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 2015-16 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
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 21 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011: Reviews
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2016 to Question 42492, on Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011, when her Department will begin the five-year review of those regulations.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 27 March 2017

Defra began its review of the Trade in Animals and Related Products (TARP) Regulations 2011 with formal and informal consultation with customers in October 2015. We now anticipate completion in Spring 2017.

Q
(Chipping Barnet)
Asked on: 21 March 2017
Department of Health
Antibiotics: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what contingency plans the Government has made in the event of an anti-microbial resistance pandemic; and if he will place a copy of those plans in the Library.
A
Answered by: Nicola Blackwood
Answered on: 27 March 2017

The United Kingdom Government has plans in place for responding to pandemic influenza and other infectious diseases. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not a single infectious disease as defined for the purposes of pandemic planning.

AMR is recognised as a long term risk and the numbers of infections complicated by it might rise markedly over a period of 20 years. It is in the National Security Risk Assessment which sets out the top risks likely to pose a threat to the UK in the next five to 20 years.

The Government is taking strong cross-government action to tackle AMR through the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy published in 2013. The strategy represents an ambitious programme to slow the development and spread of AMR taking a “One-Health” approach spanning people, animals, agriculture and the wider environment. This includes an ambition to halve inappropriate prescribing in the UK by 2020, mitigating the risks of increased resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem. The Government’s global leadership has helped secure a United Nations declaration on AMR and a commitment from the G20 to look at solutions to the market failure on the development of new antimicrobials.

Q
(Harborough)
Asked on: 27 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times each local authority in England and Wales has used its powers to detain a horse under section 7A of the Animals Act 1971 since that Act came into force; and when each such use of those powers took place.
Q
(Harborough)
Asked on: 27 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times in each county or local government area in England and Wales a freeholder or lawful occupier of private land has detained a horse under section 7B of the Animals Act 1971 since that Act came into force.
Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 06 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Sheep
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information her Department holds on the number of dog attacks on sheep flocks in each of the last four years.
A
Corrected answer by: George Eustice
Corrected on: 24 March 2017
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 14 March 2017.
The correct answer should have been:

Information on dog attacks on sheep and other livestock is not routinely collated by Defra. However, details of the number of people prosecuted under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 for each of the last four years for which details are available can be found in the attached table.

Defra and the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) recently met police forces, farming and rural interests to discuss the situation. Under the auspices of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, five police forces are collaborating to pilot more systematic data collection of incidents and good response practices

A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 March 2017

Information on dog attacks on sheep and other livestock is not routinely collated by Defra. However, details of the number of people prosecuted under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 for each of the last four years for which details are available can be found in the attached table.

Defra and the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) recently met police forces, farming and rural interests to discuss the situation. Under the auspices of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, five police forces are collaborating to pilot more systematic data collection of incidents and good response practices

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 15 March 2017
Department for Transport
Diesel Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to raise awareness and encourage the use of (a) Adblue and (b) other technologies which can reduce the emissions of diesel engines.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 24 March 2017

Since 2013, the Government has awarded over £27 million to retrofit almost 3,000 of the oldest vehicles through schemes like the Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF) and the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF). Retrofitting refers to all or part of an engine being modified with pollution reducing technology and includes technologies such as Selective Catalytic Reduction which usually use an aqueous urea, such as AdBlue. Retrofitting has the potential for significant reductions in nitrogen dioxide emissions.

In the 2016 Autumn Statement, the UK Government committed a further £100 million in support for low emission buses. Part of this funding will be used to reduce the emissions of 1,500 buses through retrofitting the vehicles to meet tougher emissions requirements. Later this year the Government will announce how this funding will be distributed, including how various bodies, such as local authorities, can apply.

The Government is also establishing a retrofit technology accreditation scheme, which will provide independent evidence that a vehicle retrofit technology will deliver the expected pollutant emissions reductions and air quality benefits.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 16 March 2017
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 herds have been subject to interferon gamma testing in each of the (a) low, (b) edge and (c) high-risk bovine tuberculosis control areas in each year from 2008 to 2016; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 24 March 2017

The Low, Edge and High-Risk Bovine Tuberculosis areas have only been in place since 2013. However, figures in the table below give figures retrospectively assuming the areas.

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Edge

69

113

23

35

71

82

194

191

205

High

681

617

14

27

31

40

45

44

41

Low

36

44

42

36

22

52

32

45

42

The total number of herds subject to interferon gamma test in 2008 and 2009 are higher than in subsequent years because mandatory IFN-γ testing policy of animals that have been skin tested twice with inconclusive results became redundant and ended in 2010, when all three countries of Great Britain moved to a stricter policy of removing as reactors all those animals that failed to resolve at their first skin retest.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of samples (animals) tested in England has quadrupled, with the largest increase taking place in the Edge Area.

