tamper proof seals.

Whilst legislation allows the minimum delivery to be lower than 500 litres using electronic meters, any equipment must meet statutory requirements in terms of the accuracy of delivery, and type approval for the equipment must be obtained.

The vast majority of heating oil delivery vehicles are fitted with mechanical meters only.

The National Measurement and Regulation Office advise that smaller deliveries than the certified amount should not be made without the tankers meter being approved for smaller deliveries.

However due to the costs involved in making smaller deliveries and the reduction of productivity levels, the price per litre is likely to be proportionately much higher.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to introduce financial protection for consumers of heating oil equivalent to the existing energy price cap on gas and electricity.

The Government believes it is essential that consumers of domestic fuels get a fair deal.  There is an open market for the supply of heating oil in the UK as we believe this provides the best long-term guarantee of competitive prices. A price cap is not necessary as consumers can shop around and switch supplier more easily than for gas and electricity.

Customers who are not on the gas grid will be protected by the energy price cap if they are on a default tariff with their electricity supplier.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the number of (a) air and (b) ground source heat pumps to help decrease dependency on heating oil.

The Government is providing targeted funding to support the installation of heat pumps in off-gas grid buildings. This includes the £1.1bn Home Upgrade Grant, which will improve the worst performing low-income, off gas grid homes through energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures, and the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which will provide upfront grants to households and small businesses wishing to transition to low carbon heating, including buildings in off gas grid areas.

The Government has also consulted on proposals to end the installation of new fossil fuel heating in off-gas grid buildings, with a ‘heat pump first’ approach to replacement heating systems. We are currently reviewing responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential to use hydrogen in the production of steel.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy commits the Government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. Hydrogen-based steelmaking, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), and electrification are some of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process.

Published in October, the Net Zero Strategy committed to provide further support for research and innovation to enable the fuel switch to low carbon hydrogen on industrial sites, such as integrated steelworks. This will be delivered through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and initiatives led by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to fund a clean steel demonstrator project.

The Government recognises the vital role that the sector plays across the UK to benefit our economy. We will continue to work with the sector to support its decarbonisation.

In March 2021, the Government published the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy in which we committed to working with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035 and the business environment necessary to support the transition. We will provide further information in due course.

Published in October, the Net Zero Strategy committed to provide further support for research and innovation to enable the fuel switch to low carbon hydrogen on industrial sites, such as integrated steelworks. This will be delivered through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and initiatives led by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the proposed Whitehaven coal mine.

Planning is a quasi-judicial process, and solely a matter for my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Ministers in BEIS have had no discussions with him on the proposed mine at Whitehaven.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he made of the implications for his policies of the International Energy Agency's findings that coal should be kept in the ground.

The Government has committed to phasing out unabated coal generation in Great Britain by October 2024. Coal’s share of our electricity supply has already declined significantly in recent years – from almost 40% in 2012 to less than 2% in 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the transition to renewable heating systems will have on (a) UK grid capacity and (b) the North West’s grid capacity.

To achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we will need to decarbonise virtually all heat in buildings. Government analysis indicates that heat pumps are likely to play an important role in this transition, which is why my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister announced our ambition to reach 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028. In combination with an increase in electric vehicle deployment, this is likely to increase demand for electricity.

Ensuring the adequacy of the electricity network is the responsibility of electricity network companies, and they are incentivised to do so through the regulatory framework set out by Ofgem, the independent regulator. Electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) submitted their draft business plans for the next price control (RIIO ED2), which will run from 2023-28, on 1 July. Final draft business plans submissions are expected to be made by DNOs in December of this year. As part of this, DNOs, including Electricity North West who are the licensed operator for the distribution network in the North West, will include forecasts for the uptake of renewable heating systems and how they plan to ready the network for these technologies.

A new Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, developed jointly by BEIS and Ofgem, will be published shortly. The plan will set out how deploying low carbon technologies, including heat pumps, in a smart and flexible way can reduce the requirement for large increases in generation capacity and support the balancing of the electricity system. This approach benefits all electricity system users by reducing overall system costs and carbon emissions, while also supporting system stability.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will set out his plans (a) to accelerate the uptake in heat and ground pumps and (b) for the roll out other renewable heating sources.

As announced in the Ten-Point Plan, we aim to install 600,000 hydronic heat pumps per year by 2028. We are putting together a comprehensive policy package to support this ambition, including targeted regulatory, market-based and public investment measures.

These measures include the Future Homes Standard that will ensure new homes are built with high levels of energy efficiency and low carbon heating from 2025, the Clean Heat Grant scheme, launching in 2022, and a new market-based policy putting industry at the heart of growing the heat pump market.

Heat pumps have already been proven to work at scale in buildings, delivering effective heating with lower emissions than fossil fuel heating. However, there are a range of potential low carbon heating solutions, including hydrogen, heat networks and biomethane that could help deliver our net zero target. We will set out further details on how we accelerate uptake of heat pumps and our approach to other low carbon heating technologies in our forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses failed in each month of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Monthly data on business closures during the 2007-2008 financial crisis are not available.

Data on total annual business closures have been provided in the table below, showing annual numbers of business closures between 2006 and 2010.

Table: Annual number of business closures, 2006 to 2010, all registered businesses

Year

Number of business closures

2006

207,000

2007

224,000

2008

223,000

2009

277,000

2010

250,000

Source: Office for National Statistics ‘Business Demography, UK: 2011’

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of businesses which have failed in each month since April 2020.

Monthly data on business closures since April 2020 are not available.

Quarterly data on business closures since April 2020 can be provided.

The table below contains this information, along with numbers of business closures in each quarter of 2019 and quarter 1 2020 for reference.

Table: Quarterly UK business closures, 2019 to 2020, all registered businesses

Quarter and Year

Number of business closures

Q1 2019

85,260

Q2 2019

101,505

Q3 2019

83,145

Q4 2019

77,815

Q1 2020

120,235

Q2 2020

93,055

Q3 2020

76,265

Q4 2020

106,400

Source: Office for National Statistics 'Business demography, quarterly experimental statistics, UK'

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage and incentivise businesses to embrace innovative green technologies and to invest in green jobs, skills and training in the North West.

We are determined to seize the opportunities of the net zero transition, which by one estimate could support up to 2 million green jobs by 2030 across all regions of the UK. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan will create long-term advantage for the UK in low-carbon technologies and services. Investment in the green economy across sectors including offshore wind, nuclear, low carbon heating, CCUS and clean hydrogen will benefit regions across the UK.

We will bring forward the Local Recovery and Devolution White Paper, detailing how the Government will build a sustainable economic recovery across the country. We have also launched the Green Jobs Taskforce to advise what support is needed for people in transitioning industries. The taskforce will conclude its work in spring 2021, with the actions feeding into our Net Zero Strategy to be published later in the year.

The Government’s actions are delivering results in the North West. We have invested in excess of £4m of the Local Growth Fund in Cumbria for developing skills in higher and further education, working alongside employers to support high quality jobs in new and emerging sustainable and green technologies. This includes support for Kendal College on training for future jobs such as electric vehicle maintenance, with over 600 apprentices supporting employers in the green economy in South Lakeland.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to incentivise investment capital in low carbon (a) innovation, (b) technology and (c) energy solutions to help accelerate the delivery of regional decarbonisation targets.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution will create long-term advantage for the UK in low-carbon technologies and services. It will support up to 250,000 green jobs, levelling up regions across the UK, and reinvigorate our industrial heartlands. The Plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

Delivering clean investment at the scale and pace required will mean taking bold steps. That is why we will issue the UK’s first Sovereign Green Bond and we will create a new infrastructure bank for the UK which will co-invest alongside private sector investors in infrastructure projects.

As part of the Plan, we announced £1 billion for the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to develop the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach our energy ambitions. We are also investing up to £500 million for low carbon hydrogen production across the decade with £240 million confirmed out to 2024/2025 and £1 billion to capture carbon from power stations and industry, helping to support 50,000 jobs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the Green Homes Grant for 12 months to March 2022 to (a) allow the full uptake of the scheme and (b) help stimulate new green jobs.

The Government is committed to improving the building stock as part of reaching our net zero targets. We recognise the importance of providing industry with certainty over demand in future years in order for them to have confidence to invest and grow their businesses.

We are working to provide that certainty and have therefore confirmed that the delivery dates for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator will extend into 2021/22 to provide assurance that work will be available. Outside of support schemes, we are creating the regulatory environment to drive retrofit and on 30th September we published a consultation on further improving the energy performance of privately rented homes over the 2020s, which provides a clear signal on how Government is committed to improving the housing stock.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses that are eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme will also be able to access the Top-up to local business grant fund scheme announced on 2 May 2020.

On 1 May 2020 during a call to Local Authorities, the Government announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants to support businesses and local economies across England.

Businesses that have received Self-employment Income Support are not eligible for funding under the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to extend the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to businesses that have no rateable property but have been adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Whether or not a business is liable for Business Rates, or occupies business premises, is not a consideration under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, a smaller business must:

  • Be UK based in its business activity, with turnover of no more than £45m per year.
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish (a) a comprehensive list of what is deemed essential domestic utility work, (b) instructions on whether utility workers should engage in non-essential work and (c) his plans to ensure that employers (i) obey those instructions and (ii) support their workers to do so.

Based on current medical advice, the Government has stated that workers can continue to work when they cannot work from home, show no symptoms of Covid-19, and live in a household where no person is self-isolating.

We encourage households to engage with tradespeople on this basis, so urgent health and safety issues within homes can be inspected or remedied. Where such work takes place, Public Health England’s social distancing guidelines should be followed, which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#tradespeople-and-working-in-peoples-homes.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will clarify the guidance on work that is (a) prohibited and (b) regarded as essential in the (i) construction and (ii) utility industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure and providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in. The Government has stated that construction and utilities work should continue where it can take place in line with the guidance provided by Public Health England.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to introduce further restrictions to the work of (a) construction workers, (b) electricians and (c) plumbers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure and providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in. The Government has stated that construction and utilities work should continue where it can take place in line with the guidance provided by Public Health England.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) plumbers and (b) electricians working for clients in confined spaces in domestic properties do not transmit covid-19 between their clients' households.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, as well as in providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in.

Based on current medical advice, utility workers who cannot work from home, who show no symptoms of Covid-19, and who live in households where no person is self-isolating, can continue to go to work. We encourage households to continue to engage with tradespeople on this basis so that essential repairs and maintenance can be carried out. Where such work takes place, Public Health England (PHE) guidelines should be followed, including social distancing measures where possible.

Construction activity can continue in line with PHE guidance. Through the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry has issued Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with PHE guidance. The SOP set out that, where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres, then employers should closely consider whether the activity needs to continue for the site to operate.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on work and social distancing of 2 metres of utility workers working (a) in confined domestic residences on jobs that require multiple workers and (b) on construction sites on jobs that require materials to be transported between individuals.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, as well as in providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in.

Based on current medical advice, utility workers who cannot work from home, who show no symptoms of Covid-19, and who live in households where no person is self-isolating, can continue to go to work. We encourage households to continue to engage with tradespeople on this basis so that essential repairs and maintenance can be carried out. Where such work takes place, Public Health England (PHE) guidelines should be followed, including social distancing measures where possible.

Construction activity can continue in line with PHE guidance. Through the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry has issued Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with PHE guidance. The SOP set out that, where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres, then employers should closely consider whether the activity needs to continue for the site to operate.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance the Government has provided on what employees should do if their employer is asking them to continue going to work and (a) their job role could be completed at home or (b) social distancing is not adhered to.

The Government has been clear that employers should carefully consider Public Health England’s social distancing guidance. The guidance sets out that employers should help their staff to find alternative arrangements to support them to work from home, , including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Where people cannot work from home, they can continue going into their place of work as long as Public Health England’s guidance is closely followed. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

Where a worker has a concern about health and safety which cannot be resolved through speaking with their employer or trade union, they can contact the relevant enforcement agency – either their local authority or the Health and Safety Executive. Where the Health and Safety Executive are made aware of an employer not complying with the relevant Public Health England guidance (including enabling social distancing where it is practical to do so), the Health and Safety Executive will consider a range of actions, from providing specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has for the provision of postal services in Oxenholme and Allithwaite in response to the closure of their Post Offices.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, provision of postal services in Oxenholme and Allithwaite is operational to Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department's consultation on second homes and holiday lets will be complete.

The Government has not yet carried out a consultation on developing a tourist accommodation registration scheme in England.

In June, DCMS issued a Call for Evidence with the aim to develop a fuller understanding of the current market, and the benefits and challenges presented by the rise in short-term and holiday letting seen in England over the last 10 to 15 years.

The Call for Evidence closed in September 2022, and DCMS are now carefully analysing the 4000 responses that were received. This will help inform our next steps on potential evidence-based and proportionate policy responses.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding has been allocated to Powell's Pool to ensure that it meets acceptable water quality safety standards for the Commonwealth Games Triathlon and Paratriathlon events.

Birmingham City Council is responsible for Powell’s Pool as part of the wider operation, management and maintenance of Sutton Park. Birmingham City Council has been regularly monitoring the water quality in Powell’s Pool and sharing this data with the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee. Any funding allocated to ensuring the pool meets acceptable water quality safety standards for the Games comes from Birmingham City Council’s existing budgets and not from the budget for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will list the schools in England by (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority which have been contacted due to their buildings containing reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out.

The Government published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the average time taken to register a new school; and whether she is taking steps to reduce processing times.

The Department acts as the regulator of independent schools on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. The Department’s registration guidance document is clear that the process for registering a new independent school can take around six months from receipt of a complete application. The Department is content that this target is being met. For the period February to June 2023, it has taken on average 23 weeks to reach a decision on registration from the date on which a complete application was submitted.

The Department follows a robust set of processes that aim to safeguard and protect children and ensure that only applications that are likely to meet all of the independent school standards (ISS) are approved for registration. Schools not meeting the ISS are not providing a safe and suitable education for children. The Department’s processes include a mandatory pre-registration inspection conducted by Ofsted on the degree to which the ISS are likely to be met in this school. Any proposal to reduce the processing time must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of children is not reduced through more limited scrutiny of new applications.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase SEND support in schools.

The department is determined that all children and young people receive the support they need to benefit from their education and progress to the next stage of their lives. All teachers should be confident in identifying and supporting pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice:0-25 Years (2015), sets out what schools should do to fulfil their duties to identify and support all children with SEND, regardless of whether they have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. The SEND Code of Practice can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/398815/SEND_Code_of_Practice_January_2015.pdf.

The department published the SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan in March 2023. Quality teaching and support are vital for children with SEND to reach their full potential. As part of this a new leadership level Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) National Professional Qualification will be introduced for schools. The department is also taking steps to build teacher expertise in meeting the needs of children with SEND through a review of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and Early Career Framework.

The most recent Ofsted education inspection framework also places greater emphasis on what schools are doing to support children and young people with SEND to progress and achieve their goals.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to encourage young people to (a) enter the hospitality and tourism industry and (b) undertake a degree apprenticeship in tourism.

The department is introducing T Levels in a phased approach, with a strong emphasis on quality, both of the qualification itself and its delivery. We can only assess the impact on an industry of the introduction of T Level once we’re able to assess the positive impact the T Level makes.

The department communicated the decision to defer the T Level in Catering in March 2023, and providers have subsequently supported students interested in this T Level to find alternate learning programmes to suit their needs, with existing qualifications still funded and available until after the Catering T Level is rolled out.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education regularly reviews its occupational standards across all sectors. It is currently in the process of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in catering and hospitality, to ensure that the occupational standards in this sector which underpin apprenticeships and T Level technical qualifications are up to date, and fully meet the needs of employers.

There is no T Level specifically in travel and tourism, but T Levels in business and administration are well placed to develop the skills that are relevant to many occupations in this area. Students will then be able to tailor their programme by undertaking their industry placement with a relevant employer in the sector.

A range of other provision is available to those young people who want to gain skills in the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism Sectors.

There are 137 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Hospitality and catering sector for 16-19 year olds that are approved for funding in 2023/2024, and 73 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Travel and tourism sector for 16-19 year olds approved for funding in 2023/2024. Existing travel and tourism qualifications are still in receipt of funding until 2026.

The department is encouraging awarding organisations to develop travel and tourism-focused technical qualifications at Level 3, working with employers, colleges, and schools to design new qualifications that support young people to enter employment or further technical study where that is what they want to do.

Apprenticeships provide people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the hospitality and tourism sector. Employers in this sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 3 Travel Consultant, Level 4 Hospitality Manager and Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef. We want to see more young people from all backgrounds undertaking degree apprenticeships, that provide people with high-quality training and are important in supporting productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. Over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships.

Young people can also benefit from the Free Courses for Jobs offer of a free Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering delivered by a range of providers in England. This offer was extended to include Hospitality and Catering due to a significant skills shortage in the sector following the lifting of lockdown, and robust labour market analysis showing the opportunities in this field.

All young people and learners have access to impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance which empowers them to progress into work or the next stage of their career. This will include advice on a range of options for training in areas such as Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of how many students would have taken the T level in Catering and Hospitality this year.

The department is introducing T Levels in a phased approach, with a strong emphasis on quality, both of the qualification itself and its delivery. We can only assess the impact on an industry of the introduction of T Level once we’re able to assess the positive impact the T Level makes.

The department communicated the decision to defer the T Level in Catering in March 2023, and providers have subsequently supported students interested in this T Level to find alternate learning programmes to suit their needs, with existing qualifications still funded and available until after the Catering T Level is rolled out.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education regularly reviews its occupational standards across all sectors. It is currently in the process of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in catering and hospitality, to ensure that the occupational standards in this sector which underpin apprenticeships and T Level technical qualifications are up to date, and fully meet the needs of employers.

There is no T Level specifically in travel and tourism, but T Levels in business and administration are well placed to develop the skills that are relevant to many occupations in this area. Students will then be able to tailor their programme by undertaking their industry placement with a relevant employer in the sector.

A range of other provision is available to those young people who want to gain skills in the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism Sectors.

There are 137 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Hospitality and catering sector for 16-19 year olds that are approved for funding in 2023/2024, and 73 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Travel and tourism sector for 16-19 year olds approved for funding in 2023/2024. Existing travel and tourism qualifications are still in receipt of funding until 2026.

The department is encouraging awarding organisations to develop travel and tourism-focused technical qualifications at Level 3, working with employers, colleges, and schools to design new qualifications that support young people to enter employment or further technical study where that is what they want to do.

Apprenticeships provide people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the hospitality and tourism sector. Employers in this sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 3 Travel Consultant, Level 4 Hospitality Manager and Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef. We want to see more young people from all backgrounds undertaking degree apprenticeships, that provide people with high-quality training and are important in supporting productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. Over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships.

Young people can also benefit from the Free Courses for Jobs offer of a free Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering delivered by a range of providers in England. This offer was extended to include Hospitality and Catering due to a significant skills shortage in the sector following the lifting of lockdown, and robust labour market analysis showing the opportunities in this field.

All young people and learners have access to impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance which empowers them to progress into work or the next stage of their career. This will include advice on a range of options for training in areas such as Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeship places have been available in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector in each of the last ten years.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to receive high quality training and to begin or progress in a career in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector. There are 40 occupationally specific apprenticeship standards currently available in this sector, including Level 3 veterinary nurse, Level 4 countryside ranger and Level 5 horticulture and landscaping technical manager.

The first employer-designed apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2014 to replace apprenticeship frameworks, as part of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Since August 2020, all new apprentices have been on apprenticeships designed against these standards. The table below shows the current number of apprenticeship standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IfATE) agriculture, environmental and animal care occupational route. Three further standards are currently in development.

Year

Apprenticeship standards available

2015

3

2016

4

2017

7

2018

18

2019

24

2020

31

2021

40

2022

40

2023

40

Employers decide which apprenticeship places they offer and when, according to the needs of their business. The table below shows the number of apprenticeship starts in the agriculture, horticulture and animal care sector subject area, across both apprenticeship frameworks and standards, since the 2012/13 academic year.

Academic Years

Framework Starts

Standards Starts

Total Starts

2012/13

7,090

N/A

7,090

2013/14

7,060

N/A

7,060

2014/15

7,010

N/A

7,010

2015/16

8,190

N/A

8,190

2016/17

7,330

60

7,390

2017/18

5,330

1,320

6,640

2018/19

3,190

3,460

6,650

2019/20

1,940

3,950

5,890

2020/21

120

5,410

5,530

2021/22

30

6,630

6,660

2022/23 (Aug to Jan)

Low

4,480

4,480

To note:

  • Low means fewer than five.
  • There has been a small number of starts on frameworks since their withdrawal in 2020. Framework starts are recorded where an apprentice is returning to framework apprenticeship after an extensive break.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many high-quality apprenticeship standards were available in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector in each of the last ten years.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to receive high quality training and to begin or progress in a career in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector. There are 40 occupationally specific apprenticeship standards currently available in this sector, including Level 3 veterinary nurse, Level 4 countryside ranger and Level 5 horticulture and landscaping technical manager.

