Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Sue Hayman
(Workington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Breeding: Dogs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dog breeders will require a licence under the forthcoming animal establishments licensing regime.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 February 2018

My department estimated in the impact assessment that around 4,950 dog breeders will need licences under the new regulatory scheme up from around 600 at present.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 07 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Furs: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the labelling of goods containing real fur.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 20 February 2018

The Department ensures that there are robust protections in place for consumers. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) requires information given to consumers to be accurate and not misleading. The Regulations prohibit commercial practices, such as labelling, which contain false or misleading information, or which omits material information that a consumers needs to make an informed decision.

In addition the EU regulation on the labelling and marking of textile products (EU Regulation 1007/2011) requires that the presence of non-textile parts of animal origin in textile products, such as leather, beads, pearls and fur, must be clearly labelled in such a way that is not misleading and that the consumer can understand. Products containing such materials – even in small quantities – must be labelled or marked with the phrase “Contains non-textile parts of animal origin” whenever they are made available on the market.

Q
Asked on: 07 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Overseas Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any ban or strict controls on the export of live animals after Brexit will be matched by the same controls on import of live animals.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The Government’s manifesto commitment is that as we leave the EU, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter. We are considering all the options in line with the commitment made in the manifesto.

Asked on: 08 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ritual Slaughter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proportion of meat (1) sold as Halal which has not been slaughtered in accordance with Halal requirements, and (2) not sold as Halal which has been slaughtered in accordance with Halal requirements nonetheless.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

There are currently no specific EU or national requirements governing the sale and labelling of Halal or Kosher meat. Where any information of this nature is provided voluntarily, it must be accurate and must not be misleading.

It is for Muslim religious authorities to determine what is Halal and as such some Halal accreditation bodies will accept meat from animals that are stunned prior to slaughter as Halal, whereas others will only accept meat from animals slaughtered without stunning.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Overseas Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to prevent adverse impacts on the agriculture industry of future trade deals.
A
Answered on: 14 February 2018

British food has a world class reputation for quality and for high standards of animal welfare. The Government has been clear that it will not undermine these values in future trade deals.

Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Heaths
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) any environmental impact assessment regulations, and (2) the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, permit the removal of scrub and the burning of gorse between 1 and 8 August without the written permission of Natural England; and if so, whether those carrying out such removal and burning receive grants.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2018

The Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2007 govern the burning of heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse and vaccinium. The period 1 to 8 August is outside the burning season set out in the Regulations. For upland areas the season is 1 October to 15 April and for areas outside the uplands it is 1 November to 31 March. However, Natural England (NE) is able to grant licences for burning outside these dates if certain conditions and requirements are met.

Other legislation will also generally apply to the removal of scrub and the burning of gorse. For instance, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits any activity, including burning, that disturbs or destroys wild birds and their nests or other protected plants and animals.

Where farmers are claiming payment under the Basic Payment Scheme, as a condition of payment they will also have to comply with the requirements of the Heather and Grass Burning, etc, Regulations, including the relevant closed periods for burning.

Options which apply to the control or management of scrub and gorse for the benefit of the environment are available for farmers and other land managers in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. These include the management of moorland and lowland heathland. These options take into account relevant legislative provisions. If a Countryside Stewardship agreement holder wished to carry out burning, they must follow The Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2007. Advice is available from NE or from the Forestry Commission for woodland.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals and Plants: Diseases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the annual cost to the English economy from (1) animal diseases, (2) bee diseases, (3) fish diseases, (4) invasive non-native species, (5) plant diseases, and (6) tree diseases.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2018

Data on all these matters are not held centrally. Collation of this information would involve analysts across different organisations (Defra, APHA, Environment Agency, Fera and the Forestry Commission) analysing and collating data stored in different formats for a wide range of pests and diseases. As a result, we are not able to provide the information within the given timeframe.

Q
Asked by Sue Hayman
(Workington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Electronic Training Aids
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning the sale and use of electric shock collars.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

We have updated the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs to the effect that if anyone uses training techniques that include physical punishment they risk being prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal

The Secretary of State is meeting the Kennel Club and the Hon. Member for Aberdeen South to discuss this issue on 20 February.

Grouped Questions: 126359
Q
Asked by Sue Hayman
(Workington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Electronic Training Aids
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to meet animal welfare, veterinary and behaviour organisations to discuss the dangers of electric shock-based dog training.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

We have updated the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs to the effect that if anyone uses training techniques that include physical punishment they risk being prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal

The Secretary of State is meeting the Kennel Club and the Hon. Member for Aberdeen South to discuss this issue on 20 February.

Grouped Questions: 126358
Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to encourage poultry farmers to keep their animals in free range environments.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

All poultry farms are protected by comprehensive animal health and welfare legislation. The Government fully supports consumer choice and the requirement for clear labelling on egg packaging provides the information for consumers to make that choice.

We are currently consulting on a new statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens, which provides improved and up-to-date guidance for owners and keepers on how to comply with legislation relating to all permitted production systems. This reflects the latest scientific and veterinary advice and should lead to enhanced laying hen welfare.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Livestock: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the value was of the live export of animals to the EU in each of the last five years for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

The value of live animal exports to the EU is estimated in the HMRC Overseas Trade statistics. The data for 2017 is not complete and only captures January to November.