The first employer-designed apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2014 to replace apprenticeship frameworks, as part of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Since August 2020, all new apprentices have been on apprenticeships designed against these standards. The table below shows the current number of apprenticeship standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IfATE) agriculture, environmental and animal care occupational route. Three further standards are currently in development.

Year

Apprenticeship standards available

2015

3

2016

4

2017

7

2018

18

2019

24

2020

31

2021

40

2022

40

2023

40

Employers decide which apprenticeship places they offer and when, according to the needs of their business. The table below shows the number of apprenticeship starts in the agriculture, horticulture and animal care sector subject area, across both apprenticeship frameworks and standards, since the 2012/13 academic year.

Academic Years

Framework Starts

Standards Starts

Total Starts

2012/13

7,090

N/A

7,090

2013/14

7,060

N/A

7,060

2014/15

7,010

N/A

7,010

2015/16

8,190

N/A

8,190

2016/17

7,330

60

7,390

2017/18

5,330

1,320

6,640

2018/19

3,190

3,460

6,650

2019/20

1,940

3,950

5,890

2020/21

120

5,410

5,530

2021/22

30

6,630

6,660

2022/23 (Aug to Jan)

Low

4,480

4,480

To note:

  • Low means fewer than five.
  • There has been a small number of starts on frameworks since their withdrawal in 2020. Framework starts are recorded where an apprentice is returning to framework apprenticeship after an extensive break.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding the Government has allocated to agricultural colleges in each of the last five years.

The attached Excel spreadsheet supplies the allocation values for institutions which are specified as Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and includes the institution name and UK Provider Reference Number.

Allocations of funding are provided on an academic year basis, August through July, and therefore span multiple years. Whilst the funding is allocated to Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges, these institutions do deliver other study programmes. The data does not include funding for employer led apprenticeships or any funding devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure the quality and quantity of primary religious education training in initial teacher training and for early career teachers.

One of the department’s priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the highly skilled teachers needed, as set out in our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019. In the 2020/21 academic year, the department exceeded the postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) target in religious education (129% of target), and in 2021/22 we met 99% of the target.

The department does not prescribe the curriculum content of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. However, courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level. The ITT Core Content Framework sets out a minimum entitlement of knowledge, skills and experiences that trainees need to enter the profession in the best position possible to teach and support all children and young people. The framework is not subject specific but sets out a minimum entitlement to training that accredited ITT providers must incorporate into their primary and/or secondary ITT curricula. It is up to partnerships to make choices around curriculum and sequencing to suit the subject, phase, and age range that trainees will be teaching.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department’s priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers. We have improved our training support offer to all schools and teachers, to ensure that they receive high quality training and development at every stage of their career, from initial teacher training and the introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms through to leadership qualifications.

The ECF reforms were introduced to improve support for early career teachers. The ECF itself underpins what all early career teachers should learn about and learn how to do based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. It is designed to work for all early career teachers of religious education as well as all others regardless of subject, phase and/or school.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Ofsted research review series: religious education, published on 12 May 2021, what plans his Department has to ensure access to high quality in-service training for leaders and teachers of religious education.

One of the department’s priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the highly skilled teachers needed, as set out in our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019. In the 2020/21 academic year, the department exceeded the postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) target in religious education (129% of target), and in 2021/22 we met 99% of the target.

The department does not prescribe the curriculum content of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. However, courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level. The ITT Core Content Framework sets out a minimum entitlement of knowledge, skills and experiences that trainees need to enter the profession in the best position possible to teach and support all children and young people. The framework is not subject specific but sets out a minimum entitlement to training that accredited ITT providers must incorporate into their primary and/or secondary ITT curricula. It is up to partnerships to make choices around curriculum and sequencing to suit the subject, phase, and age range that trainees will be teaching.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department’s priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers. We have improved our training support offer to all schools and teachers, to ensure that they receive high quality training and development at every stage of their career, from initial teacher training and the introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms through to leadership qualifications.

The ECF reforms were introduced to improve support for early career teachers. The ECF itself underpins what all early career teachers should learn about and learn how to do based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. It is designed to work for all early career teachers of religious education as well as all others regardless of subject, phase and/or school.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce a national professional qualification for religious education leaders.

National professional qualifications (NPQs) are a national, voluntary suite of qualifications, designed to support the professional development of teachers and school leaders.

NPQs are based on the latest evidence of what works and have been developed by teachers, leaders, and education experts, and are designed to allow for practical implementation in their own settings across the country. NPQs provide teachers access to the best possible in-role training and support, both in specialist areas of practice, such as leading the teaching and learning of a subject, key stage, or phase, and in leadership roles, too.

Each NPQ is underpinned by a content framework. The content of the NPQ frameworks build on and complement one another, to deliver a shared understanding of the principles of effective professional development.

While it is not subject-specific, the NPQ in Leading Teaching will enable professionals to develop expert teaching practice within their relevant context through the use of subject-specific, phase-specific, or domain-specific exemplification materials.

NPQs are also designed to allow professionals to develop expert teaching and leadership practice to apply this to their relevant context.

NPQs can and should be supplemented by a variety of subject-specific professional development, including that which is provided by schools, trusts, subject associations, charities, curriculum hubs, Oak National Academy, and other private training organisations.

The government is committed to delivering 500,000 teacher training opportunities over the next 3 years. As part of this, we are investing in training scholarships so that all teachers and school leaders in state-funded schools can access NPQs for free over the next three academic years.

The department encourages all Religious Education leaders to consider enrolling on a fully-funded NPQ. To do so, they should contact their local Teaching School Hub in the first instance. Further information about NPQs and the content frameworks can be accessed on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to protect school funding from the rise in electricity and gas prices.

We recognise that schools face inflationary pressures, and we continue to monitor the impact of rising utility costs on schools.

Cost increases should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering real terms per pupil increases to school funding with a £4 billion cash increase in the core schools budget next year, taking total funding to £53.8 billion. This includes an additional £1.2 billion for schools in the new schools supplementary grant for the 2022-23 financial year. Overall, this represents a 5% real terms per pupil boost, helping schools meet the pressures we know they are facing.

The department pays close attention to the financial health of the sector. We know that the vast majority of school expenditure is devoted to staff costs, with only about a quarter required for non-staff costs, including those related to utility bills. This means that even while costs are rising, inflation in this area would only have an impact on a small portion of a school’s overall budget.

All schools can access a range of school resource management (SRM) tools to help them get the best value from their resources to help them save on regular purchases and reduce non-teaching costs. This means schools can more effectively invest their resources into areas that improve educational outcomes for all pupils. Our SRM tools include two recommended deals for energy costs and ancillary services relating to energy, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-a-dfe-approved-framework-for-your-school. We have also launched the new ‘get help with buying for schools’ service, a new national service to help schools realise value for money and savings on non-staff spend, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools/get-help-with-buying-for-schools.

We know that every school’s circumstances are different, and where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the level of funding that will be allocated to agricultural colleges in (a) 2021, (b) 2022, (c) 2023 and (d) 2024.

In common with all other types of provider, funding allocations to agricultural colleges for the 2021/22 academic year for 16-19 students have yet to be finalised. While we have now issued allocations to individual schools and colleges, we are still considering business cases from providers. Until this process is complete, funding allocations are still subject to change.

Providers in receipt of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Adult Education Budget (AEB), including agricultural colleges, will receive an allocation for the 2021/22 academic funding year which is the same as it was in 2020/21, with any necessary adjustments for the impact of devolution and to remove allocations that were for one year only. In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority are responsible for making provider allocations.

Allocations beyond the 2021/22 academic year for both 16-19 funding and the AEB are subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding the Government allocated to agricultural colleges in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, (c) 2019 and (d) 2020.

Allocation values are supplied for institutions specified as Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and includes the institution name and UK Provider Reference Number as the identifier in the accompanying excel document.

Allocations are on an academic year basis (August to July) and therefore span multiple years. We have provided the values from August 2016 to July 2021, where this is not the case it is caveated in the notes.

The data does not contain information relating to:

Each year will have policy changes which are not detailed in the notes.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether dormitory rooms at outdoor education centres in England and Wales will be subject to individual occupancy restrictions once overnight residentials are permitted from 17 May 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

In line with the Government’s roadmap, the Department advises against domestic residential educational visits until at least step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits.

The Department will update guidance in line with the timetable set out in the roadmap, including advice on educational visits.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how portable apprenticeships will operate.

We are committed to supporting greater use of apprenticeships in sectors where flexible working practices are commonplace, including short periods of project-based employment.

To support these sectors, we are launching a £7 million fund to support the creation and expansion of apprenticeship training agencies which offer portable apprenticeships, enabling apprentices to move between different host employers as they complete their training.

We continue to work closely with the creative and agricultural industries in increasing the portability of apprenticeships and will set out further details in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how portable apprenticeships will be defined.

We are committed to supporting greater use of apprenticeships in sectors where flexible working practices are commonplace, including short periods of project-based employment.

To support these sectors, we are launching a £7 million fund to support the creation and expansion of apprenticeship training agencies which offer portable apprenticeships, enabling apprentices to move between different host employers as they complete their training.

We continue to work closely with the creative and agricultural industries in increasing the portability of apprenticeships and will set out further details in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's Covid-19 Response: Spring 2021 roadmap, on what date Outdoor Education services are expected to open for (a) day visits and non-residential activities and (b) overnight residential stays.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department will issue advice to schools on the planning and booking of residential trips when it is safe to do so and in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many electronic devices have been (a) issued to (i) children and (ii) schools and (b) requested by schools to support children during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, the Government has provided 4G wireless routers.

The Department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers have been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts in total, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

As of the end of June, over 202,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts. Where local authorities and academy trusts provided evidence of a need for eligible children that is greater than their initial allocation, the Department has been working with them to provide additional devices.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has provided to schools on the provision of additional pastoral support for pupils when they return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The return to school is a key part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance at school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing, and enables staff to directly provide pastoral support.

Throughout the government’s guidance on the wider opening of schools, we have encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as pupils return. Children in Reception, year 1 and year 6 are now able to return to primary, and year 10 and year 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary. Primary schools with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures, and we have given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term to provide pastoral support. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September and guidance will be published soon.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that school behaviour policies do not adversely affect students who have experienced trauma as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

It is important for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, where everyone follows the rules. The Department has published advice that sets out how, as schools start to welcome pupils back, schools should update their behaviour policy to reflect the new protective measures and new rules and routines:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Schools will be aware that the current circumstances can affect the mental health of pupils in a way that affects behaviour. Our guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2.

It sets out how mental health issues can bring about changes in a young person’s behaviour or emotional state and how this can be reflected within the approach to behaviour set out in Creating a Culture:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-in-schools.

Additionally, some children will return to school having been exposed to a range of adversity including bereavement and anxiety. This may lead to an increase in social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) concerns. We are aware that some children will need additional support and access to services such as Educational Psychologists, social workers, and counsellors, and the guidance below on supporting vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak acknowledges that staff may need to be redeployed:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a transition period for pupils returning to school during the covid-19 outbreak in the autumn term so that they can focus on their well-being alongside academic studies.

The return to school is a vital factor in both the wellbeing and educational progress of pupils - the two reinforce each other. We have encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as more pupils return to school this term. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are now able to return to primary school, and Year 10 and 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary school. Primary schools with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures. We have also given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term.

The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support, and our recently published relationships, sex and health education training module will support teachers with preparation to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. The guidance for schools is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-and-colleges-to-reopen-in-full-in-september.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle delays in delivery of food vouchers through the free school meals scheme.

Since the launch of the free school meals voucher scheme, it has been upgraded and is working well for thousands of schools and families. Our supplier Edenred has indicated that orders are currently processed well within the 4-day period specified within our guidance to schools. Edenred has reported that over £169 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 19 June, and that over 17,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of supermarkets where free school meal vouchers are redeemable; and if he will take steps to help ensure that those vouchers are redeemable at (a) Co-op, (b) Spar and (c) all other supermarkets.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are at home and eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March, we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the department.

The vouchers for free school meals can currently be spent in a variety of supermarkets. Initially, the scheme included supermarkets that already have e-gift card arrangements in place with our supplier, Edenred, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We have been working with other supermarkets to encourage them to join. Any additional supermarkets would need to have the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across their network of stores.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal arrangements for eligible pupils during this period.

As schools open more widely, and their kitchens reopen, we expect schools to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home.

Where this is not possible, schools can use the national voucher scheme or make alternative voucher arrangements locally. Our guidance for schools sets out that they can be reimbursed for costs incurred where the national voucher scheme is not suitable for their families, and this can include alternative voucher arrangements with supermarkets that are not part of the national voucher scheme.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure infants eligible for free school meals that receive vouchers under the universal infant free school meals will continue to receive those vouchers during summer holiday 2020.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Infant pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals will be eligible to receive vouchers as part of the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund. However, this provision is not available for children who receive universal infant free school meals and who are not eligible for benefits-related free school meals. It is right that we concentrate resources on those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals at this time.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to schools for the employment of additional staff to support smaller class sizes from September 2020.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

We are also providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. Our latest guidance on this is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

We want to see all children and young people back in school as soon as the scientific advice indicates they can because that is where they learn best. We are working towards bringing all children and young people back to school in September. We will provide further information and guidance with as much notice as possible.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding he plans to allocate to schools to facilitate additional staff from September 2020; and what the timeframe is for the announcement of that funding.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

We are also providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. Our latest guidance on this is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

We want to see all children and young people back in school as soon as the scientific advice indicates they can because that is where they learn best. We are working towards bringing all children and young people back to school in September. We will provide further information and guidance with as much notice as possible.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support is being allocated to councils to support children in the care system during the covid-19 lockdown.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities (LAs) in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care.

Our latest guidance on children in care is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months to understand pressures and issues as they arise.

We have also committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to children with a social worker who do not have access to the internet. Further, we have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to charities to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children and £1.6 million to expand the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s helpline.

In order to ensure engagement with all children and to support effective risk assessment, through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

LAs have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of the children in their care. We are committed to supporting local authorities to increase the sufficiency of care placements, having invested part of our £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in three projects to increase councils’ capacity and improve their commissioning practice. Additional funding for 2 of these projects was confirmed on 24 April as part of the £12.1 million to support vulnerable children who are most at risk. This is in addition to having funded 7 partnerships to test new approaches to commissioning and sufficiency planning in foster care, worth almost £500,000. We have provided temporary flexibility in the fostering regulations which can be found here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/445/contents/made.

This aims to make it easier for LAs to identify potential placements and ensure new foster carers are assessed and approved without delay.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has made to support a potential increase in the number of children going into care at the end of the covid-19 lockdown.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities (LAs) in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care.

Our latest guidance on children in care is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months to understand pressures and issues as they arise.

We have also committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to children with a social worker who do not have access to the internet. Further, we have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to charities to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children and £1.6 million to expand the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s helpline.

In order to ensure engagement with all children and to support effective risk assessment, through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

LAs have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of the children in their care. We are committed to supporting local authorities to increase the sufficiency of care placements, having invested part of our £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in three projects to increase councils’ capacity and improve their commissioning practice. Additional funding for 2 of these projects was confirmed on 24 April as part of the £12.1 million to support vulnerable children who are most at risk. This is in addition to having funded 7 partnerships to test new approaches to commissioning and sufficiency planning in foster care, worth almost £500,000. We have provided temporary flexibility in the fostering regulations which can be found here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/445/contents/made.

This aims to make it easier for LAs to identify potential placements and ensure new foster carers are assessed and approved without delay.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were in care in South Lakeland in each of the last 12 months.

The information is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children in care in 2019-20 will not be published until later in the year. This data is not collected below local authority area level. The latest annual figures on children in care were published in the statistical release 'Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19':
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

Information at local authority and regional level can be located in the underlying data table ‘CLA2019’.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40545 on Children's Return to School, what (a) steps his Department is taking with the sector and (b) additional plans he has to work with the sector to determine how children will return to school.

The Department is currently working closely with the sector to determine the best way for schools to open for more pupils when the time is right, in line with the five key tests set out by the Government. There continues to be extensive engagement with teaching unions and other school stakeholder organisations both at a ministerial and official level.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's social distancing measures in response to covid-19, what steps his Department plans to take to protect public safety when children return to school.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure we have the right guidance and the right support in place once we are ready to reopen schools, based on the latest scientific advice.

Our latest guidance on implementing social distancing in schools and childcare settings in relation to COVID-19 is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether examiners will be paid in full for contracts they have signed relating to exams which were due to take place in summer 2020.

This is a matter for individual examination boards that employ examiners.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans there are to provide compensation for (a) schools and (b) parents for school trips that have be cancelled due to covid-19 outbreak.

As of 12 March 2020, the Government has been advising all schools and other education settings in England against arranging or undertaking any overseas trips for children under 18.

All schools should check with their travel agent and credit card companies regarding securing refunds in the first instance. If unable to recoup their full costs, those academies signed up to the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for schools should then submit their claims as per the RPA membership pack, and other affected schools should contact their individual insurance company.

Government Covid-19 travel guidance for the education sector can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance-for-the-education-sector.

FCO Covid-19 travel guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the review into support for children with special educational needs will be (a) concluded and (b) published.

This review is ongoing. In announcing that we are reviewing the system of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, we acknowledged the challenges that the system faces. We are committed to setting out plans to tackle these challenges.

Our reforms in 2014 gave vital support to more children but we know that there have been problems in delivering the changes that we all want to see. It is right that we take the time to consider how we can ensure that there is consistent and joined-up support in different local areas across health, care and education services and that high-quality health and education support is available across the country.

31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff have been employed by the Environment Agency for each year since 2015.


Environment Agency Workforce numbers (as at 31 March each year)

Year

Total

2014/15

10235

2015/16

10340

2016/17

10896

2017/18

10006

2018/19

10429

2019/20

10790

2020/21

10586

2021/22

10924

2022/23

12368

Dec-23

13282

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish a list of areas which lack (a) local authority resources and (b) private sector contributions to manage flood risk.

The Government is investing a record £5.2 billion between 2021 and 2027 in flood and coastal erosion schemes to better protect communities across England. Local authorities, which deliver some of these schemes, benefit from this investment.

Local authorities are also resourced to fulfil their statutory duties and have access to a range of revenue streams including the Local Government Finance Settlement. The local government finance settlement for 2024-25 will make available over £64.7 billion next year, an increase in Core Spending Power of up to £4.5 billion or 7.5% in cash terms on 2023-24. The Government announced an additional £3 million in grant funding for 2024/25 to support local authorities severely impacted by the increase in levies from internal drainage boards. The majority of local government funding is un-ringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major service pressures in their local areas.

The Government is conducting an assessment of local flood and coastal risk compared to local authority spend. This work is ongoing and is expected to conclude by March 2024.

The Government’s £5.2 billion investment is distributed across the country where the risk is highest and the benefits are greatest. Around 60% of flood and coastal erosion projects are fully funded by this investment. Where the full costs of the project are not covered, contributions are needed from partners, the local community and other organisations. This provides a fair and consistent approach for allocating GiA and securing wider benefits where others stand to benefit from a defence scheme.

As of June 2023, the current capital programme had already secured £128 million in private sector contributions – more than double the £55 million secured across the whole of the previous six-year programme (2015 to 2021).

Government has also provided additional funding to schemes which meet specific objectives, to ensure that they can progress. For example, 23 projects have benefitted from additional government investment, on top of the £5.2 billion programme, through the £170 million Economic Recovery Funding announced in 2020.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times each water company breached their storm overflow permits in 2023.

The Environment Agency will publish the 2023 Event Duration Monitoring data for storm overflows in March 2024.

The data for previous years is available here: Event Duration Monitoring - Storm Overflows - Annual Returns - data.gov.uk.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for bathing water status have been (a) made, (b) granted, (c) and (d) pending decision since 1 January 2023.

Defra has received 30 bathing water applications since 1 January 2023. All applications are currently being assessed by Defra officials against the eligibility criteria and evidence requirements set out in the bathing waters application guidance, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bathing-waters-apply-to-designate-or-de-designate.

In addition, Defra designated four sites as bathing waters in 2023, although the applications for these sites were received in 2022. These four sites were:

  • Sykes Lane Bathing Beach, Rutland Water
  • Whitwell Creek, Rutland Water
  • Firestone Bay, Plymouth
  • an area of the River Deben Estuary at Waldringfield, Suffolk

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which bathing waters have been de-designated in each region since 2015.

Since 2015, the following bathing waters have been de-designated in the Environment Agency areas listed below:

Area

De-Designated bathing waters since 2015

Cumbria and Lancashire

2

Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

3

East Anglia

1

Solent and South Downs

1

Wessex

2

Yorkshire

2

The names of these sites are:

  • Staithes
  • Newhaven
  • Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach
  • Rock
  • Silloth
  • Instow
  • Allonby South
  • Clacton (Groyne 41)
  • Burnham Jetty North
  • Ilfracombe Wildersmouth
  • Tunstall
Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 28 December 2023 to Question 5955 on Agriculture: Flood Control, how many countryside stewardship grants have been awarded to farmers since 5 January 2023.

There are currently around 35,000 live Countryside Stewardship agreements. Of these, 8,200 new agreements started in 2023 and 8,600 agreements are starting in 2024. Actions to help with flood control measures are worth around £4.02 million in live agreements.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2023 to Question 5961 on Agriculture: Floods, how many farmers have been awarded grants to install property flood resilience measures in each of the last five years.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not have data on how many farmers were awarded grants under the Property Flood Resilience repair grant scheme. Farmers are entitled to apply for support under this scheme as either householders or businesses, depending on the property impacted. We can however provide a breakdown of grants provided by households and businesses:

There are two schemes which have run in recent years, not including the currently active Storm Babet (Oct 23) and Storm Henk (Jan 24) schemes.

  • The November 2019 scheme covered 18 eligible councils, and provided grants to 978 properties, of which 860 were residential and 124 were businesses.
  • The February 2020 scheme had 34 eligible councils, and provided grants to 1,627 properties, of which 1,331 were residential and 296 were businesses.
Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department spent in sustainable farming incentive payments excluding pilot schemes in the financial year 2022-2023.

The accounting treatment for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) means that spend on agreements that started in 2022/2023 falls under 2023/2024 budget. There is therefore no SFI spend recorded for financial year 2022/2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to ensure that farmers are able to (a) access and (b) use capital grants.

We have a range of capital grant offers which are readily accessible to our farmers, foresters and land managers to help improve our environment by planting trees and hedges, reducing air pollution and improving water quality. We also offer opportunities for them to invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help their businesses to prosper, while improving their productivity and enhancing the environment. These grants will continue to be available next year.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to increase payment rates for the (a) Higher Level Stewardship and (b) Upland Entry Level Stewardship schemes.

We do not have plans to update prices for Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) or Upland Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) agreements. This is because these agreements are made on a whole farm basis and payments work differently in those schemes.

From the 1st of January 2023 we made it possible for customers in HLS leave their agreements early, without recovery of payments, and enter another land management scheme and we will continue to support these moves. The new scheme must be of equivalent or greater environmental value than the HLS component of their existing agreement. Agreement holders can also apply for a Countryside Stewardship, Sustainable Farming Incentive and/or a Landscape Recovery agreement for any land that does not already contain a HLS option, they can be next to each other but must not overlap.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to introduce 10 year sustainable farming incentive agreements.

Our aim is for the Sustainable Farming incentive (SFI) to enable as many farmers as possible to adopt and maintain sustainable farming practices that support farm productivity whilst protecting and enhancing the natural environment. These include actions that focus on improving management of soils and nutrients. The 3-year agreement term in SFI supports this aim, building on recommendations from farming organisations and tenant farmers (including feedback from the Rock Review). Longer term 5- or 10-year agreements are also available in Countryside Stewardship for specific actions, to manage, restore or create important habitats like grassland or in coastal areas.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the publication by the Agricultural Industries Confederation entitled Powering productivity for sustainable food security, published on 15 November 2023, whether he plans to accept the recommendation on the creation of an independent food security committee.

The Government takes food security very seriously. The UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) contains a suite of indicators linked to the five food security themes outlined in the report. Defra is in the process of preparing the next iteration of the UKFSR which will be published by December 2024. We have well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor, prepare for and respond to risks to food security. We do not have plans to create an independent food security committee.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of agricultural land at each agricultural land classification grade was at (a) risk and (b) high risk of flooding in each of the last five years.

Approximately 12% of agricultural land in England is at flood risk from rivers or the sea. Due to the complexity and processing required it is not possible to provide a breakdown over the last five years or at different risk bands within the time frame of a Parliamentary Question.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will take steps to implement a comprehensive agricultural water management strategy.

Defra recently published its Plan for Water to deliver a safe, reliable, resilient supply of clean and plentiful water – for our homes, businesses, for leisure and for wildlife that rely on.

We are working with the sector to put in place funding to encourage the establishment of Water Abstractor Groups for agriculture. These groups will conduct supply-demand balance assessments for Agricultural Water Resource Management Planning and conduct Local Resource Options studies to identify potential local infrastructure projects, to improve agricultural water supply resilience.

The Government and the Environment Agency also support the agricultural sector through the Water Management Grant, under the Farming Transformation Fund, for the construction of new irrigation reservoirs and the adoption of best practice irrigation application equipment, helping to ensure farmers have access to water when they need it most. Over the coming months, Defra will consider the option of launching a third round of the grant in the future.

To drive progress to reduce water pollution from agriculture, we have set a new legally binding target under the Environment Act 2012 to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment by 40% by 2038. We have published our Plan for Water, which sets out our commitment to implementing a suite of actions to tackle agricultural pollution including increasing the Environment Agency’s farm inspection capacity, doubling the Catchment Sensitive Farming advice programme, investing in slurry management to help farmers improve practices and introducing Environmental Land Schemes to pay farmers for the delivery of environmental benefits.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support is available to farmers who have just lost their harvests due to flooding since 1 January 2023.

The Government announced a significant package of support, via the Flood Recovery Framework, to areas in England that have experienced exceptional localised flooding as a result of Storm Babet. The Framework provides funding for eligible households and businesses and includes a £2,500 Business Recovery Grant for SMEs, including farm businesses, which have suffered severe impacts from flooding if unable to be recovered from their farming insurance, and Council Tax discounts. Farmers in eligible areas may also access grants up to £5,000 per property to install Property Flood Resilience measures where they have internal flooding to homes or business premises.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has provided to mitigate flooding on agricultural land in each year since 2018.

As well as protecting more than 300,000 homes, the 2015-2021 £2.6bn flood investment programme worked with farmers to reduce the risk of flooding to nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's policy statement entitled Flood and coastal erosion risk management, published in July 2020, how much and what proportion of the £5.2 billion of funding for flood mitigation has been allocated to nature-based flood-prevention solutions.

The Environment Agency has estimated that between March 2015 and April 2021 it spent £20 million on natural flood management elements of wider flood defence schemes. This was in addition to the £15m natural flood management programme. There will be even more natural flood management in the £5.2bn flood defence programme from 2021-27, including £25 million funding to improve flood resilience through natural flood management, launched by the Environment Agency and Defra in September 2023.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help increase food security in the context of trends in the level of flooding brought about by climate change.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption.

Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 73% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year.

These figures have changed little over the last 20 years, and the Government is committed to maintaining the amount of food produced domestically to support our farmers and uphold our high food security.

Recent wet weather has created challenging conditions for farmers; however, the food industry is adept at managing disruption and securing alternative sources of supply when necessary.

UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

The government is in regular contact with the food industry to ensure it is well prepared for a range of scenarios, and we continue to take all the necessary steps to ensure people across the country have the food and supplies they need.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department has provided to farmers for the implementation of flood prevention solutions on their farms in each of the last five years.

The six-year £5.2 billion floods investment programme is provided to Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) rather than providing funding directly to farmers. Although many RMAs work with farmers to reduce flood risk, we do not hold a central record for this information.

Current offers to support farmers include the Countryside Stewardship (Cs) scheme, which supports farmers to improve water quality and manage flood risk through a range of grants and advice from Catchment Sensitive Farming. Support from the CS scheme to manage flood risk includes grants to reward farmers to control runoff and make space for water. The yearly breakdown for the costs is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the proportion of Grade 1 agricultural land at high risk of flooding.

As well as protecting more than 300,000 homes, the 2015-21 £2.6 billion flood investment programme worked with farmers to reduce the risk of flooding to nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land. The 2021-27 capital programme will also offer increased protection to agricultural land. The Environment Agency does not break down the figure by land classification grade.

Current offers to support farmers include the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme, which supports farmers to improve water quality and manage flood risk through a range of grants and advice from Catchment Sensitive Farming. Support from the CS scheme to manage flood risk includes grants to reward farmers to control runoff and make space for water. The yearly breakdown of these costs is not centrally held.

We are also introducing our new environmental land management schemes, which reward environmental benefits, including protection from environmental hazards such as flooding.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 123903 on Flood Control: Finance, what assessment her Department has made with the Environment Agency of the potential impact of inflation on the delivery of flood defence infrastructure programmes; and if she will publish that assessment.

The Government is investing £5.2 billion in the 2021-2027 flood and coastal defence investment programme to better protect properties and communities across England. In April 2020, amendments were made to the Partnership Funding rules including updating payment rates to account for inflation.

We regularly review the impact of inflation over the six-year programme. Higher than expected inflation has caused challenges to delivery of all infrastructure programmes, including the floods capital programme; for instance, costs for materials and contractor fees have increased. Many projects have a contingency in their budgets that can help, and some costs can be managed across the programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when her Department last revised permit conditions for storm overflows.

All discharges to the water environment, including storm overflows, require a permit to discharge issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The permits contain the necessary conditions to regulate the discharge and limit the impact on the environment. These permit conditions are reviewed periodically to determine if they are still fit for purpose. The last change to the set of permit conditions used for storm overflows was the introduction in 2016 of a new condition for Event Duration Monitoring to be required on Storm Overflows.

In August 2022, the Government published the Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan which introduces new requirements and targets for storm overflows. The Environment Agency is now reviewing the permit conditions used for storm overflows to ensure the requirements and targets in the plan are accounted for in the permit conditions. These new conditions will be introduced from 2025 as the plan is implemented by the water companies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 123903 on Flood Control: Finance, how many properties have been protected by the Government's flood defence scheme since April 2021.

The Government announced in March 2020 that the amount invested in flood and coastal erosion schemes would be doubled in England to £5.2 billion between 2021 and 2027 to better protect communities across England. Over 67,000 properties have already been better protected from flooding as part of this programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many sewage discharges there were by each water firm on days when no rain fell in 2022.

The Environment Agency is currently reviewing tens of millions of data from over 10,000 storm overflows for 2022. This involves modelling storm overflow discharge data, rainfall data and rainfall radar information across England. This will identify when spills from storm overflows have occurred on dry days, but further investigation is then required to establish what caused the spill and or whether or not there has been a breach of permit. This work will take several months to complete. Any breaches of permit identified will be considered for action under the Environment Agency’s Enforcement and Sanctions Policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse was of her Department's total spend on communications for (a) 2023, (b) 2022, (c) 2021, (d) 2020 and (e) 2019.

The Department publishes its expenditure on publicity, marketing and promotion in the annual report and accounts. The expenditure is summarised in the table below.

Financial Year

Core Department and Agencies (£000)

Defra Group (£000)

2022-23

1,073

18,047

2021-22

675

14,813

2020-21

1,157

16,701

2019-20

1,740

19,830

2018-19

1,758

20,828

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many full-time staff worked in Defra Group Communications in each year since 2019.

The number of staff who worked in the communications directorate since 2019 as of 31 March each year is shown below

Financial year as of 31 March each year

Headcount

2018/19

228

2019/20

228

2020/21

234

2021/22

245

2022/23

222

2023/24 (to 31 Oct)

238

Alongside the core department, the Communications team provides communications support for five of the department’s largest arm’s length bodies including the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency. The teams work across all communications disciplines in support of the policy and operational priorities within each of these organisations. This includes media, planning, stakeholder engagement, digital communications and internal communications across the six parts of the Defra group.

As Defra Group Communications staff work in an agile way in multiple organisations, it is not possible to provide granular full-time equivalent figures for each part of the group, including the core department.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money was returned to farmers as gross cash by (a) the Sustainable Farming Incentive and (b) additional funds allocated by Countryside Stewardship in (i) 2020, (ii) 2021 and (iii) 2022.

Defra reports expenditure under agricultural support schemes by financial year rather than calendar year.

The Department, as required by section 5 of chapter 1 of the Agriculture Act 2020, prepared an annual report about the financial assistance given during each financial year, starting with financial year 21-22. The first report was laid before Parliament and published on 31 October 2022 Future Farming and Countryside Programme annual report (publishing.service.gov.uk) and contains details of where funds freed up from reductions applied to Direct Payments have been spent. The second report will be published later this year. The reductions enabled the launch of the Sustainable Farming Incentive in June 2022, an increase of Countryside Stewardship payment rates and respond to the demand for the scheme from farmers, and the continued rollout of other schemes to improve prosperity and reward environmental delivery, including, Farming investment Fund, Farming Innovation Programme and Farming in Protected Landscapes.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding through the Basic Payment Scheme has reduced in each year since 2020; and by how much she plans to reduce payments in each of the next three years.

Defra reports expenditure under agricultural support schemes by financial year rather than calendar year.

Applying reductions to Direct Payments frees up money to be spent on financial assistance under our other schemes for farmers and land managers. As set out in our Future Farming and Countryside Programme annual report, published in October 2022, we spent £1.654 billion on Direct Payments in financial year 2021 to 2022. That was part of a total spend of £2.294 billion on existing farming schemes and our new financial assistance schemes, as set out in that report.

Information about spend on Direct Payments, and financial assistance under our other schemes, for later financial years will be included in future annual reports.

The reductions that we plan to apply to Direct Payments up to, and including, the 2024 scheme year were set out in our Agricultural Transition Plan in November 2020. The Government intends to continue to make gradual reductions in Direct Payments across the rest of the transition until the last year of Direct Payments in 2027.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to bring forward legislation to make cat and dog abduction a specific offence.

We plan to take forward measures from the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill individually through other means during the remainder of this Parliament.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information her Department holds on the number of PM2.5 monitors installed in each (a) constituency and (b) local authority area in each of the last five years.

The Environment Agency operates the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) on behalf of Defra and the devolved administrations for the purposes of assessing PM2.5 levels across the UK. There are currently 103 sites monitoring PM2.5 on this network and the table below shows how these sites are distributed by local authority (Nb Local Authorities may also undertake their own monitoring but these are not included). The AURN network is in the process of being expanded for the purposes of assessing the new PM2.5 targets in England and more sites will be coming online over the next 2-3 years.

Local Authority

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Aberdeen City

1

1

2

1

1

Belfast

1

1

1

1

1

Bexley

1

1

1

1

1

Birmingham

3

3

3

2

2

Blackpool

1

1

1

1

1

Bournemouth

1

1

1

1

1

Bristol, City of

1

1

1

1

1

Camden

2

2

2

2

2

Cardiff

1

1

1

1

1

Carlisle

1

1

2

1

1

Central Bedfordshire

1

1

1

1

1

Chesterfield

2

2

2

2

2

Christchurch

1

1

1

1

1

Cornwall

1

1

1

1

1

Coventry

1

1

1

1

1

Derry

1

1

1

1

1

Eastbourne

1

1

1

1

1

Edinburgh, City of

1

1

1

1

1

Falkirk

1

1

1

1

1

Fermanagh and Omagh

1

1

1

1

1

Glasgow City

2

2

2

2

2

Greenwich

1

1

1

1

1

Highland

1

1

1

1

1

Hillingdon

1

1

1

2

2

Inverclyde

1

1

1

1

1

Kensington and Chelsea

1

1

1

1

1

Kingston upon Hull, City of

1

1

1

1

1

Leeds

2

2

2

2

2

Leicester

1

1

1

1

1

Lewisham

1

1

1

1

1

Liverpool

1

1

1

1

1

Manchester

1

1

1

1

1

Medway

2

2

2

2

2

Middlesbrough

1

1

1

1

1

Midlothian

1

1

1

1

1

Monmouthshire

1

1

1

1

1

Neath Port Talbot

1

1

1

1

1

Newcastle upon Tyne

1

1

1

1

1

Newport

1

1

1

1

1

North Devon

1

1

1

1

1

Northampton

1

1

1

1

1

Norwich

1

1

1

1

1

Nottingham

1

1

1

1

1

Oxford

1

1

1

1

1

Pembrokeshire

1

1

1

1

1

Plymouth

1

1

1

1

1

Portsmouth

1

1

1

1

1

Preston

1

1

1

1

1

Reading

1

1

1

1

1

Richmond

1

1

1

1

1

Salford

1

1

1

2

2

Sheffield

2

2

2

3

3

Southampton

1

1

1

1

1

Southend-on-Sea

1

1

1

1

1

Stockton-on-Tees

2

2

2

2

2

Stoke on Trent

1

1

1

1

1

Sunderland

1

1

1

1

1

Swansea

1

1

1

1

1

Test Valley

1

1

1

1

1

Thurrock

1

1

1

2

2

Warrington

1

1

1

1

1

Warwick

2

2

2

2

2

Westminster

2

2

2

2

2

Wigan

1

1

1

1

1

Wirral

1

1

1

1

1

Worthing

1

1

1

1

1

Wrexham

1

1

1

1

1

York

2

2

2

2

2

Brighton and Hove

1

1

1

1

1

Canterbury

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Cheshire East

NA

NA

NA

1

1

East Cambridgeshire

NA

NA

NA

1

1

East Devon

NA

NA

NA

1

1

East Staffordshire

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Hartlepool

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Hertsmere

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Kirklees

NA

NA

NA

1

1

North East Lincolnshire

NA

NA

NA

1

1

North Norfolk

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Ryedale

NA

NA

NA

1

1

South Somerset

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Swindon

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Teignbridge

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Telford and Wrekin

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Tendring

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Wealden

NA

NA

NA

1

1

Barnsley

NA

NA

NA

NA

1

Milton Keynes

NA

NA

NA

NA

1

12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her Department's timeline is for transferring all abstraction licenses into the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

We are working to move the water abstraction licensing regime into the Environmental Permitting Regulations. We consulted on the move in Autumn 2021 and are considering the responses alongside wider actions in our Plan for Water.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) upland and (b) lowland farms there are in Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency.

Based on the farms which are registered with Defra for either subsidy purposes or for livestock keeping requirements, statistical estimates of the number of farms with significant levels of farming activity* show there were 819 upland farms and 195 lowland farms in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in 2021.

* Data only covers holdings which are registered with the Rural Payments Agency for payments or livestock purposes and have significant levels of farming activity (as recorded in responses to the Defra June Survey of Agriculture or the Cattle Tracing System). Holdings are only included if they have more than five hectares of agricultural land, one hectare of orchards, 0.5 hectares of vegetables or 0.1 hectares of protected crops, or more than 10 cows, 50 pigs, 20 sheep, 20 goats or 1,000 poultry.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to tackle illegal imports of product of animal origin.

We plan to shortly publish the final details of the Target Operating Model. This will set out our new border controls for the importation of animal products with the aim to address public health and biosecurity risks resulting from the illegal import of products of animal origin. Since September 2022, the government has provided funding of approximately £5m to tackle the illegal importation of products of animal origin, in particular to prevent the spread of African Swine fever to the UK.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farm businesses are participating in Environmental Land Management scheme programmes in each (a) constituency, (b) local authority and (c) region.

As of 21 June 2023, there were 42,708 farm businesses participating in Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes across England, constituting the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship schemes.

In addition to these, there are 2,448 approved projects taking part in the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme and a further 22 projects that were selected in the first round of the Landscape Recovery scheme.

Details of participation in the ELM schemes at a constituency and regional level area are provided in the attached annex. We do not hold data at a local authority level.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2023 to Question 186323 on Water: Standards, how many discoloration events were recorded by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in each of the last five years, broken down by each water company.