£

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017 (Jan-Nov)

Live Bovines

430,200

4,170,852

4,177,330

3,474,672

3,580,019

Live Swine

81,973

-

-

3,360

19,418

Live Sheep and Goats

7,008,540

17,107,733

17,073,492

17,825,461

14,345,500

Live Horses

168,422,740

186,647,948

214,531,100

221,715,064

182,084,204

Live Poultry

50,103,111

41,764,297

53,484,735

69,411,788

63,341,534

Live Fish

5,911,064

5,400,239

4,075,328

6,711,044

8,639,103

Other live animals

17,166,674

16,093,367

15,805,511

17,824,004

18,076,036

Total

249,124,302

271,184,436

309,147,496

336,965,393

290,085,814

Source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics

Q
Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many of the 100 holdings in High Risk Bovine TB control area in England that were interferon gamma tested in 2017 were so tested on account of (a) being located in an area that had completed two years of successful badger population control, (b) there being clear evidence that repeated skin testing has failed to resolve a TB breakdown and (c) the APHA veterinary investigation concluding that the most likely transmission route for the affected herd was contact with infected cattle and that measures were in place to prevent further spread of disease from that source.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

The number of holdings in the high risk area of England that underwent interferon gamma testing in 2017 on account of:

  1. a) being located in a cull area that has completed 2 seasons of effective

    culling : 26

    b) clear evidence that repeated skin testing has failed to resolve the breakdown : 68

    c) the veterinary investigation concludes that cattle to cattle transmission is most likely transmission route *: 0

    d) other reasons ** : 6

    * This criterion for interferon gamma testing was announced in 2017 but was not effectively implemented by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) until January 2018, as agreed with Defra TB Programme. This allowed resources to be focussed on the delivery of interferon gamma testing in the culling areas, which was the policy priority.

    ** These include, for instance, discretionary ad hoc interferon gamma testing of holdings affected by ‘explosive’ TB breakdowns, in order to inform APHA decisions about possible slaughter of whole herds or specific management groups of cattle.

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to fish diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 12 February 2018

Data on government spending cannot be broken down against these categories for biosecurity measures relating to fish diseases and pests. However, the spend on aquatic animal health in the financial year 2016–17, which includes disease controls and biosecurity measures for fish and other aquatic animals in England and Wales, is as follows:

  1. Policy functions – £147,765, this includes salary rates and variable and fixed overheads.

  2. Inspectorate functions, diagnostics and response functions - £2,080,917.

  3. Technical support functions (e.g. epidemiology, risk assessments, test exercise) - £142,858.

  4. Response function – these is included in (2) inspectorate functions.

  5. Research - £730,768.

  6. Total - £3,102,308.

    Aquatic animal health is a devolved policy. Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate aquatic animal health budgets which are not covered in the figures above.

Q
Asked by Neil Coyle
(Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Products: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department is making on developing its policy on imposing a ban on lion trophy imports.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 February 2018

All imports of African lion hunting trophies currently require both a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) export permit from the country of origin and an import permit issued by the relevant EU Member State. A permit will only be issued if the applicant can demonstrate that the import will not be detrimental to the conservation of the species.

Defra is looking carefully at hunting trophy imports of lions and other species to ensure that they do not impact on the sustainability of these species in the wild.

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to animal diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £200m on animal diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£117m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£83m).

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bees: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to bee diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £2.8m on bee diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£1.6m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£1.2m).

Q
Asked by Wayne David
(Caerphilly)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Non-commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take as a result of the post-implementation review of the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The post implementation review will evaluate the effectiveness of the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order. A public consultation was conducted and responses published in June 2017. A final report will be published in due course.

Ministers and officials have ongoing engagement with animal welfare NGOs on a range of issues including the movement of pet animals. Defra officials work with Border Force across a range of animal import matters including those covered by the review.

Grouped Questions: 126000
Q
Asked by Wayne David
(Caerphilly)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Non-commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) animal welfare organisations and (b) UK Border Force on the post-implementation review of the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order since the end of his Department's consultation exercise on 26 October 2016.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The post implementation review will evaluate the effectiveness of the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order. A public consultation was conducted and responses published in June 2017. A final report will be published in due course.

Ministers and officials have ongoing engagement with animal welfare NGOs on a range of issues including the movement of pet animals. Defra officials work with Border Force across a range of animal import matters including those covered by the review.

Grouped Questions: 125998
Q
Asked by Sue Hayman
(Workington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Animal Breeding
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's press release on backstreet puppy breeders, published on 2 February 2018, whether dog breeders meeting the standards of the UKAS certified Assured Breeder Scheme will be automatically classified as low risk.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 08 February 2018

Under the new animal activities licensing scheme, if a licensed dog breeder is certified by a body that is accredited by UKAS they will be automatically classified as low risk, unless the local authority finds significant evidence of poor animal welfare or non-compliance. This will allow local authorities to focus their resources on identifying and targeting illegal back street breeding.

Q
Asked by Sue Hayman
(Workington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Animal Breeding
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dog breeders were licensed by local authorities in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, and c) 2017.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 08 February 2018

We do not hold such information. Local authorities are responsible for issuing licences for dog breeders. However, according to a report by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2015 entitled Licensed Dog Breeding in Great Britain and based on a Freedom of Information Act request of all local authorities, there were 895 licensed dog breeders in Great Britain.

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