Total discolouration events for the period 2017-2021 subdivided by company are as follows:

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Affinity Water Ltd

3

Affinity Water Ltd

1

Anglian Water Services Ltd

4

Anglian Water Services Ltd

5

Anglian Water Services Ltd

5

Anglian Water Services Ltd

9

Anglian Water Services Ltd

3

Bristol Water Plc

3

Bristol Water plc

4

Bristol Water plc

5

Northumbrian Essex and Suffolk Water

9

Bristol Water plc

2

Cambridge Water Company Plc

1

Northumbrian Essex and Suffolk Water

6

Northumbrian Essex and Suffolk Water

7

South East Water

12

Northumbrian Essex and Suffolk Water

4

Northumbrian Essex and Suffolk Water

3

SES Water

1

SES Water

1

Southern Water Services Ltd

7

South East Water

8

South East Water

4

South East Water

10

South East Water

6

South Staffordshire Water Plc

4

Southern Water Services Ltd

8

Southern Water Services Ltd

3

Southern Water Services Ltd

8

Southern Water Services Ltd

5

Severn Trent Water Ltd

24

South Staffordshire Water Plc

5

South Staffordshire Water Plc

3

South Staffordshire Water Plc

3

South Staffordshire Water Plc

1

South West and Bournemouth Water

11

Severn Trent Water Ltd

26

Severn Trent Water Ltd

22

Severn Trent Water Ltd

17

Severn Trent Water Ltd

9

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

5

South West and Bournemouth Water

12

South West and Bournemouth Water

10

South West and Bournemouth Water

8

South West and Bournemouth Water

12

United Utilities Water Plc

13

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

4

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

2

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

3

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

6

Wessex Water Services Ltd

9

United Utilities Water Plc

5

United Utilities Water Plc

9

United Utilities Water Plc

19

United Utilities Water Plc

19

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd

12

Wessex Water Services Ltd

3

Wessex Water Services Ltd

3

Wessex Water Services Ltd

3

YKS

10

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd

13

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd

8

Yorkshire Water Services Ltd

7

Total

118

94

75

94

86

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2023 to Question 186319 on Drinking Water Inspectorate: Finance, what Drinking Water Inspectorate activities are provided by her Department's funding.

There are two appropriate expenditure elements incurred by the DWI that are not recoverable under The Water Quality and Supply (Fees) Order 2016, and that are funded directly by a contribution from the Department. These are:

a) A proportion of the overall DWI’s Senior Management Team (SMT) time. SMT consists of the Chief Inspector supported by two Deputy Chief Inspectors. The specific proportion of the funding from the Department for SMT activities varies from year to year as the range/detail of work by SMT members will also change from year to year depending on the scope regulatory input required.

b) The DWI Research Programme and the associated staff cost of its manager. The research programme delivers important regulatory research with external partners in appropriate areas that support regulation on behalf of the sector and ultimately consumers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2023 to Question 186322 on Water Companies, how many (a) fines and (b) legal instruments have been issued by the Drinking Water Inspectorate for discolouration events in each of the last five years, broken down by each water company.

DWI does not currently implement a financial penalties system. Therefore no water companies were fined under such a mechanism during the period 2017-2021.

The DWI issued a total of 44 legal instruments to companies associated with discolouration events in the period 2017-2021. This is summarised by company in the table below:

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Anglian Water Services Ltd

1

Bristol Water Plc

2

Northumbrian, Essex and Suffolk Water Limited

2

South East Water Ltd

3

Southern Water Services Ltd

1

3

South Staffordshire Water and Cambridge Water PLC

3

Severn Trent Water Ltd

1

1

South West and Bournemouth Water Ltd

4

3

4

Thames Water Utilities Limited

1

United Utilities Water PLC

1

2

Wessex Water Services Limited

1

Yorkshire Water Services Limited

2

1

Totals

0

18

2

8

8

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2023 to Question 186320 on Water: Standards, how many and what proportion of samples did not meet Drinking Water Inspectorate regulatory standards in (a) total and (b) broken down by each water company in each of the last five years.

Compliance sample numbers that did not meet prescribed compliance value standards for any required parameters are listed as totals for each year 2017-2021 and these figures are sub-dived for each company as attached.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2023 to Question 186322 on Water Companies, how many (a) cautions (b) prosecutions and (c) legal instruments the Drinking Water Inspectorate brought against water companies in each of the last five years broken down by each water company.

The number of cautions, prosecutions and legal instruments (LIs) applicable for the period 2017 to 2021 to each water company are summarised in the table attached. The Drinking Water Inspectorate uses all the enforcement levers as and when deemed appropriate to the individual issue to facilitate the best outcome.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff worked in her Department's communications department in each of the last five years.

Defra Group Communications is the first single employer shared service communications team in Whitehall, working for six organisations. We have merged six geographically dispersed communications teams from the core department and Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) and now have a single team operating as an integrated communications function that reduces duplication, improves performance and saved money.

Alongside the core department, the team provides communications support for five of the department’s largest ALBs including the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency. The teams work across all communications disciplines in support of the policy and operational priorities within each of these organisations. This includes media, planning, stakeholder engagement, digital communications and internal communications across the six parts of the Defra group.

As Defra Group Communications staff work in an agile way in multiple organisations, it is not possible to provide granular full-time equivalent figures for each part of the group, including the core department.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral statement of 25 May by the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Official Report, column 495, what measures from the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill his Department will take forward as single-issue legislation during the remainder of this Parliament.

We will be taking forward measures in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill individually through other means during the remainder of this Parliament. These measures include three manifesto commitments, which we remain fully committed to delivering. These will be announced in the usual way.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people in her Department are working on tackling food price inflation.

This information is not collected centrally in the format requested. Departmental staff work on multiple policy matters simultaneously.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the (a) amount of crops ruined and (b) number of animal deaths caused by extreme heat in each of the last three years.

Defra has made no estimates of crops ruined by extreme heat in the last 3 years. Doing so will be extremely complex as the horticulture and arable sectors cover a broad spectrum of crops harvested at different times of the year. Yield, growth, and quality of crops will continue to vary by region, area, crop, soil type, water availability and fertilizer applications amongst other factors.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges in the past few years.

We have no annual estimate of the number of animals (farmed, companion or zoo animals) that have died in extreme heat events in the last three years, although in July 2022 at least 4 million meat chickens died in the extreme heat in England.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many samples taken by the Drinking Water Inspectorate did not meet regulatory standards 100 per cent of the time in each of the last five years.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate does not itself take routine samples. The water companies carry out a statutory sampling programme including randomly selected consumer taps and send all the results to the Inspectorate in a monthly return. The Inspectorate assesses compliance with the sampling programme and breaches of the regulatory standards for parameters. The annual breakdown of this total is as follows:

Number of compliance failures

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

1563

1479

1508

1275

1230

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many employees of (a) the Environment Agency, (b) Ofwat and (c) the Drinking Water Inspectorate previously worked for water companies.

The information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of how much was spent by water companies on removing (a) pesticides and (b) nitrates from drinking water supplies in each of the last five years.

Ongoing general expenditure information for pesticide and nitrate removal is not collated or held on an annual basis by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many discoloration events were recorded by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in each of the last five years.

During the period 2017 to 2021 the DWI was notified of a total of 499 discolouration events by water companies in England and Wales. The annual breakdown of this total is as follows:

Number of discolouration events

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

Total

127

109

93

76

94

499

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many investigations were conducted by the Drinking Water Inspectorate into potential contaminated water supplies in each of the last five years.

The DWI conducts investigations to an appropriate degree for each drinking water quality event notified by water companies. For the period 2017 to 2021 there were a total of 2465 events in England and Wales investigated by the DWI. The annual breakdown of this total is as follows:

Events in England and Wales

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

Total

503

532

546

417

467

2465

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many water company (a) cautions, (b) prosecutions and (c) minded to enforce notices were brought by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in each of the last five years.

The following tables summarise cautions and prosecutions for the period 2017 to 2021.

a) Number of cautions 2017-2021

Number of cautions

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

1

2

0

3

0

b) Number of prosecutions 2017-2021*

Number of prosecutions

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

2

2

2

0

0

* Due to the COVID pandemic the Courts were closed and there have been subsequent backlogs. Prosecutions recommenced in 2022 (two companies were prosecuted during the period) and we have ongoing prosecutions in 2023.

There is no ‘minded to enforce notice’ as stated in the question. The Drinking Water Inspectorate issues minded to enforce letters that are communications to companies and they are not notices. They form part of the enforcement process that may or may not result in a legal instrument notice. We have therefore collated the number of legal instruments we have issued to water companies in the period 2017 to 2021.

c) Legal instruments

Legal instruments

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

95

71

36

53

69

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff were employed by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in each of the last five years.

The number of staff employed in the Drinking Water inspectorate between 2018 and 2023 as at 30 April each year is shown below.

Headcount

30 April 2019

42

30 April 2020

43

30 April 2021

47

30 April 2022

51

30 April 2023

50

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hosepipe bans have been issued by each water company in each of the last five years.

Defra does not hold the information requested. I would advise the hon. Member to contact the relevant water companies directly or Water UK, the independent membership body representing the UK water industry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the number of fines issued for breaking hosepipe bans by each water company in each of the last five years.

Defra does not hold the information requested. I would advise the hon. Member to contact the relevant water companies directly or Water UK, the independent membership body representing the UK water industry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times Ministers met water companies between 1 June and 31 August 2022; and how many of those meetings were on (a) leaking water pipes and (b) drought preparedness.

Then Defra Secretary of State George Eustice and Minister Steve Double met with the CEOs of all water companies on the 10 Aug 2022 to discuss their current water supplies and precautionary measures to safeguard water supplies through summer and autumn. This included discussions on responding to leakage.

Minister Double met separately with the South West Water and Affinity Water. Further information on ministerial meetings can be found here - Defra's ministerial meetings, July to September 2022 - GOV.UK (publishing.service.gov.uk)

In addition, Minister Double attended the National Drought Group (NDG) on 12 and 23 August 2022. This group is made up of senior decision-makers from the Environment Agency, government, water companies and key representative groups

discuss the response to the dry weather and leakage.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding from the public purse the Drinking Water Inspectorate has received in each of the last five years.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) is an autonomous specialist unit within Defra’s Floods and Water Directorate whose purpose is to regulate the quality of public drinking water supplied to consumers in England and Wales. The DWI raises the majority of its operational funding from a levy on water companies in accordance with the Water Quality and Supply (Fees) Order 2016 to deliver its regulatory functions. The amount of income from Defra funding is specifically for activities not accommodated by the Fees Order. The table below summarises the overall operating income of the DWI with a subset of Defra’s contributory funding in each financial year from 2016/17 through to 2021/22.

Year

DWI income £m

Defra allocation to DWI £m

2016/17

2.94

0.383

2017/18

3.12

0.084

2018/19

3.38

0.084

2019/20

3.17

0.183

2020/21

5.08

0.133

2021/22

4.45

0.133

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times she has met with the Drinking Water Inspectorate since her appointment.

The Secretary of State is in regular communication with the Drinking Water Inspectorate on a range of matters towards the effective regulation of drinking water quality. Drinking water in England is of an excellent standard and this is demonstrated through a continuing high standard of 99.97% compliance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on how many occasions she has met the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare to discuss competition in the period since her appointment; when those meetings took place; and what was discussed at each meeting.

The Secretary of State has not met with the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare to discuss competition since her appointment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies on wastewater discharge event duration monitors of the research by Jamie Woodward and others on Acute riverine microplastic contamination due to avoidable releases of untreated wastewater, published in Nature Sustainability on 13 May 2021.

The recommendations of the paper published in Nature Sustainability in May 2021 align with our policies to reduce microplastics in the water environment and untreated wastewater releases.

The Plan for Water sets out our commitments to reduce microplastics entering the water system, including our expectation for the industry to develop low cost, effective microfibre filters on washing machines and encourage their effective use.

Our Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan was published in August 2022. Our strict targets will see the toughest ever crackdown on sewage spills and will require water companies to deliver the largest infrastructure programme in water company history - £56 billion capital investment over 25 years. By 2035, water companies will have to improve all storm overflows discharging into or near every designated bathing water, and improve 75% of overflows discharging to high priority nature sites. By 2050, all remaining storm overflows covered by our targets will also have to meet the new requirements on rainfall and environmental impact, regardless of location.  In March this year, Defra and Ofwat announced £1.1 billion of new investment, starting in the next two years, to eliminate 10,000 storm overflow discharges a year across 10 schemes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to increase the number of wastewater discharge event duration monitors.

We have increased the number of storm overflows monitored with event duration monitors across the network from 7% in 2010 to 91% now, and we will reach 100% cover by end of this year. In April, we launched our consultation on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring and Event Duration Monitoring. This outlines the government’s proposals to enhance the monitoring of storm overflow and final effluent discharges and to report on this in near-real time. This consultation closes on 23 May.

In May, Ofwat launched a consultation which set out measures which will see companies face penalties for failing to monitor storm overflows. This will help to drive delivery of the UK Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan by incentivising better coverage and better reporting, and are in addition to the powers that the Environment Agency already have. This consultation closes on 23 May.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the number of arable fields that were sown in each of the last five years.

Defra does not collect data at a field level, so cannot provide any estimate of the number of arable fields sown. The Rural Payment Agency does have some field level data, but it cannot be used to provide an estimate of the number of arable fields sown.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2023 to Question 182819, whether her Department plans to require water companies to publish the volume of sewage discharges in addition to frequency and duration of discharge events.

The Environment Agency has instructed water companies to install flow monitors at 2,000 wastewater treatment works. These provide important data on the volume of treated final effluent discharges to the environment. We have no plans to require water companies to install volume monitors on sewage overflows as they are highly challenging to adapt to use in the field.

We have increased the number of storm overflows monitored across the network from 7% in 2010 to 91% now monitored, and we will reach 100% cover by end of this year. In April, we launched our consultation on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring and Event Duration Monitoring. This outlines the government’s proposals to enhance the monitoring of storm overflow and final effluent discharges and to report on this in near-real time. This consultation closes on 23 May.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help mitigate the impact of climate change on the UK's coffee supply chains.

The Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk, published in 2021, offers a detailed and up to date insight into the growing risks and opportunities the UK faces from climate change, including risks to food supply chains. This informed our third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), which was laid in Parliament in January 2022.

Defra is working to develop a third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) that addresses all 61 risks and opportunities identified in CCRA3. This is due for publication in the summer of 2023. For the first time, the NAP3 will include dedicated responses to the 10 climate risks and opportunities facing the UK from climate impacts overseas, including risks to UK food availability, safety, and quality from climate change overseas.

The risks to food production from climate change are particularly high for crops with few varieties, such as arabica coffee. The UK Government has signed the 2022 International Coffee Agreement which champions the global coffee industry, and the UK will help continue its drive for new standards of sustainability for our coffee. This agreement addresses, where appropriate through research, the challenges facing the global coffee sector, including climate change.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made on the potential impact of climate change on UK coffee supply chains.

The Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk, published in 2021, offers a detailed and up to date insight into the growing risks and opportunities the UK faces from climate change, including risks to food supply chains. This informed our third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), which was laid in Parliament in January 2022.

Defra is working to develop a third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) that addresses all 61 risks and opportunities identified in CCRA3. This is due for publication in the summer of 2023. For the first time, the NAP3 will include dedicated responses to the 10 climate risks and opportunities facing the UK from climate impacts overseas, including risks to UK food availability, safety, and quality from climate change overseas.

The risks to food production from climate change are particularly high for crops with few varieties, such as arabica coffee. The UK Government has signed the 2022 International Coffee Agreement which champions the global coffee industry, and the UK will help continue its drive for new standards of sustainability for our coffee. This agreement addresses, where appropriate through research, the challenges facing the global coffee sector, including climate change.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an estimate of the quantity of food rejected each month by supermarkets on cosmetic grounds; and if she will make an assessment of the potential impact such policies have on farmers and food producers.

The Government is committed to preventing and dealing with food waste in the most environmentally beneficial manner according to the Food Surplus Food and Waste Hierarchy. A holistic programme of action is in place across businesses and households from farm to fork to make this happen.

Quality specifications are one of the drivers of food waste in the supply chain and on farm, but there are many other drivers too, e.g. weather, pest and disease, crop management, supply and demand factors. There is no reliable data quantifying the amount of waste driven by any one cause.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the proportion of food inflation that is due to the increased cost of food packaging; and what steps her Department is taking to help reduce these costs.

Tackling inflation is this government’s number one priority, with a plan to more than halve inflation this year, and we’re monitoring all key agricultural commodities so that we can work with the food industry to address the challenges they face.

Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, as well as Sterling exchange rates.

Defra does not have data on packaging costs, however as packaging is only one component of manufacturing costs it will only represent a fraction of a percent in terms of the impact on inflation.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of her Department's budget was spent on food for her Department in each of the last five years; and how much and what proportion of that food was produced by UK farmers.

The table below sets out the proportion of separately identifiable expenditure on food compared with the resource DEL (Departmental Expenditure Limits) budget in the last five financial years available. No record is kept of how much or what proportion of that food was produced by UK farmers.

Financial Year

Expenditure on Food (£000)

Resource DEL Budget (£000)

Proportion spent on Food

2017-18

5,581

1,855,729

0.30%

2018-19

639

1,995,502

0.03%

2019-20

4,364

2,245,132

0.19%

2020-21

1,032

4,621,397

0.02%

2021-22

795

4,288,950

0.02%

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is planning to take steps to hold water companies to account by publishing wastewater discharge volumes.

Water and sewerage companies have published Event and Duration Monitoring (EDM) data of sewage discharges annually since 2020 that can be found here.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce (a) microplastic wastewater discharges and (b) illegal wastewater discharges.

The UK Water Industry Research project (performed by UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) reported in April 2022 that wastewater treatment plants remove 99% of microplastics by number and 99.5% by mass.

We will not let companies get away with illegal activity and where breaches are found, we will not hesitate to hold companies to account. We have boosted funding for the Environment Agency (EA) with £2.2 million per year specifically for water company enforcement activity so that robust action is taken against illegal breaches of storm overflow permits. We are consulting on increasing the scope of penalties and maximum penalty the EA can impose on water companies damaging the environment. This consultation closes on 15 May.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of trends in the number of farmers on food prices.

Data from Defra’s June survey shows that the number of farmers in the UK (includes farmers, business partners, directors and spouses) increased by 0.4% from 300,629 to 301,834 between 2021 and 2022. This number has fluctuated year on year but is at the highest level seen in over a decade.

Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates.

Tackling inflation is this Government’s number one priority, with a plan to more than halve inflation this year, and we are monitoring all key agricultural commodities so that we can work with the food industry to address the challenges they face.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to hold water companies to account for repeated and illegal discharges of untreated wastewater.

On 25 April, we announced a legally binding target to crackdown on sewage spills from storm overflows.

We are monitoring water companies and will take action wherever necessary. We have boosted funding for the Environment Agency with £2.2 million per year specifically for water company enforcement activity so that robust action is taken against illegal breaches of storm overflow permits.

We are currently consulting on plans to reform the civil penalties the Environment Agency (EA) can issue. The consultation covers raising the cap on penalties and making it easier and quicker to issue fines where companies breach regulations but the threshold for criminal prosecution has not been met. This consultation closes on 15 May.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she last met with the National Farmers Union.

The Secretary of State met with the NFU President, Minette Batters, on 26 April.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of withdrawing the basic payment scheme from uplands and less favourable areas on the economy.

In September 2022, the Government published an update to its Agriculture in the UK Evidence Pack. This publication included static analysis showing the profitability of farms in the absence of Direct Payments for the years immediately prior to the start of the agricultural transition. In 2019 the Government published the farming evidence compendium. This publication provided an in-depth assessment of the impacts of removing Direct Payments with analysis by sector, location in England and type of land tenure. This publication also provided analysis on how farm businesses, across all sectors, can offset the impact of Direct Payments.

Upland farms are experienced in participating and profiting from agri-environment schemes. The payment rates for new environmental land management schemes provide the largest profit margins on the least productive land. This means farms in uplands areas are well placed to benefit from many of the options in our future farming schemes.

The Government is reinvesting the money freed from Direct Payments to our other schemes for farmers and land managers. We are offering ongoing payments and one-off grants to improve farm productivity, benefit the environment and support sustainable food production. Farmers affected by the phasing out of Direct Payments can also receive free business advice and support through the Future Farming Resilience Fund.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of trees that were planted in England in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) 2022.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These can be found in Forestry Statistics on the Forest Research website. These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2021-22.

19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farms in Westmorland and Lonsdale are part of Countryside Stewardship.

As of 20 April 2023 there are 378 farms in Westmorland and Lonsdale that have Countryside Stewardship agreements.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farms in Westmorland and Lonsdale are part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.

As of 20 April 2023 there are 25 farms in Westmorland and Lonsdale that have Sustainable Farming Incentive agreements.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department holds data on the number of farm holdings in every constituency.

Defra does not hold data on the number of farm holdings in every constituency because not all farms are required to register with the department. Based on the farms which are registered with Defra for either subsidy purposes or for livestock keeping requirements, we can produce statistical estimates of the number of farms which have significant levels of farming activity in each constituency.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when her Department plans to publish the National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides.

We will publish the updated National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides in 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many requests were made to water companies under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 in each year between 2020 and 2022; and what the total amount charged by water companies was for access to information under those regulations in the same period.

For the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, Defra is a separate legal entity to water companies. Any requests made under this regime to the water companies would have been administered by them and therefore Defra does not hold this information.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the number of serious water quality pollution incidents that have occurred, broken down by each water company in (a) 2020, (b) 2021, (c) 2022 and (d) 2023 to date.

The EA publish water company performance reports as part of the Environmental Performance Assessment annually, this shows the number of water pollution incidents for each water company. The data for 2020 and 2021 can be found online. The data for 2022 will be published in July 2023.

We will not let companies get away with illegal activity and where breaches are found, we will not hesitate to hold companies to account. Since 2015, the Environment Agency have concluded 58 prosecutions against water and sewerage companies securing fines of over £142m. We recently announced water companies will face higher penalties that are quicker and easier to enforce.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many users would have been required for (a) Monk Coniston, Coniston Water, (b) Coniston Boating Centre, Coniston Water, (c) Coniston North-Western Shore, Coniston Water, (d) Coniston Southern Tip, Coniston Water and (e) an area of the River Kent at Staveley Village to meet her Department's threshold for consideration for Bathing Water Status.

The Bathing Water Regulations 2013 require the Secretary of State to identify and maintain a list of the surface waters in England where it is expected that a large number of people would bathe. All applications for bathing water designation are assessed against this criterion and others set out in the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 and in the guidance available at Bathing waters: apply for designation or de-designation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Only sites where the application provides evidence of a large number of people bathing have been taken forward for consideration for bathing water status.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 July 2022 to Question 38596 on Rivers: Swimming, whether revised guidance to make it easier to understand the criteria for bathing water status has been published.

We want to make the application process for bathing water designation clearer and easier for applicants to understand, and to ensure only necessary information is requested. We are considering how this can be achieved most effectively, and will provide an update in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for bathing water status (a) have been made, (b) are pending, (c) have been granted and (d) have been rejected since January 2022.

Defra has received 21 applications for bathing water status since January 2022. Since this date, 2 sites have been designated as bathing waters, and we are currently consulting on designating 4 more sites.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to allocate funding to local authorities who have had applications for bathing water status rejected to encourage swimmers and other beach and water users, so that prospective bathing waters might meet the criteria to be considered for bathing water status.

Defra has no plans to allocate funding to local authorities whose applications for bathing water status have not progressed to the consultation stage. Defra encourages bathing water applications by writing to the Chief Executive of every local authority in England each year, as well as by sending similar letters to other stakeholders like swimming associations. It is these local authorities and stakeholders who will best know which popular bathing areas may be suitable for designation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has assessed the impact of bathing water status on the number of swimmers, children paddling, and other beach and water users using designated bathing water sites.

Defra has not assessed the impact of bathing water status on the number of swimmers, children paddling, and other beach and water users using designated bathing waters. However, the Environment Agency does regularly count bathers and beach users using a standardised measurement methodology at all designated bathing waters.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the (a) minimum and (b) maximum number of swimmers, children paddling, and other beach and water users has been in the user survey for a successful application for bathing water status.

Defra counts adults swimming and children both swimming or paddling as bathers when assessing applications for bathing water designation. According to our records, the lowest average number of bathers per day that has been provided in the user survey for a successful application for bathing water designation is 32 (the application for the River Wharfe at Cromwheel, Ilkley). The highest average number of bathers per day that has been provided in the user survey for a successful bathing water application is, according to our records, 2,280 (Upton Towans in Cornwall).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times each water company breached their storm overflow permits in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) 2022.

National Compliance Assessment Database (NCAD) data for breaches of storm overflow permits in 2020/21/22:

Water Company

2020

2021

2022

all breaches

overflow conditions

all breaches

overflow conditions

all breaches

overflow conditions

Anglian Water

39

22

10

6

36

8

Northumbrian Water

63

53

15

13

27

4

Severn Trent

84

51

21

17

50

12

South West Water

148

58

37

22

42

11

Southern Water Services

81

29

77

52

195

67

Thames Water

56

36

29

23

51

33

United Utilities

95

79

40

35

52

21

Wessex Water

106

69

9

7

39

15

Yorkshire Water

169

66

35

23

62

23

TOTAL

841

463

273

198

554

194

  • The data includes breaches for all permits with a storm overflow condition: network storm overflows; sewage pumping station; sewage treatment works storm overflows; and sewage treatment works storm tank discharges.
  • All breaches refers to all permit conditions recorded under the assessed activities in bullet point 1, including breaches for general management, telemetry, nature of discharge, access to sample point etc.
  • Overflow Conditions only includes breaches or potential breaches in relation to unauthorised discharges linked to rainfall conditions, i.e. discharges which may have occurred not due to rainfall or snowmelt.
  • The 2020 numbers are higher because trial data analysis carried out by the Environment Agency last year identified more breaches.
  • We will not let companies get away with illegal activity and where breaches are found, we will not hesitate to hold companies to account. Since 2015, the Environment Agency have concluded 58 prosecutions against water and sewerage companies securing fines of over £142m. We recently announced water companies will face higher penalties that are quicker and easier to enforce.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances on the natural environment.

The Environment Agency is continuing its extensive programme of PFAS monitoring across England


In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive to examine the risks posed by PFAS and develop a 'Regulatory Management Options Analysis' (RMOA). The RMOA will be published in spring 2023 and will make recommendations for risk management measures, building on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to tackle chemicals of concern. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy


The EA is working with key partners including Defra, UK HSA, Food Security Agency (FSA), Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has produced an impact assessment on the impact of sewage dumping by water companies on shellfish.

We have not produced an impact assessment specifically on the impact of sewage dumping by water companies on shellfish. However, the Government has designated 101 shellfish water protected areas in England where water quality is monitored for E. coli.

We have identified 63 priority areas where there is significant economic production and have the potential to meet the E. coli standard by 2030, or where action is needed to prevent deterioration. The Environment Agency will require water companies to review what action is needed in these priority areas, whether that is improvement, prevention of deterioration or investigation. This will lead to reductions in sewage discharges from storm overflows and disinfection of treated sewage.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has produced an impact assessment of sewage dumping by water companies on British wildlife.

Our Storm Overflows Evidence Project assessed the impact of sewage discharges and harm caused by storm overflows on the ecology of our rivers. We used this evidence to inform our Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, which sets the most ambitious targets to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows in water company history.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many employees of the Environment Agency were working on water pollution in each year since 2015.

Team

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

Feb-23

Land & Water

364

365

345

353

375

338

372

422

Ground Water & Contaminated Land

179

161

157

153

147

144

133

127

Total

543

526

502

507

523

482

505

549

Notes:

  1. Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Data as of 31 March each year.
  2. These teams deliver an integrated package of water and land work, including regulation, planning, advice and pollution incident response. On average: Land and Water teams spend around 25 – 30% of their time; and Ground water and contaminated land teams spend around 2-3% of their time responding to and preparing for a mixture of water, land and flood incidents.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff worked for her Department in each year between 2015 and 2022; and what the average vacancy rate was in the same period.

The headcount of staff at the end of each financial year since March 2016 can be found in the attached table. Data is taken from published reports on Gov.uk and March 2015 data is not accessible.

Core Defra cannot provide information on vacancy rate as its Single Operating Platform system does not hold individual vacancy information (this is the same for the whole of Defra).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department has produced an impact assessment on the potential impact of revoking the Water Quality Directive.

We have not produced an impact assessment on the potential impact of revoking the Water Framework Directive because we do not intend to revoke it. Defra is in the process of analysing and assessing its retained EU law stock to determine what should be preserved as part of domestic law, and what should be repealed, or amended. This work will determine how we use the powers in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff worked for the Environment Agency in each year between 2015 and 2022; and what the average vacancy rate was in the same period.

The average number of full-time equivalent staff employed during each year can be found in the attached table.

The Environment Agency cannot provide information on vacancy rate as its Single Operating Platform system does not hold individual vacancy information (this is the same for the whole of Defra).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the impact of beach closures due to sewage release on the tourism industry.

Our Storm Overflows Evidence Project assessed the impact of sewage discharges on bathing waters and the social impact where knowledge and visibility of storm overflows causes public concern. We used this evidence to inform our Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much of the £5.2 billion funding for flood defence measures announced in 2020 has been spent as of 31 January 2023; and which projects have been supported through that funding.

The Government announced in March 2020 that the amount invested in flood and coastal erosion schemes would be doubled in England to £5.2 billion.

By the end of March 2023, the Environment Agency currently estimates approximately £1.5 billion of this funding will have been invested. Official reporting of flood investment spend for 22/23 will follow. The latest official report can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/funding-for-flood-and-coastal-erosion-risk-management-in-england.

A list of capital schemes protecting properties, completed between April 2021 and March 2022 is available from Asset Information and Maintenance Programme (data.gov.uk).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of inflation on £5.2 billion for flood defence measures announced in 2020 on what that funding will cover.

The government is currently investing a record £5.2 billion on building new and improving existing flood defences, double the value of the previous programme. Higher than expected inflation is causing challenges to the delivery of all infrastructure programmes. Defra and the Environment Agency are currently undertaking an assessment of the potential impact of the inflation on the flood defences programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had discussions with Ministers in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on farmers' experiences of obtaining planning permission for agricultural planning applications, including slurry stores and livestock accommodation.

Defra and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) have had discussions at an official level about how to improve farmers’ experience of the planning process for agricultural developments, focusing on improved slurry storage. A similar approach will be used for grants to improve livestock housing. Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are responsible for making decisions about agricultural planning applications and have statutory duties to consider the environmental impacts of applications in their area based on the evidence provided. In November, Defra published information to empower LPAs to make decisions about slurry stores funded through the Slurry Infrastructure Grant, which DLUHC signposted to in its Chief Planners Newsletter to LPAs.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to increase or reduce livestock numbers in the next ten years.

UK livestock numbers are determined by our individual farmers and reflect the domestic and global demand for our high quality, high welfare meat and dairy. Our livestock farmers are world leading and we recognise the contribution they make to feeding the nation, and that well managed livestock provide benefits such as supporting biodiversity, protecting the character of the countryside and generating important income for rural communities.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has plans to work with United Utilities to ensure that (a) treated and (b) untreated sewage is not discharged into Windermere lake.

Defra engages regularly with water company representatives at both an official and ministerial level, including United Utilities (UU), to protect our waterbodies from sewage discharges.

The Government expects all water companies to deliver the targets set out in the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan as fast as possible and by the target end dates at the latest.

In the Windermere catchment, the Environment Agency (EA) continues to hold United UU to account for its operations. Where the EA has issued environmental permits, it has robustly checked compliance and all assets were inspected between 2020 and 2023. Where breaches of permit conditions are identified, the EA used its powers to ensure that UU improved operations and brought sites back into compliance. The EA holds regular production meetings with UU to discuss and resolve compliance issues.

This year, the EA will begin reviewing larger volume environmental permits on the catchment – including those of UU. If current permit conditions are no longer effective at protecting the environment, the EA will impose tighter environmental standards. The EA delivers a strategic environmental monitoring programme and with environmental data collected by the Citizen Science Big Windermere Survey and other partners it is better able to understand where UU assets may be impacting on the environment. Where improvements are required, the EA will work with UU to include the improvement schemes in future Asset Management Programmes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the reduction in her Department's real terms budget for flood defences on the adequacy of those defences.

The Government is currently investing a record £5.2 billion on building new and im-proving existing flood defences, double the value of the previous programme. Higher than expected inflation is causing challenges to the delivery of all infrastructure pro-grammes. Defra and the Environment Agency are currently undertaking an assessment of the potential impact of inflation. By spring 2023 we expect around 60,000 properties will have already been better protected by this programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of inflation on the adequacy of the £5.2 billion funding announced in 2020 for flood defence measures.

The Government is currently investing a record £5.2 billion on building new and im-proving existing flood defences, double the value of the previous programme. Higher than expected inflation is causing challenges to the delivery of all infrastructure pro-grammes. Defra and the Environment Agency are currently undertaking an assessment of the potential impact of inflation. By spring 2023 we expect around 60,000 properties will have already been better protected by this programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of the £5.2 billion investment for flood defence measures announced in 2020 has been spent so far; and which projects have been supported by that funding.

Between April 2021 and March 2022 Government invested £742 million of capital funding in Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM).

The Environment Agency expects to have spent approximately £1.5 billion, or just under 30% of the £5.2 billion allocation, by the end of March 2023.

A list of capital schemes protecting properties, completed between April 2021 and March 2022 is available from data.gov.uk.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the number of properties at risk of flooding in winter 2022-23.

Around 5.5 million homes and businesses in England are at risk from flooding and coastal erosion. That risk can be from one or multiple sources of flooding including rivers, the sea, surface water, rising groundwater or overwhelmed drains and sewers.

The Environment Agency (EA) estimates there are: 2.8m properties at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea, 3.2m properties at risk of surface water flooding, and 660,000 properties at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and surface water.

In addition, between 122,000 and 290,000 properties are estimated to be in areas at risk of groundwater flooding - this may include properties also in areas at risk of surface water flooding.

The EA continue to build and repair flood defences to make the nation more resilient to flooding, delivering on the government’s record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal risk management. This has already resulted in more than 35,000 properties being better protected from flooding and coastal erosion since April 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which (a) flood protection schemes and (b) engineering works are (i) under construction and (ii) at the (A) planning and (B) other stage of development as of 16 January 2023; what the expected completion date is for each; how many properties will be protected by each; and what the (1) initial forecast was and (2) final estimated cost is of each.

The Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) programme aims to reduce the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, groundwater and surface water. It also aims to reduce the risks from coastal erosion. Between April 2021 and March 2022, the Environment Agency worked with other Risk Management Authorities to complete over 120 FCERM projects. This better protected over 33,000 properties. A further 200 projects are under construction with more in the development phase.

The Environment Agency expects to have better protected at least 60,000 properties by the end of March 2023.

The programme is subject to change during the year as projects may be subject to delay (for example through extreme weather events) or brought forward (for example in response to additional funding). New projects not originally included in the programme may also start during the year, for example where emergency works are required.


Information on flood risk management assets, maintained assets, capital programme projects and completed schemes can be viewed at data.gov.uk.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of her Department's budget was spent on new equipment for dealing with flooding in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) 2022.

The Environment Agency (EA) leads on flood and coastal risk management, and is allocated funding from the Government to cover this work. This includes flood and coastal risk management schemes, natural flood management, maintenance of our flood and coastal assets, improving our flood incident response, systems, equipment, and staff training.

Between 2015-2021 the EA was allocated £2.6 billion to invest in flood and coastal risk management. Between 2021-2027 the EA has been allocated £5.2 billion to invest in flood and coastal risk management. As part of this allocation the EA invested in the following:

  • 40km of temporary flood barriers
  • 250 pumps, including 20 ultra-high-volume pumps, to divert water and assist with flood recovery
  • Eight incident command vehicles (during the period 2014-2021).
  • Vehicles/agricultural and construction assets.

In addition, for 2021/22 there are four broad categories of activities that are undertaken in managing defence assets, as set out in the Flood and coastal erosion risk management: an investment plan for 2021 to 2027 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

A detailed breakdown of funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England for the year 2020/21, and the allocation for 2021/22 can be found here Funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Details of the EA’s Asset Information and Maintenance Programme can be found here: Asset Information and Maintenance Programme (data.gov.uk).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies entitled Ten Dark Sky policies for the Government, published on 9 December 2020, if he will take steps to implement the policies in that report.

The Government recognises that light pollution may have an impact on people, affecting their health and wellbeing, as well as the environment. We have put in place a range of measures to ensure that light pollution is managed effectively. These include controls in the planning system, the statutory nuisance regime, and improvements in street lighting.

Defra has worked with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework is clear that planning decisions should limit the impact of light pollution on local amenity, dark landscapes and nature conservation. The statutory nuisance regime requires that local authorities have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to investigate complaints of artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to human health or a nuisance.

The management of street lighting in England is the responsibility of local highway authorities. Local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the public highways in their charge, including street lighting. Central Government has no powers to override local decisions in these matters or intervene in these kinds of local issues.

The Department for Transport recognises that light pollution (and excessive or wasteful use of lighting) can pose some social, economic and environmental problems. We also encourage local authorities to consider best practice when making decisions about lighting on their networks. Advice is available from the UK Lighting Board:https://ukrlg.ciht.org.uk/media/12302/well-lit-highways-24-may-2013-clean.pdf.

Our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have some of the best dark skies, and attained some of the earliest official Dark Skies designations, in Europe. Seven of our parks have secured protected dark sky status, and we are committed to conserving and celebrating this wonderful experience for all.


The Government considers the existing measures are sufficient to manage the problems caused by artificial light and there are no current plans to revise them. Defra also continues to review emerging evidence on the impacts of light pollution on biodiversity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the average length of time is between the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) receiving a report of suspected avian influenza in (a) wild birds and (b) kept birds on private land and (i) an APHA duty vet visiting to collect samples and (ii) a protection zone being established.

Since 1 October 2022 the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have responded to 201 suspect cases in kept birds. Of these 140 have been confirmed as infected premises. For these cases, the average time between a report of suspicion of avian influenza in kept birds being made to APHA and (i) samples being taken was half a day, and (ii) the first disease control zone being put in place was one and a half days


Avian influenza is not notifiable in wild birds. Members of the public are encouraged to report findings of dead wild birds in Great Britain to the Defra helpline. Reported dead wild birds which meet the collection criteria and are in an accessible location are collected within four days. No disease control zones have been put in place surrounding findings of avian influenza in wild birds during the current outbreak.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of egg laying chicken flock in the UK.

We estimate the current size of the egg laying chicken flock in the UK is just under 38 million hens.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the proportion of chicken eggs sold in UK supermarkets that were laid abroad.

The UK egg industry operates in an open market and is both resilient and robust. We are currently around 92% self-sufficient in eggs and there are currently around 38 million laying hens across the country. There are also tried and tested routes for supplementing domestic production with imports, when necessary.

Defra continues to monitor levels of imports through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which is responsible for monitoring UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade, and recent developments.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with egg producers on the price of chicken eggs.

Defra officials meet regularly with the British Egg Industry Council, the National Farmers' Union, and the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association.

I recently hosted an egg industry roundtable with representatives from across the UK egg supply chain, to consider the challenges currently facing the industry.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the availability of eggs in supermarkets.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Rt Hon. Lord Benyon on 12th December 2022 to Question 3655.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Rock Review: summary and recommendations published 13 October 2022, what steps his Department is taking to help framers on Farm Business Tenancy agreements access to all new Environmental Land Management Schemes.

A diverse and vibrant tenanted sector is vital to the future of agriculture, and we want all types of farmers and other land managers, including tenants, to get involved with the new schemes. I therefore welcome the recommendations in the Rock Review and will be meeting with Baroness Rock to discuss those very soon. We have already implemented some of the recommendations, including designing the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme to be accessible to tenants, including those with shorter term agreements. The Government is considering the further recommendations made in the Rock Review, including those on taxation and the new Environmental Land Management schemes, and will publish a formal response in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she plans to meet with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss the recommendations on taxation made by Baroness Kate Rock in her Tenancy Working Group Report.

A diverse and vibrant tenanted sector is vital to the future of agriculture, and we want all types of farmers and other land managers, including tenants, to get involved with the new schemes. I therefore welcome the recommendations in the Rock Review and will be meeting with Baroness Rock to discuss those very soon. We have already implemented some of the recommendations, including designing the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme to be accessible to tenants, including those with shorter term agreements. The Government is considering the further recommendations made in the Rock Review, including those on taxation and the new Environmental Land Management schemes, and will publish a formal response in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she plans to publish her full response to the recommendations made by Baroness Kate Rock in her Tenancy Working Group Report.

A diverse and vibrant tenanted sector is vital to the future of agriculture, and we want all types of farmers and other land managers, including tenants, to get involved with the new schemes. I therefore welcome the recommendations in the Rock Review and will be meeting with Baroness Rock to discuss those very soon. We have already implemented some of the recommendations, including designing the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme to be accessible to tenants, including those with shorter term agreements. The Government is considering the further recommendations made in the Rock Review, including those on taxation and the new Environmental Land Management schemes, and will publish a formal response in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she plans to meet with Baroness Kate Rock to discuss the recommendations of her Tenancy Working Group Report.

A diverse and vibrant tenanted sector is vital to the future of agriculture, and we want all types of farmers and other land managers, including tenants, to get involved with the new schemes. I therefore welcome the recommendations in the Rock Review and will be meeting with Baroness Rock to discuss those very soon. We have already implemented some of the recommendations, including designing the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme to be accessible to tenants, including those with shorter term agreements. The Government is considering the further recommendations made in the Rock Review, including those on taxation and the new Environmental Land Management schemes, and will publish a formal response in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the objectives and strategic specifications for the Environmental Land Management Scheme.

We published our environmental and climate ambitions for the environmental land management schemes at the start of 2022.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the level of funding that will be provided to farmers through the Sustainable Farming Incentive in 2022.

We will not have fixed allocations (or 'pillars', as they were known while we were in the EU) of money ring-fenced to different schemes. Instead, we will learn as we go and find the best ways to manage the overall budget to respond to demand in a way that helps us achieve our intended outcomes. This means we will keep the allocation of funding between different schemes under review over time.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding was provided to farmers through the Sustainable Farming Incentive in 2021.

We started the early roll out of Sustainable Farming Incentive in June 2022. That spend will be accounted for in financial year 23/24. We recently published the first annual report that set out spend across farming reforms in financial year 2021/22 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-farming-and-countryside-programme-annual-report-2021-to-2022/future-farming-and-countryside-programme-annual-report-2021-to-2022-html-version

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the budget for Ofwat has been in each year since 2015.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the budget for the Environment Agency has been in each year since 2015.

The following table sets out the budgets for the Environment Agency from 2015-16 to date. Budgets quoted represent those budgets agreed with HM Treasury and included in Main and Supplementary Estimates. They represent budgets funded by grant in aid and are net of any external funding.

£'000

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

DEL

963,385

1,035,193

911,017

899,146

973,688

1,271,096

1,242,695

1,205,318

DEL Budgets are Delegated Expenditure Limits that are set in Spending Reviews. They include expenditure which is generally considered to be within the department’s control and can be managed with fixed multi-year limits.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the budget for Natural England has been in each year since 2015.

The following table sets out the budgets for Natural England from 2015-16 to date. Budgets quoted represent those budgets agreed with HM Treasury and included in Main and Supplementary Estimates. They represent budgets funded by grant in aid and are net of any external funding.

£'000

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

DEL

120,411

106,131

95,488

87,112

86,215

95,754

160,368

143,658

DEL Budgets are Delegated Expenditure Limits that are set in Spending Reviews. They include expenditure which is generally considered to be within the department’s control and can be managed with fixed multi-year limits.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the budget has been for the Animal and Plant Health Agency in each year since 2015.

The following table sets out the budgets for the Animal and Plant Health Agency from 2015-16 to date. Budgets represent those budgets agreed with HM Treasury and included in Main and Supplementary Estimates. They are net of any external funding received.

£'000

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

DEL

3,340

107,696

96,268

99,335

109,969

116,987

205,664

188,326

DEL Budgets are Delegated Expenditure Limits that are set in Spending Reviews. They include expenditure which is generally considered to be within the department’s control and can be managed with fixed multi-year limits.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the level of Basic Payment Scheme funding was in (a) 2021 and (b) 2022; and whether this was a reduction on the level of funding in previous years.

£1,625 million and £1,371 million were available to be claimed and paid for the 2021 and 2022 BPS scheme years respectively. We have already set out plans for progressive reductions from 2021 onwards to all BPS payments, increasing payments for Countryside Stewardship and new Environmental Land Management schemes over the same period. Details of progressive reductions published online can be found here: Funding for farmers and land managers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his comments in the House of Commons on 8 September 2022 that he had instructed water company chief executives to write to him formally by 21 September 2022 with a plan for how they would make significant improvements, whether he has received those letters.

As the Secretary of State requested, we have received letters from all water companies on how they plan to make improvements, and we are now working with them to establish where they can do more and opportunities to speed up delivery.

We will respond accordingly to the outcomes of these discussions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his comments in the House of Commons on 8 September 2022 that he had instructed water company chief executives to write to him formally by 21 September 2022 with a plan for how they would make significant improvements, whether he plans to publish those letters once received.

As the Secretary of State requested, we have received letters from all water companies on how they plan to make improvements, and we are now working with them to establish where they can do more and opportunities to speed up delivery.

We will respond accordingly to the outcomes of these discussions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan.

The Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan was published on 26 August 2022.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of water abstraction on chalk streams.

Restoring England's internationally important chalk streams is a Government priority. The Environment Agency (EA) continually assesses and monitors ground water levels that impact chalk streams. This long term monitoring has shown that water abstraction is potentially having a negative impact on a third of all chalk rivers. It is because of this that an updated assessment of all of England's rivers will be included in updated River Basin Management Plans to be published later this year.

The EA has been working with the Chalk Stream Restoration Group to identify and address the issues that are preventing chalk streams from being in good ecological health. A Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy was published in 2021 and government will publish its response to the Strategy later this year.

The EA works closely with water companies on Regional Water Resources Plans, to set out how abstraction impacts on the environment can be reduced, and also how population growth and climate change can be accommodated without causing environmental deterioration. We expect chalk streams to feature in this work. Regional Water Resources Plans will be consulted on this autumn.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers from his Department have had with representatives of water companies since 1 April 2022 on the discharge of raw sewage into waterways.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 13 July 2022 to PQ 31060.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for bathing water status (a) have been made, (b) are pending, (c) have been granted and (d) have been rejected since January 2021.

Since January 2021, Defra has received five applications for designated bathing water status. Two of these applications resulted in designations, one did not meet the required criteria as set out in the Bathing Water Regulations 2013, and the remaining two applications did not contain the required supporting evidence, however we expect both applications to be resubmitted at some point this year. We provide feedback and advice to all applicants whose application does not get taken forward.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to increase the number of sites with designated bathing water status.

Bathing waters are designated through an application process and Defra welcomes applications for designation for both coastal and inland waters such as rivers. Local authorities, groups and individuals can apply for sites to be designated. Defra encourages this by writing to the Chief Executive of every local authority in England and other key stakeholders such as swimming associations. It is these local authorities and stakeholders who will best know which popular bathing areas may be suitable for designation. My department provides guidance to assist those in making an application for a new bathing water designation. As part of the review of bathing waters policy in England, we plan to produce revised guidance this year to make it easier for applicants to understand the criteria for bathing water status and ensure only necessary information is requested.

For further information, please visit our web page on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bathing-waters

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has carried out an impact assessment on the potential impact of sewage discharged in areas at risk of drought.

There are currently nine Environment Agency (EA) operational areas (Yorkshire, West Midlands, East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, Thames, Wessex, East Midlands, Solent and South Downs, and Devon and Cornwall) that are experiencing prolonged dry weather, which is the early stage of drought. The EA has provided advice to water companies to reduce the potential impact of this on wastewater treatment as well as any potential use of sewage overflows, should there be any imminent heavy rainfall.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on how many occasions he and Ministers from his Department have visited chalk streams since 1 April 2022.

Several present and former Defra ministers are lucky to have globally rare chalk streams in their constituencies and visit them regularly. I intend to visit a chalk stream at my earliest opportunity following recess.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department met with representatives of environmental groups on sewage discharge by water companies into rivers, lakes and coastlines since 1 April 2022.

The Government has repeatedly made it clear to the water industry that the current use of sewage discharges is unacceptable. We are going further and faster than any other government to protect and enhance the health of our rivers and seas. This includes by proposing the largest water company infrastructure project in history to tackle this historical problem. Defra Ministers regularly meet environmental groups on a range of issues, including river health and water quality.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the likelihood of London and the South East running out of drinking water as a result of over-stressed or polluted water supplies; and whether his Department has a contingency plan in the event of that occurrence.

There is no current risk of London and the South East having no access to drinking water. The Environment Agency's National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England up to 2050. In the South East, action is being taken to provide around an extra 1,765 million litres of water per day by 2050 to address future pressures on drinking water supplies. The pressures include the impacts of climate change, population growth, replacing unsustainable abstractions to improve the environment, and making water supplies more resilient to droughts.

The Government's National Infrastructure Strategy set a requirement for water companies to increase the drought resilience of public water supplies to withstand up to one in 500 year drought events. To achieve this, the Government expects a twin track approach with action to reduce water demand, supported by the proposed Environment Act 2021 water demand targets, and action to develop new supply infrastructure such as reservoirs.

Statutory Water Resources Management Plans set out how water companies will continue to meet their duties of providing secure water supplies, over at least a 25 year period. All water companies will consult on new Water Resources Management Plans at the end of 2022.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of banning e-collars on the number of dogs being shot by farmers for attacking sheep.

Data on the number, and outcome, of recorded incidents of livestock worrying is held by individual police forces rather than centrally by Defra. The proposed ban on the use of electric shock collars controlled by hand-held devices, or e-collars, in England was developed after considering a broad range of factors, including the impact of a ban. When considered alongside the academic research, the public consultation responses, and direct engagement with the sector, the Government concluded that e-collars present an unacceptable risk to the welfare of dogs and cats and that their use should not be permitted.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021.

Meanwhile we maintain that it is best practice to keep your dog on a lead around livestock. Natural England recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code, which highlights that it is best practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock. The Code also makes specific reference to keeping dogs in sight and under control to make sure they stay away from livestock, wildlife, horses and other people unless invited. Moreover, the Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are locations where you must keep your dog on a lead around livestock for all or part of the year.

The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs includes guidance and reminders for owners about their responsibilities to provide for the welfare needs of their animal, but also to keep their dogs safe and under control. The code of practice is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/697953/pb13333-cop-dogs-091204.pdf

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many recorded incidents there were of dogs attacking sheep in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

Defra does not hold data on the on the specific number of recorded incidents of livestock worrying per year, as this data is held by individual police forces.

Defra recently held a series of roundtables with key stakeholders, which indicated that livestock worrying is a significant problem that warrants effective action.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021. The new measures will enhance enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law which should support robust enforcement, encouraging farmers and livestock keepers to report incidents more often.

In addition to the current legislative measures laid before Parliament, the Countryside Code will continue to be publicised to provide constant messaging to the public and landowners.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were shot or injured by farmers for attacking sheep in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications, which can be very significant.

Defra does not hold data on the number of dogs shot or injured by farmers for attacking sheep per year, as this data is held by individual police forces. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill does not include a provision to allow a farmer to shoot a dog which is worrying livestock on their land. However, the Animals Act 1971 provides that in civil proceedings against a person for killing or injuring a dog, it is a defence in certain circumstances where a dog is killed or injured by someone protecting livestock.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021.

We appreciate that the right approach for pet owners to take in managing and controlling their dog's behaviour differs from both person to person and from pet to pet. Defra would advise all owners who are concerned about controlling their dog's behaviour, for whatever reason, to take advice from their vet or a suitably qualified dog behaviourist or trainer. Such specialists would be best positioned to advise on the best approach for their specific case. The Animal Behaviour and Training Council maintains national registers of appropriately qualified trainers and behaviourists.

Defra's statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs and Natural England's refreshed version of the Countryside Code apply to handling dogs in the vicinity of livestock and outline the actions that can be taken by dog owners to reduce the occurrence of attacks or chasing.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the (a) number and (b) dates of times Ministers in his Department have met with officials at CF Industries to discuss the closure of its Ince manufacturing plant.

Defra Ministers have not met officials at CF Industries to discuss the closure of its Ince manufacturing plant. However, officials from Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have both held meetings with CF Fertilisers to discuss Ince.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has removed the requirement to be an active farmer to claim funding from the Basic Payment Scheme.

You must be a farmer to claim under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and must have land ‘at your disposal’. This means, for example, that where land is let under a Farm Business Tenancy, it is the tenant and not the landlord who can use that land to claim BPS.

Previously the BPS rules included an active farmer test. We removed this in 2018 because it was ineffective and created unnecessary confusion for farmers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that (a) fertiliser and (b) CO2 products are available to the (i) agriculture and (ii) food industries, in the context of the recently announced closure of the CF Industries plant in Ince.

We understand this will be distressing news for CF Industries' workers and their families. We are in regular contact with the company and stand ready to support those impacted.

The proposed closure of their Cheshire plant is a commercial decision for CF Industries, it will not impact supplies of CO2. The Billingham plant remains operational.

We source imports of fertiliser and carbon dioxide from a globalised market from a wide range of countries, and continue to produce it domestically at Billingham. The Government continues to analyse the situation to ensure that UK businesses are able to secure fertilisers and carbon dioxide.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to assist UK farmers to source animal feed with respect to disruption caused to supply chains by the Russian attack on Ukraine.

We are very much aware of concerns about the impacts the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have on supply chains. However, the UK food chain is very robust and adaptable. We take our food supply and security very seriously and are working closely with the industry to monitor this.

We currently source only relatively small amount of feed ingredients from either Ukraine or Russia. Our assessment is that there is low risk of an actual physical shortage of animal feed in the UK due to the amount of cereal produced domestically and the ability to import from alternative sources. The principal impact on UK farmers will be an increase in the price of animal feed as well as fertiliser and fuel.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department will announce the seasonal worker scheme for the poultry industry for the 2022 Christmas period.

The Government does not currently plan to reintroduce a scheme for temporary visas to poultry workers in 2022. We will however keep labour market data under very careful scrutiny to monitor any pressures in the poultry sector.

Our points-based system allows for many roles in poultry production to be recruited via the Skilled Worker route, such as poultry processors, bird dressers, pluckers, trussers and butchers for all meats.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase staffing levels in abattoirs.

The Government is very aware of the specific challenges faced by the pig processing sector in recent months. In the autumn of 2021, the Government announced a package of measures to support the pig industry. These measures came in recognition of the unique, temporary circumstances farmers faced as the global economy responded to the impacts of the pandemic and the global pressures facing supply chains worldwide.

Between November 2021 and 31 December 2021 applications were open for up to 800 pig butchers who were permitted to travel to the UK on visas that last for six months from the date granted. These visas were an exceptional and temporary adjustment to existing visa arrangements, augmenting the butchers already eligible since January 2021 to apply through the Skilled Worker Route as part of the points-based immigration system.

Additional concessions have been announced by Home Office for temporary workers of Ukrainian nationality, who can remain in the UK until 31 December 2022 and may also apply for a skilled worker visa while in the UK.

Temporary visas are not a long-term solution to workforce needs and businesses must make investments in the UK domestic workforce to build a high-wage, high-skill economy, instead of relying on overseas labour.   The Government expects the pork sector to encourage better training offers, career options and wage increases to ensure that the sector draws on the large domestic labour pool in the UK, as well as investing in technology across the industry.

Since January 2021, the Skilled Worker visa route has also been open to all nationals who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of working in a skilled role – including those in butchery. Further, food and farming businesses can continue to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.5 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which flood protection schemes or engineering works are (a) under construction and (b) at the planning or other stage of development, by (i) the expected completion date, (ii) the number of properties that will be protected and (iii) the (A) initial forecast and (B) final expected cost of each.

The Environment Agency publishes the programme of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) schemes here: https://environment.data.gov.uk/asset-management/downloads/capital-projects.csv. This is based on the best information available at time of publication (July 2021).

The latest refresh of the capital investment programme for 2022/23 will be published on gov.uk in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the Environment Agency prevents further sewage overflows from manhole number 4103 in Kendal.

Restoring water quality is a Government priority. We will shortly be setting new legally binding targets for water under the Environment Act to provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental improvements.

This Government is the first to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows, with new duties through the Environment Act on the water industry to reduce the harm they cause. Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. Through the next Price Review (PR24) we are using the strategic policy statement to Ofwat, the economic regulator, to make the environment a top priority.

Water companies are required to monitor their processes and emissions, and report these to the Environment Agency (EA). The EA runs this through compliance checks to ensure water companies are meeting permit requirements. Where these checks have highlighted breaches in permit conditions, or where evidence of environmental impact is found, the EA has taken strong action resulting in successful prosecutions, including the recent cases against Southern Water and Thames Water.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many new vets have been trained and recruited to help process animal health export certificates prior to consignment since 31 January 2021.

Over this period the net increase in Official Veterinarians (OVs) qualified to sign Animal Health Certificates was 308. In January 2021 the total number of OVs authorised to sign Animal Health Certificates for the export of dogs, cats and ferrets was 7,588 rising to 7,896 in November 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Ministers in his Department have carried out official visits to Shropshire in the last 12 months to discuss the impact of trade deals, including on local farming communities.

While no official visits have been carried out, Ministers have engaged (both online and in person) with hon. Members and farmers across Shropshire to discuss the agricultural transition plan, the impact of trade deals and other issues.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times each water company has been given permission to discharge raw sewage into bodies of water in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.

Raw sewage is not permitted by the Environment Agency to be discharged from storm overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fines have been issued to each water company for discharging raw sewage into bodies of water years in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.

The Environment Agency undertakes enforcement action in line with its enforcement and sanctions policy. Whilst the EA will always seek to prosecute for the most severe offences, it has a number of other enforcement options for lesser offences where offenders have shown lower levels of culpability, good cooperation and have responded positively to mitigate the pollution. For example, since 2018 the EA has used Enforcement Undertakings to secure over £8 million in payments from water companies to environmental charities to deliver environmental improvements.

In the period 2018 to 2021 there have been 11 successful prosecutions relating to pollution cases on the sewer network and storm overflows involving raw sewage. The number of prosecutions and value of fines for each year for each company are summarised in the table below:

Year

Number of prosecutions with illegal water discharge activity offences involving raw sewage

Water Company and Fine

2018

2

Northumbrian Water (fine £27,000) Thames Water (fine £1,800,000)

2019

4

Anglian Water (fine £146,000) Severn Trent Water (fine £500,000) South West Water (fine £44,000) Thames Water (fine £607,000)

2020

21

Anglian Water (fines £44,000 and £8,000) Severn Trent Water (fine £800,000)

2021 (to end of October 2021

3

Southern Water (fine £90,000,000) Thames Water (fine £4,000,000) Northumbrian Water (fine £540,000)

1 One prosecution in 2020 includes 2 separate cases against Anglian Water Services Limited sentenced in court on the same day

During this period there were also prosecutions of water companies involving partially-treated and treated sewage which are not captured in the table.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of trees that have been planted in England in 2021 to date.

The Forestry Commission produces Official Statistics on England's woodland area annually for each financial year in thousands of hectares.

The latest available figures are for 2020-21, reporting 2.06 thousand hectares of new tree planting in England.

For all new planting of woodland since 2020-21, there is also a published estimate of the approximate number of trees this represents, available from the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. These are available for the first quarter of 2021-22, reporting 0.47 thousand hectares (equivalent to 926,000 trees) of new tree planting in England. The planting season is over the winter so is only just starting for 2021-22.

Planting rates in 2020-21 were impacted by Covid-19. The England Trees Action Plan published in May 2021 stated our aim to at least treble tree planting rates in England by end of this Parliament.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the haulage industry since the start of 2021.

My Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary and I meet regularly with representatives of the food industry to discuss a wide range of issues, and we continue to work across Government, including with the Department for Transport, to find solutions to any issues. Officials in our Department also meet regularly with trade association and the haulier industry directly.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on researching the impact of ending free movement on the horticulture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on research of the impact of ending free movement on the agriculture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to prevent puppies being imported to the UK and sold via third parties.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

The ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England, also known as Lucy's Law, came into force in April 2020. Defra recognises that raising awareness of deceitful sellers is another integral step towards tackling low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies. That is why we launched the communications campaign "Petfished" in March 2020 to raise the public's awareness of the consequences of buying from a low-welfare seller and challenging the assumption that it is easy to spot bad practice. The campaign also signposts to resources available to help them make a good decision and source from responsible breeders or rehoming centres in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure animal welfare legislation is enforced in response to the reduction in the RSPCA's animal welfare inspectorate.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), local authorities, the Animal & Plant Health Agency and the police all have powers to investigate allegations of animal cruelty or poor welfare (including power of entry to inspect premises).

Under the 2006 Act, anyone is able to take forward a prosecution, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA has been enforcing animal welfare legislation in this country. The RSPCA currently successfully prosecutes 800 to 1,000 people each year.

The Government recognises the valuable work the RSPCA does to improve the welfare of animals. Defra remains committed to continuing its engagement with the RSPCA, and other organisations involved in enforcement activities, so that our high animal welfare standards are maintained and offenders are subject to appropriate penalties.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure that animal rescue centres are properly licensed.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect and improve the welfare of animals.

The recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare demonstrates our commitment to a brighter future for animals both at home and abroad. Our reform programme includes pursuing the licensing of animal sanctuaries and rescue and rehoming centres including for cats, dogs and horses. Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector. Any proposals to bring forward licensing regulations will be subject to a consultation.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has committed to restoring peatlands in the years (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

In July 2017, Defra launched a three-year, £10 million capital grant scheme for peatland restoration in England, funding sites that delivered the greatest potential for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, value for money and maximum environmental benefits.

Last year the Government also committed funds to the Nature for Climate Fund, which introduced a new capital grant scheme for peatland restoration. In advance of the scheme being launched this year, we made a number of investments in peatland restoration projects that were deliverable in 2020/21.

Overall, in the following financial years we committed:

a) 2018/19 - £4,322,935.00

b) 2019/20 - £2,492,607.00

c) 2020/21- £7,351,476.50

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many peatlands have been restored in England in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

Our last Peatland Capital Grant Scheme (2017-2020) allocated £10 million to deliver 6,498 hectares of peatland restoration for projects in England.

Additionally, investment from the Nature for Climate Fund funded 3,448 hectares* of peatland restoration in 2020/21. Alongside our new peatland mapping project, we are currently developing a Peatland Restoration Register which will record all restoration on an England-wide basis.

* This figure uses the data we have currently recorded. We are awaiting final reporting and that figure is expected to be higher.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of trees that have been planted in England in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These Official Statistics are produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics. The latest statistics can be found in Provisional Woodland Statistics: 2021 edition on the Forest Research website together with background information at Forestry Research . These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2020-21.

For all new planting of woodland in the most recent year, there is also a published estimate of the approximate number of trees this represents available from the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. For 2020-21 this was an estimated 4,252,000 trees newly planted in England.

The areas of new planting (woodland creation) for England taken from the published Forestry Statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting in England (thousand hectares)

New planting in England (estimated number of trees)

2018-19

1.42

..

2019-20

2.34

..

2020-21

2.18

4,252,000

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, grant schemes and with estimates for areas planted without grant aid.

Note 1: ‘..’ denotes data not available. Estimates of numbers of trees in newly-planted woodland are incomplete for years before 2020-21.

Note 2: Estimates for areas planted without grant aid are believed to be under-reported and, as a result, the reported figures are likely to under-estimate the true level of planting activity. For England, woodland planting funded by sources other than the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the HS2 Woodland Fund include planting supported by the Woodland Trust, by the Environment Agency, by Natural England and land acquired by the National Forest Company.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has allocated to planting trees in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on the 18 May. This sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

From that £500million, a series of funds will support the creation and management of woodland. This includes over £25 million for our Woodland Creation Partnerships this year, £6 million for the Urban Trees Challenge Fund for the next two years, a £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund over this next year, and the £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer launched in spring 2021. This will support traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian planting.

In the planting season 2019/20, the Government made major commitments to help reach our tree planting targets. In January 2020, the Prime Minister announced £5.7 million to launch the new Northern Forest. In the Autumn Budget 2019, the Chancellor announced £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, and £10 million to plant new trees, including valuable street trees, in our towns and cities through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, launched in May 2019.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of banning bottom trawlers and supertrawlers from Marine Protected Areas.

It is essential that all damaging activities are prevented in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Not all fishing activities will require management, only those likely to damage the designated features of a MPA, such as trawling on the seabed. 'Supertrawlers' generally target fish within the water column and so are unlikely to damage the seabed habitats for which most MPAs are designated.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess each MPA site and develop appropriate management measures. 98 MPAs in inshore waters now have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears. For MPAs in our offshore waters, the MMO has embarked on an ambitious three-year programme to fully manage any harmful fishing activity.

On 8 June 2021, the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). The Government accepted the central recommendation that we should take forward some pilot sites and we will designate these next year. HPMAs prohibit extractive, destructive, and depositional uses, allowing only non-damaging levels of other activities to the extent permitted by international law. As such, bottom trawlers and super trawlers would not be permitted to fish in HPMAs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate the Government has made of the number of farmers expected to retire under the Government's proposed exit scheme.

Our proposed lump sum exit scheme will provide support for farmers in England who wish to exit the industry. By doing so, this will free up land for new entrants and those farmers who wish to expand.

In 2018, we undertook a survey of around 1,000 farmers as part of our planning for the Agriculture Act. 6% of those surveyed said they wanted to leave farming but felt they were not able to do so at that time. Financial reasons were given as the main barrier.

There will be a range of factors which will affect individual farmers' decisions about whether they wish to take the lump sum and exit farming. The consultation will be used to gather further evidence about likely uptake.

Our consultation can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/. This consultation is open until 11 August 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the proportion of retiring farmers who will be replaced by new entrants.

The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on a proposed lump sum exit scheme for farmers in England (https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/). This consultation is open until 11 August 2021.

We think that, by helping those farmers who wish to retire or leave the industry to do so, this scheme will free up land for both new entrants and expanding farmers. Our consultation will be used to gather evidence of how the scheme could benefit both groups of farmers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that licenses are granted in a timely manner to operators of the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme.

Defra is seeking two new scheme operators, who will join the current operators (Concordia and Pro-Force Limited) in operating the extended and expanded Seasonal Workers Pilot for 2021.

Selecting the additional operators is a two-stage process. Defra conducts the first stage, via a Request for Information exercise. The organisations selected are then endorsed by Defra to apply to the Home Office for the relevant sponsor licence.

Defra is working closely with the Home Office to deliver a good outcome for the sector and we hope to say more on this very soon.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to make the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme permanent.

On 22 December 2020, the Government extended the Seasonal Workers Pilot for one year and expanded the number of visas from 10,000 to 30,000.

The extension and expansion of the Pilot for 2021 will allow the Government to further test how the Pilot operates, while helping farmers and growers adjust to changes in the labour market, brought about by the introduction of the Points Based Immigration System on 1 January 2021, and to ease some of the pressure felt on farms when they are at their busiest.

Defra understands the importance of seasonal labour in supporting a successful and effective agricultural and food sector, and is working closely with the Home Office to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 to 2024 on (a) uplands and (b) hill farming businesses.

I recognise that the uplands and hill farming businesses face specific issues and challenges. That is why we have designed policies to allow for a managed adjustment, a seven-year transition, that will give farmers and land managers, including in upland areas time to adapt to the changes.

We published two assessments, one in 2018 and again in 2019, and we are planning to publish further analysis by autumn this year. This will analyse farm incomes and how these will change between now and 2027.

Our latest preliminary findings are consistent with previous analysis that is publicly available, and we find that uplands farmers are reliant on Direct Payments, to the extent that their Direct Payments make up essentially all of their annual profit or farm business income.

The analysis also shows that there are opportunities for upland farmers. For instance, uplands farmers currently receive a relatively high proportion of their income through environmental land management environment payments. They are therefore well placed to benefit as more public money is provided through such schemes. In designing these schemes, we know that the payment rates need to be attractive to achieve the levels of uptake and environmental outcomes we need to see as well as set at a fair rate.

There is significant potential for upland farmers to reduce costs and improve businesses practices and we are providing grants and targeted resilience support to facilitate that, as well as investing in longer term measures such as research and development. We also anticipate rent adjustments which could benefit upland tenant farmers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to increase the (a) resources and (b) powers available to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Landscapes Review, published September 2019, what plans his Department has to increase funding for National Park Authorities.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to strengthen the role that local communities have in National Parks.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that landlords cannot take a disproportionate share of their tenant's delinked farm payments.

Eligibility for delinked payments will be based on a reference period. For example, it may be necessary to have claimed, and been eligible under the Basic Payment Scheme, in a particular scheme year or years. Where land is let to a tenant, it is the tenant and not the landlord who is eligible to use it to claim under Basic Payment Scheme. Similarly, we expect that tenants who received a Basic Payment Scheme payment during the reference period will usually be eligible to receive a delinked payment. We are consulting with the industry on the detail of how delinked payments will work.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which local authorities have taken enforcement action under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in each of the last three years.

Defra does not hold information on which local authorities have taken enforcement action under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in each of the last three years.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of off mains drainage properties which use septic tanks in (a) England and (b) Cumbria.

Mains sewerage systems (operated by the Water and Sewerage Companies) cover around 95% of the population of England. Non-mains sewerage systems (including septic tanks or small private sewage treatment works) serve the remaining 5%.

The then Department of Environment conducted a study in 1994 to estimate the number of properties not on mains drainage. It estimated that there were approximately 700-750,000 such properties in England. It further estimated that approximately 85,000 to be within the North West Region. It did not account for specific numbers for Cumbria.

The Environment Agency has recently begun work to understand how many properties are likely served by private sewerage systems. We do not believe that the figures for either England or the North West Region are likely to have changed significantly in the period since the 1994 study.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many veterinary surgeons hold the required qualifications to carry out export health certification by (a) type of qualification and (b) geographic area.

The number of Official Veterinarians (OVs) holding Official Control Qualifications (OCQs) for export certification are listed below. OCQs permit OVs to certify exports for specific commodities only but OVs may hold more than one OCQ. OVs may work across geographical boundaries. In addition, 1043 Food Competent Certifying Officers working in 153 different Local Authorities across Great Britain can certify some exports and therefore contribute towards certification capacity.

OCQ

England

Wales

Scotland

Total

Ex – Exports General*

2004

189

295

2448

AX - Avian Exports

143

6

28

177

CA - Companion Animals

5971

447

610

7028

EQ - Equine Exports

422

14

11

447

GX - Germinal Products Exports

92

4

7

103

PX - Product Exports

970

118

149

1237

SX - Small Animal Exports

324

36

77

437

UX - Ungulate Exports

441

69

132

642

*This course is a prerequisite for the other exports courses and may be sufficient in cases where no further training is required (e.g. for the export of insects or live fish).

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which body will be responsible for the (a) monitoring and (b) approval of imports into the UK to ensure compliance with UK standards on (a) animal welfare, (b) food safety and (c) environmental protection after the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The delivery of import controls for animals, plants and their products is carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Port Health Authorities. This will continue to be the case after the Transition Period and we will deliver the same high level of protection as we do now.

After the Transition Period, the UK will maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect the public, animal and plant life and health and the environment, reflecting its existing high standards. We will repatriate the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This will provide a standing, robust system that will work alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

I am pleased that the Government has agreed to the establishment of a Trade and Agriculture Commission, the details of which have now been published by the Department for International Trade. This will ensure that the UK's trade policy fully considers our agricultural industry and our commitment to maintain our high standards. We are on the side of UK farmers in trade negotiations and this Government will work hard to ensure any future trade deals are in their best interests and will prioritise both food production and our world-leading environmental targets.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what processes his Department plan to introduce after the conclusion of the Trade and Agriculture Commission to assessing the sanitary and phytosanitary treatments that (a) traders and (b) third party countries have used in their production processes for food imported into the UK; and if will he make a statement.

The delivery of import controls for animals, plants and their products is carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Port Health Authorities. This will continue to be the case after the Transition Period and we will deliver the same high level of protection as we do now.

After the Transition Period, the UK will maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect the public, animal and plant life and health and the environment, reflecting its existing high standards. We will repatriate the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This will provide a standing, robust system that will work alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

I am pleased that the Government has agreed to the establishment of a Trade and Agriculture Commission, the details of which have now been published by the Department for International Trade. This will ensure that the UK's trade policy fully considers our agricultural industry and our commitment to maintain our high standards. We are on the side of UK farmers in trade negotiations and this Government will work hard to ensure any future trade deals are in their best interests and will prioritise both food production and our world-leading environmental targets.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with counterparts in the Department for International Trade on the introduction of dual tariffs to protect UK (a) animal welfare, (b) food safety and (c) environmental protection standards in relation to imports; and if he will make a statement.

I am proud to have stood on a manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for International Trade, and officials from both departments, are working together to deliver that commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the proportion of National Parks' income that will be lost through reduced car parking charge receipts during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been working with the National Park Authorities (NPAs) collectively, individually and through National Parks England from the outset to understand the impacts of COVID-19. We are ensuring that Parks make full use of the existing Government support schemes available to them. We will continue to engage closely with each NPA to assess the level of further support required.

As part of our engagement with NPAs we have gathered information to understand impacts to their revenue. We do not, however, have a breakdown by NPA of car parking revenue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he will take to support National Parks who have lost income during the covid-19 outbreak after the lockdown finishes.

The Government has been working with the National Park Authorities (NPAs) collectively, individually and through National Parks England from the outset to understand the impacts of COVID-19. We are ensuring that Parks make full use of the existing Government support schemes available to them. We will continue to engage closely with each NPA to assess the level of further support required.

As part of our engagement with NPAs we have gathered information to understand impacts to their revenue. We do not, however, have a breakdown by NPA of car parking revenue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with supermarket retailers on providing delivery services to people without access to online shopping during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest, for example by sharing distribution depots and delivery vans.

We are in close contact with representatives across the food supply chain and civil society to discuss further ways to help with their preparations, in particular to look at supporting those who have to stay at home, including people without access to online shopping. Supermarkets are recruiting more staff and limiting shopping hours so they have more time to restock. They are working hard to deliver a crucial service for us all and have also issued a rallying call for everyone to play their part in the national effort to this response by looking out for their friends, family and neighbours.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus will have access to the food they need. A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic groceries. The Government is working with a partnership of the groceries industry, local Government, local resilience forums and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the planned timescale is for the Environmental Land Management scheme pilot and what progress has been made on that pilot to date.

The Environmental Land Management (ELM) National Pilot will be the means by which Defra will pilot, at scale, the new ELM scheme, in real world situations with a wide range of farmers, foresters and other land managers. The first agreements with those taking part in the Pilot are planned to begin formally in late 2021. The Pilot is planned to run for three years until ELM is launched in late 2024 and will provide an important opportunity for farmers, foresters and other land managers to be involved in shaping the scheme.

The Pilot will be undertaken in close consultation with relevant stakeholders. Detailed proposals on what will be included in the Pilot are currently being developed.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the recent outbreak of coronavirus, if she will bring forward proposals to (a) prevent animal disease and (b) ensure animal (i) health and (ii) welfare in the Agriculture Bill.

While the initial cases of coronavirus may have been through contact with wildlife in China, this is now a human to human transmission cycle and there is no evidence for the infection in livestock in any affected country. We continue to monitor the situation.

The Agriculture Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 January. The Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to make payments to protect and improve the health and welfare of livestock, as well as to collect and share data relating to livestock health and traceability.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of routine vaccination in livestock; and whether she will provide support to farmers delivering a preventative approach to livestock disease.

Where considered appropriate by a vet and farmer, vaccination has a role to play in preventing diseases in livestock. We know that the majority of farmers have animal health plans and good biosecurity measures in place, but there is a clear opportunity to go further.

We are working with industry and veterinary representatives to develop practical actions to help reduce the impact of endemic diseases on livestock and improve animal health. We will also work to improve the breadth and detail of animal health data gathered.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made on the effect of preventable disease on the (a) health, (b) welfare, (c) productivity and (d) sustainability of agriculture.

Improving animal health through addressing endemic diseases will improve the welfare of livestock and reduce the need to use antibiotics. It can also significantly improve productivity on farm; endemic livestock diseases are estimated to cost the English livestock industry between £290 million and £710 million per year.

Improving animal health will contribute to the UK five-year action plan for tackling anti-microbial resistance and the 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the economic impact of the UK's trade deals with (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand on farmers in the South West.

Impact Assessments of the Free Trade Agreements between the UK and Australia and the UK and New Zealand have been published by the department and are available on gov.uk. These include impacts on UK nations and English regions and on sectors of the economy.

In the central estimates, the UK-Australia FTA could increase GVA in the South West by £131m, and the UK-New Zealand FTA by £34m, in the long run.

The documents also describe the potential impacts on the agri-food sectors for the UK. Sectoral impacts by nation and region are not available.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many Ministers in her Department have visited Shropshire in the last 12 months to discuss the impact of trade agreements, including on local farming communities.

We have secured trade agreements with 70 countries, plus the EU, covering trade worth £766 billion last year, delivering benefits for communities across the country. An impact assessment is published when the text of a new free trade agreement is laid in Parliament, which presents the economic benefits of the deal. For example, compared to the United Kingdom not having an agreement with Japan, output in the West Midlands is expected to be £56 million higher in the long run (in 2017 terms).

Our trade agreements unlock new opportunities for our agriculture, food and drink sector and we will continue to work with producers and suppliers to make sure the sector is represented in future free trade agreements. In addition, the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission will scrutinise new free trade agreements once they are signed, providing an additional layer of independent scrutiny.

Ministers regularly visit farmers across Britain to discuss the opportunities presented by free trade agreements and the export support that the Department for International Trade can provide. For instance, the then Secretary of State for International Trade visited Shropshire in July. We continue to support farming and food businesses to seize global export opportunities through our Export Support Service, our online digital platform at GREAT.GOV.UK, and through our people dedicated to agriculture, food and drink across the United Kingdom and our global network.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government has carried out an impact assessment on the potential effect of free trade agreements with (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand on the UK farming sector, by region.

We have secured trade agreements with 70 countries, plus the EU, covering trade worth £766 billion last year, delivering benefits for communities across the country. An impact assessment is published when the text of a new free trade agreement is laid in Parliament, which presents the economic benefits of the deal. For example, compared to the United Kingdom not having an agreement with Japan, output in the West Midlands is expected to be £56 million higher in the long run (in 2017 terms).

Our trade agreements unlock new opportunities for our agriculture, food and drink sector and we will continue to work with producers and suppliers to make sure the sector is represented in future free trade agreements. In addition, the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission will scrutinise new free trade agreements once they are signed, providing an additional layer of independent scrutiny.

Ministers regularly visit farmers across Britain to discuss the opportunities presented by free trade agreements and the export support that the Department for International Trade can provide. For instance, the then Secretary of State for International Trade visited Shropshire in July. We continue to support farming and food businesses to seize global export opportunities through our Export Support Service, our online digital platform at GREAT.GOV.UK, and through our people dedicated to agriculture, food and drink across the United Kingdom and our global network.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will include consideration of climate impacts as part of any new trade deals.

We conduct initial scoping assessments ahead of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and impact assessments once FTAs have been signed. These look at climate change as well as environmental concerns from biodiversity to air quality.

We have agreed ambitious environmental chapters with both Australia and New Zealand, which preserve our right to regulate to meet net zero, affirm our shared commitment to the Paris Agreement and seek to cooperate on a range of environmental issues.

Through trading relationships and promoting the take up of green tech, we can support global goals on the environment.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with AMR Capital, the owners of the proposed Whitehaven coal mine, on the export destination of mined coal from Cumbria.

The Secretary of State for International Trade has had no discussions with AMR Capital (the major shareholder of West Cumbria Mining) on the export destination of mined metallurgical coal from West Cumbria Mining’s proposed Whitehaven coal mine. Nor did she have any discussions with AMR Capital during her previous role as Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change and UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her policy is on the UK seeking trade deals with other countries similar to those terms negotiated with Australia.

Building on the success of the UK’s recent Agreement in Principle with Australia, the Government will continue to pursue deals with the New Zealand and the US. The Government is progressing plans to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and has recently launched public consultations for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with India, Canada and Mexico.

The Government will continue to use a range of trade policy tools to strengthen bilateral trading relations with economic and strategic partners across the world. This includes exploring the options for new FTAs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department plans to take to monitor the potential effect of the UK's proposed free trade deal with Australia on the farming industry (a) before and (b) after negotiations on such a trade deal have been agreed.

The Department’s economic analysis, published on 17 June 2020, seeks to identify the long-term scale of the additional benefit to the UK from having a deal with Australia. This included an assessment of the impact on the agriculture industry.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, the Government will update this analysis and publish a full impact assessment prior to ratification of the agreement.

HM Government has been clear that any deal with Australia must work for UK consumers, producers, and companies, and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise our high standards. HM Government will also stand firm in our negotiations to ensure any future trade deal supports the livelihoods of farmers and the interests of consumers across the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to work with the Leader of the House to bring any proposed trade deal with Australia to the House to be scrutinised before it is signed.

The Government has put a suite of enhanced scrutiny arrangements in place to allow for appropriate scrutiny by Parliament. This includes:

  • publishing negotiating objectives and economic scoping assessments before starting negotiations;
  • regular statements to Parliament;

At the conclusion of negotiations, there will be opportunity for scrutiny of the final deal, including time for the relevant Select Committees and the Trade and Agriculture Commission to produce their reports on the deal. Parliament can resolve against ratification of a treaty under the scrutiny processes set out under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Any legislative changes required to give effect to the free trade agreement will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way before ratification of the agreement can take place.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will bring forward her legislative proposals for a Trade and Agriculture Commission.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission is an advisory board. As such, no legislation is required.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect on the economy of a dual tariff regime for protecting UK (a) beef, (b) poultry, (c) pig, (d) dairy and (e) egg farmers from imports that do not meet UK standards; and what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on those tariffs.

The Government prepares a scoping assessment examining the economic impacts of planned Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) ahead of each of its new trade negotiations. These scoping assessments for the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are available on the gov.uk website and include an assessment of the possible impacts of tariff liberalisation on the UK agriculture sector.

We will not compromise on our high standards of food safety and animal welfare in any trade negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will grant an immediate emergency exemption of at least six months to allow West Coast Rail company to make a new application for a new exemption certificate.

The decisions on issuing exemptions from safety requirements, including the Railway Safety Regulations 1999, are a matter for the Office of Rail and Road, in its capacity as the independent regulator for rail safety. The Department has no powers to issue exemptions from the safety requirements itself.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will meet the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale to discuss the potential merits of repairing Rigmaden bridge.

DfT Ministers are always happy to meet with MPs. In this financial year (2022/23), the Department is providing Cumbria County Council with over £33 million in highways maintenance funding.

As per section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, it is up to Cumbria County Council as the local highway authority to decide how best they maintain their respective local highway network, including Rigmaden bridge, based on local needs and priorities.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the haulage industry since the beginning of 2021.

Secretary of State for Transport has met with representatives of the road haulage industry five times during 2021.

Transport Ministers have also held an additional thirteen meetings with the haulage industry in 2021. This includes a roundtable on addressing the driver shortage jointly held by Minister for Transport Baroness Vere and Employment Minister, Mims Davies MP.

In addition to these meetings, representatives of the road haulage industry meet with Departmental officials on a biweekly basis.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department to research the impact of ending free movement on the haulage industry.

The Department for Transport has regular discussions with the road haulage industry. We are working together to address the current HGV driver shortage, which is an issue common to many European countries.

The Government has already taken firm action, including through training for jobseekers, additional funding for apprenticeships, and taking measures to increase lorry driver testing capacity to bring new drivers into the industry as soon as possible.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to ensure that HS2 Phase 2b delivers a net gain in biodiversity; and how that net gain will be quantified.

In June 2021, the government announced its commitment that HS2 will aim to deliver a net gain in biodiversity for the HS2 Crewe-Manchester phase, going beyond the existing target to deliver no net loss of biodiversity.

HS2 Ltd reports to DfT on quantification of biodiversity delivery. HS2 Ltd is employing a Defra metric-based approach ('the HS2 Metric'). This metric was last updated in 2020 for Phase 2b to capture the functionality incorporated in the latest Defra biodiversity metric tool at the time (Biodiversity Metric 2.0).

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to electrify the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere.

A decision on whether to proceed with developing the next phase of a potential battery electric traction scheme is currently under consideration.

It should also be noted that the local stakeholder priority is for a passing loop to enable a two-trains per hour service using the current new build rolling stock rather than either battery trains or electrification with the current service pattern.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce a stop for High Speed Two at Oxenholme station.

The Department has awarded the West Coast Partnership franchise to First Trenitalia. As well as operating existing conventional services, they are also acting as the Shadow Operator for HS2 services. In this role they will provide advice to the Department regarding the optimum train service that should operate on the West Coast Main Line once HS2 opens, to best serve towns and cities on the route, based on their knowledge and analysis of passenger demand. A final decision on train services will not be made until the appropriate timetable development process begins.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2023 to Question 201819 on Refugees: Finance, what guidance his Department has issued to Job Centre staff on the ability of a refugee to make a claim for Universal Credit before they have received their Biometric Residence Permit.

Those granted refugee status have recourse to public funds and are able to apply for Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status. Individuals do not need to have received their Biometric Residence Permit before making a claim to Universal Credit. They will need to be able to verify their identity and their refugee status for their claim to be processed. Although refugees normally rely on their Biometric Residence Permit to verify their identity and their refugee status, other documents can be accepted.

DWP Staff are instructed to consider all available evidence when assessing a benefit claim, including checking directly with the Home Office to confirm immigration status where they are unsure. We are currently reviewing the guidance for staff on acceptable evidence for refugees including alternative evidence for those yet to receive a Biometric Residence Permit.

We are also reviewing our public guidance to make clear that those granted refugee status should make a claim to Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status if they require financial support and should not wait until they receive their Biometric Residence Permit. This reflects the advice refugees are given in Home Office communications when they receive their grant of status.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2023 to Question 201819 on Refugees: Finance, whether someone with refugee status may make an application for Universal Credit before they have received their Biometric Residence Permit.

Those granted refugee status have recourse to public funds and are able to apply for Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status. Individuals do not need to have received their Biometric Residence Permit before making a claim to Universal Credit. They will need to be able to verify their identity and their refugee status for their claim to be processed. Although refugees normally rely on their Biometric Residence Permit to verify their identity and their refugee status, other documents can be accepted.

DWP Staff are instructed to consider all available evidence when assessing a benefit claim, including checking directly with the Home Office to confirm immigration status where they are unsure. We are currently reviewing the guidance for staff on acceptable evidence for refugees including alternative evidence for those yet to receive a Biometric Residence Permit.

We are also reviewing our public guidance to make clear that those granted refugee status should make a claim to Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status if they require financial support and should not wait until they receive their Biometric Residence Permit. This reflects the advice refugees are given in Home Office communications when they receive their grant of status.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has issued guidance to Job Centre staff on the fact that a refugee does not need to have received their Biometric Residence Permit before making a claim for Universal Credit.

Those granted refugee status have recourse to public funds and are able to apply for Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status. Individuals do not need to have received their Biometric Residence Permit before making a claim to Universal Credit. They will need to be able to verify their identity and their refugee status for their claim to be processed. Although refugees normally rely on their Biometric Residence Permit to verify their identity and their refugee status, other documents can be accepted.

DWP Staff are instructed to consider all available evidence when assessing a benefit claim, including checking directly with the Home Office to confirm immigration status where they are unsure. We are currently reviewing the guidance for staff on acceptable evidence for refugees including alternative evidence for those yet to receive a Biometric Residence Permit.

We are also reviewing our public guidance to make clear that those granted refugee status should make a claim to Universal Credit as soon as they receive their grant of status if they require financial support and should not wait until they receive their Biometric Residence Permit. This reflects the advice refugees are given in Home Office communications when they receive their grant of status.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the number of people using food banks in each month since January 2022.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and HM Government does not have any role in their operation. As such, monthly breakdowns are not available.

National statistics on food bank use for 2021/22 are available here. We aim to publish statistics for 2022/23 in March 2024.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to (a) tackle unemployment and (b) promote job retention in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The Government’s Job Retention and Eat Out to Help Out schemes have provided unprecedented support to the tourism and hospitality sector

The August 2020 statistics[1] show that the accommodation and food services sector has seen 77% of employments furloughed, with over £4.7 billion claimed through CJRS. 87% of employers in this sector have furloughed at least one employment.

By midnight on 31 August more than 100 million meals were eaten by diners as part of Eat Out to Help Out, with the 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme making 130,000 claims worth £522 million[2].

For those in the sector that have unfortunately been made unemployed, I am working with colleagues from across government to ensure these people can access support to pivot into sectors where jobs are available.

More widely, my department is working closely with other government departments, external organisations and local partners to support people into work. The Kickstart scheme was recently announced to help young people aged 16-24 find 6-month work places, while the start of Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) and Job Finding Support Service will follow.

As my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in his Plans for Jobs statement[3] in July, DWP is also doubling the number of work coaches in Job Centres to help provide the urgent support needed for jobseekers to find work, including those in the tourism and hospitality sector.

As well as this, DWP designed two websites that were launched in April, Jobhelp and Employer Help, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising both a radically different labour market as some sectors contract and others expand. Jobhelp[4] offers job search advice, showcases recruiting sectors and signposts to job vacancies to help people successfully find work.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-august-2020

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-diners-eat-100-million-meals-to-protect-2-million-jobs

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020

[4] https://jobhelp.campaign.gov.uk/

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to pay universal credit to claimants on the day of application as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is monitoring the adequacy of its response to the spread of COVID-19 closely and is determined to provide effective financial support to people
across the country during this challenging period. Further measures will be taken if shown to be necessary.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to pay employment and support allowance to claimants on the first day of application as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Those applying for Contributory ESA are able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8. And we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment.

29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information her Department holds on the number of young people who were admitted to a paediatric ward in mental health crisis in each month in 2023.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of young people in South Cumbria identified as highly complex or at high risk to self or others are on the waiting list for (a) cognitive behavioural therapy, (b) psychology and (c) family therapy as of 29 January 2024.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of trends in the number of crisis referrals to child and adolescent mental health services on the standard of therapeutic provision for under-18s in south Cumbria.

There are no plans to make such an assessment at national level. We would expect National Health Service providers and commissioners to provide services in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The standard of therapeutic provision for children under 18 years old in South Cumbria is a matter for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information her Department holds on the number of young people who presented at an ambulance and emergency department in mental health crisis in each month in 2023.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to support young people with autism in South Cumbria.

It is the responsibility of integrated care boards (ICBs) to make available appropriate provision to meet the health and care needs of their local population, including services to support autistic young people, in line with relevant clinical guidelines.

NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB has several commissioned services in place currently to support autistic young people and their families and has invested over £3.7 million in 2023/24 in such services. This includes an online advice and guidance service, Autism Unlocked, which has been developed for autistic people and their families, including children and young people and their parents and carers. For children on the assessment pathway for autism, the ICB has also commissioned Pathway Navigators who contact families on the assessment pathway to provide ongoing support, signposting, and resources to families.

In addition, a key worker service has been available in Lancashire and South Cumbria since 2021 to support autistic children and young people or those with a learning disability at risk of mental health hospital admission, or those in in-patient settings.

Nationally, we are taking steps to improve autism services. NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services on 5 April 2023. These documents are intended to help the National Health Service improve autism assessment services and improve the experience for adults and children who are going through an autism assessment. They also set out what support should be available before an assessment and what support should follow a recent diagnosis of autism. To meet the recommendations in this guidance, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB is currently undertaking a review of existing provision to inform the development of an integrated neurodevelopmental pathway, including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In 2023/24, £4.2 million is available nationally to improve services for autistic children and young people, including autism assessment services, pre and post diagnostic support, and the continuation of the ‘Autism in Schools’ programme. Autism in Schools is a national project, which is being implemented locally by NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, which aims to ensure schools offer environments in which autistic students can thrive, supporting good mental health and promoting a sense of belonging.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people registered with an NHS dentist are within the (a) Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board and (b) North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System as of 13 October 2023.

Patients in England are not registered with a National Health Service dental practice, although many of these practices do tend to see patients regularly. NHS dental practices are contracted to deliver activity and to deliver a course of treatment to an individual irrelevant of where they live, rather than to provide ongoing regular care. This means that there is no geographical restriction on which practice a patient may attend, allowing patients the choice of where they would like to receive a course of treatment.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of cases where patients that developed sepsis in hospital have resulted in (a) permanent impairment and (b) death in the last 12 months.

The Government does not hold information on the number and proportion of cases where patients that developed sepsis in hospital have resulted in permanent impairment or death. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 25,542 deaths from sepsis in 2022.

Over recent years, the National Health Service has become much better at spotting and treating sepsis quickly. This means that more people are being identified as at risk of sepsis. Healthcare providers are encouraged to adopt the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2), which supports clinicians to identify and respond to patients at risk of acute deterioration, including those with suspected sepsis. Since 2019, NEWS2 has been implemented in 100% of ambulance trusts and all but one acute trust in England.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding was provided to the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit in each of the last five years.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) works to prevent, detect and investigate fraud within our food system. The NFCU was initially established as an intelligence function in 2015 following recommendations made to Government in the Elliott Review, conducted in the aftermath of the horse meat incident in 2013. An independent review into the NFCU in 2018 recommended that the NFCU expand to provide an investigative capability.

The following table shows the funding provided to the NFCU from 2018 to 2023.

Year

Funding

2018/19

£3.2 million

2019/20

£5.6 million

2020/21

£4.6 million

2021/22

£4.7 million

2022/23

£5.0 million

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff worked in the National Food Crime Unit in each of the last five years.

The following table shows in each of the last five years, the headcount for the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Year Headcount

2019 1181.4

2020 1247.5

2021 1291.8

2022 1431.1

2023 1537.1

The following table shows in each of the last five years, the headcount of the National Food Crime Unit.

Year Headcount

2019 66.6

2020 70.1

2021 75.3

2022 77.3

2023 77.2

The above figures include all staff on FSA Payroll on the last day of March in each of the financial years and include casual employees and loans and secondments where FSA is paying greater than 50% of the salary but exclude Board and Committee members.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff have been employed by the Food Standards Agency in each of the last five years.

The following table shows in each of the last five years, the headcount for the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Year Headcount

2019 1181.4

2020 1247.5

2021 1291.8

2022 1431.1

2023 1537.1

The following table shows in each of the last five years, the headcount of the National Food Crime Unit.

Year Headcount

2019 66.6

2020 70.1

2021 75.3

2022 77.3

2023 77.2

The above figures include all staff on FSA Payroll on the last day of March in each of the financial years and include casual employees and loans and secondments where FSA is paying greater than 50% of the salary but exclude Board and Committee members.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the budgetary settlement by the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board for hospices.

No assessment has been made. The Government and NHS England recognises the importance of palliative and end of life care for patients and those important to them. Palliative and end of life care, including hospice care, is commissioned locally by integrated care boards (ICBs) in response to the needs of their local population. Any assessment would therefore be made at a local level.

With increasing costs and pressures and operational planning requirements from NHS England to reduce overspends, Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB has had to prioritise and focus funding on maintaining core services in the National Health Service.

As part of this review of spending, a decision has been made to not financially uplift the funding to voluntary sector contracts in Lancashire and South Cumbria, and this includes hospices. The ICB has not cut its funding to the hospices and recognises the essential work they do to support local communities. However, the ICB has not at this stage in the year been able to allocate any inflationary uplift to the contracts.

Discussions are ongoing and there are plans for the ICB to meet with the Lancashire and South Cumbria hospice leaders to discuss further.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase the amount of baby formula procured by (a) the NHS and (b) other public services from UK-based businesses.

There are no specific plans to increase the amount of baby milk procured by the National Health Service and other public services from businesses based in the United Kingdom. All procurement opportunities are advertised and open to UK businesses.

All procurement within the NHS and other public services are conducted within the rules of the Government’s Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which stipulates that all suppliers are treated fairly and equally in the procurement process. The NHS and other public services account for a relatively small proportion of the supply of infant formula within the UK, with most of the supply through retail outlets.

11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing a radiotherapy unit at Westmorland General Hospital.

No assessment has been made. NHS England is the accountable commissioner for radiotherapy services.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring the Office for National Statistics to continue to publish covid-19 data.

The COVID-19 Infection Survey has provided vital information to inform critical Government decisions across the United Kingdom. This has shaped the response to the pandemic and made a great difference to our understanding of COVID-19.

As we have transitioned into Living with COVID-19 the approach to COVID-19 surveillance is being actively reviewed to ensure it is proportionate, cost effective and considered alongside how we monitor a range of other infectious diseases that present a similar threat.

The UK Health Security Agency will continue to publish regular reports on COVID-19 which will contribute to our situational awareness, these include our weekly surveillance reports, which provide data on infection rates and hospitalisation numbers. We also maintain the ability to track the latest variants through our genomics capabilities which assess the risks posed by different strains of the virus.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which organisations have been involved in independently verifying the NHS workforce forecasts in the upcoming long-term workforce plan.

The Government has committed to publishing the long term workforce plan. This will include projections for the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals that will be needed in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time. This plan is due to be published shortly and this will include further details on verification.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many linear accelerator (LINAC) machines in operation across all NHS Trusts are beyond their recommended 10-year lifespan.

As of 31 March 2022, the number of linear accelerators aged 10 years old and over was approximately 20 out of a total of 268 machines in the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many linear accelerator (LINAC) machines are in operation across all NHS Trusts.

As of 31 March 2022, the number of linear accelerators aged 10 years old and over was approximately 20 out of a total of 268 machines in the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 21 June 2022 to Question 16924 on Breast Cancer: Screening, what steps he is taking to incentivise Community Diagnostic Centres to offer of diagnostic mammography services.

£2.3 billion was awarded at the Spending Review in 2021 to transform diagnostic services over the next three years. Most of this will help increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) up to 160 by March 2025, expanding and protecting elective planned diagnostic services. The remainder of the funding will increase capacity for imaging, endoscopy as well as lung and mammography screening, and improve digital diagnostics. Integrated care systems are responsible for ensuring their patients have adequate access to diagnostic mammography services according to local need.

NHS England has asked all CDCs in geographies with high cancer backlogs to prioritise capacity within imaging and endoscopy to accelerate diagnosis for people currently awaiting diagnostic treatment within the 62 day backlog. Remaining CDC revenue funding is being prioritised for this purpose.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral statement of 9 January 2023 on NHS winter pressures, Official Report, column 287, what interventions using artificial intelligence his Department is considering for wider implementation.

The Department is funding the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award, which is accelerating the testing and evaluation some of the most promising artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can support clinicians in diagnosis, monitoring disease and managing health conditions at home.

The Award has provided more than £100 million to 77 AI technologies which are live in 53 hospitals in the United Kingdom.

The Department has also provided £800,000 to Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) to fund 16 data-driven projects, including ‘machine-learning’, to pin-point and overcome pressures in the health care system.

The HDR UK projects are due to start early this year and will share their findings later in the year.

The Department is also piloting operational efficiency and workforce productivity tools that can help significantly reduce elective care waiting lists, which will also help to relieve some of the pressures caused by winter. The tools have been developed as part of the NHS National Data Platform. During the proof-of-concept stage, they helped Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust achieve a 46% reduction in their inpatient waiting list, improved theatre utilisation by 6% and re-prioritised more than 2,000 patients.

This proof-of-concept has since transitioned to a pilot and the tools are now being tested in 27 trusts. The pilot will report its finding in March 2023.

9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech on 4 January 2023 entitled building a better future, whether he plans to publish a strategy on reducing NHS waiting lists.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ published in February 2022 sets out the action that will be taken and is already underway to support the healthcare system in England as it recovers from the disruption caused by the pandemic and to deliver the necessary reforms that are important to its long-term future.

Tacking elective care is a top delivery priority for the Government and regular updates from the National Health Service, via NHS England, to the Secretary of State are the key mechanism used to assess progress against ambitious elective recovery targets. The Department will continue to work closely with NHS England to deliver this plan, providing the necessary support and challenge to make sure it benefits patients and delivers value for money.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of prostate cancer patients are asymptomatic when they are first diagnosed.

The 2018 National Cancer Diagnosis Audit collected referral data from general practitioners (GPs) on 64,489 cancer diagnoses in 2018, including 9,839 cases of prostate cancer. Symptoms were reported by the GP for 6,648 (68%) of all prostate cancer cases. The remainder of the cases were recorded with ‘not known’ (8%) or ‘not applicable’ (22%) symptoms.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a national screening programme for prostate cancer.

The UK National Screening Committee is due to review the evidence to screen for prostate cancer this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 September 2022 to Question 42282 on Cancer: Radiotherapy, what the timeline is for publication of the NHS England review into radiotherapy capacity.

NHS England will complete the capacity and demand review of external beam radiotherapy capacity in 2022/23.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 September 2022 to Question 42282 on Cancer: Radiotherapy, when he plans to publish the NHS England capacity and demand review of external beam radiotherapy capacity.

NHS England will complete the capacity and demand review of external beam radiotherapy capacity in 2022/23.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much NHS England has spent on (a) fees and (b) any other costs with Niche Health and Social Care Consulting since 2019.

The following table shows expenditure by NHS England on fees and other costs with Niche Health and Social Care Consulting in each financial year since 2019/20.

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

Fees

£855,000

£1,647,000

£1,917,000

Other

£410,000

£333,000

£27,000

Total

£1,265,000

£1,980,000

£1,944,000

Source: NHS England

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the findings of Exercise Alice were not published following the outbreak of covid-19; and whether details of that exercise were provided to advisory committees involved in the Government's response to that outbreak.

The Department does not routinely publish reports on exercises. Exercise Alice was not intended to test elements of preparedness for a pandemic scale event, but to assess the United Kingdom’s readiness for a potential outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a High Consequence Infectious Disease. MERS-CoV, which causes MERS, is a different virus to SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

The recommendations from Exercise Alice informed updates to guidance for the health and social care system on the management of patients with MERS and on infection prevention and control for healthcare professionals. These were published as updates to guidance on MERS-CoV prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus-mers-cov-clinical-management-and-guidance

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate she has made of the number of whole time equivalent dentists providing NHS dentistry in England by Parliamentary constituency.

The information requested is not held at constituency level.