IFN-γ testing of TB breakdown herds in the HRA is also about to be significantly increased from April 2017.

Q
(Bristol East)
[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: 24 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2016 to Questions 46848 and 46849, on slaughterhouses: animal welfare, whether she has undertaken investigations into any other factors contributing to the increased number of deaths recorded and the number of welfare breaches during transportation; and what steps she has taken to reduce such deaths and breaches.
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 16 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Cattle: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cattle movements in the UK were recorded by the British Cattle Movement Service in each year from 2008 to 2016.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 23 March 2017

The number of cattle movements in the UK recorded on the Cattle Tracing System by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) in each year from 2008 to 2016 is shown in the table below:

Year

Cattle Movements

2008

13,445,614

2009

13,194,912

2010

13,654,294

2011

14,570,411

2012

13,810,509

2013

13,736,427

2014

13,742,163

2015

13,783,821

2016

14,084,952

These figures include from April 2010 movements manually entered by BCMS, usually as a result of keeper contact. Where an animal moves off a location and then onto another that is classified in reporting as 2 movements.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 16 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Circuses: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has assessed the implications of the bans on the use of wild animals in circuses introduced in Iran, Malta, Mexico, Panama and the Netherlands since 2013 for the draft legislation it is preparing on that matter.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 23 March 2017

The Government remains committed to banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. We support the Bill sponsored by the Member for Torbay, the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill. If this Bill is not successful we will introduce legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

We have made no detailed assessment of the implications of bans introduced in other countries.

Grouped Questions: 68649
Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 21 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Circuses: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to introduce legislative proposals on the use of wild animals in circuses in the next session of Parliament.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 23 March 2017

The Government remains committed to banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. We support the Bill sponsored by the Member for Torbay, the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill. If this Bill is not successful we will introduce legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

We have made no detailed assessment of the implications of bans introduced in other countries.

Grouped Questions: 68241
Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
Asked on: 23 March 2017
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure the welfare of regimental animals in the armed forces; and if he will make it his policy to ensure that regimental animals are properly looked after once they have left active service.
Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
Asked on: 14 March 2017
Home Office
Dog Fighting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to make the offence of dog fighting a specific recordable offence by police to enable more accurate recording and help target resources.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 22 March 2017

The Government has no plans to make dog fighting a specific recordable offence. Animal fighting is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and this includes fighting by dogs.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 13 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Animal Breeding
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to introduce legislation reducing the maximum number of dog litters bred for sale from four to two a year.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 21 March 2017

Last month, the Government published its Next Steps document which set out proposals for modernising the licensing of the breeding and selling of dogs in England. The Government proposes that anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of dogs in a twelve month period will need a licence. The majority of responses to our earlier consultation supported this proposal which strikes the right balance between being reasonable to enforce, providing a proportionate response and helping to target regulatory effort on those breeders producing dogs on a commercial basis.

Q
Asked by Derek Thomas
(St Ives)
Asked on: 14 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Slaughterhouses: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department takes to ensure that welfare standards are met in slaughterhouses; and what steps her Department takes in particular relation to such standards as they relate to pre-stunning.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 21 March 2017

The Government encourages the highest standards of welfare at slaughter. The Government would prefer all animals to be stunned before slaughter but respects the right of the Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Official veterinarians (OVs) from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are present in all approved slaughterhouses in England and take a prompt, proportionate and risk based approach to enforcement action when animal welfare breaches are identified.

Defra works closely with the FSA to ensure that the welfare of animals is protected in all slaughterhouses. There is a wide ranging, systemic programme of animal welfare monitoring activity including strengthened verification of compliance through the establishment of welfare assurance teams; a welfare themed audit programme; targeted unannounced inspections; additional checks for non-compliant business operators; and improved education and instruction through an animal welfare publicity campaign in slaughterhouses.

Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
Asked on: 14 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dog Fighting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to increase the maximum penalty for dog fighting.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 21 March 2017

The maximum penalties for animal welfare offences are kept under regular review. The Sentencing Council has very recently published revised magistrate’s court sentencing guidelines, including those in relation to animal welfare offences, which include dog fighting, with the aim of ensuring that the most serious cases of animal cruelty receive appropriately severe penalties within the available maximum penalty.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 10 March 2017
Home Office
Police: Dogs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether attacks on police dogs will no longer be classed as damage to property and be treated as an aggravated attack on a sentient being; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 20 March 2017

This Government is clear that an attack on a police animal is a very serious offence and while severe penalties are already in place to punish those who commit such crimes I am exploring with Ministerial colleagues and police leaders whether there is more that the law should do to offer the most appropriate protections to police and all other working animals.

I am also pleased to see that Sentencing Guidelines were updated 24 January 2017 and now include a new aggravating factor of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal being used in public service or as an assistance dog under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Q
Asked by John Woodcock
(Barrow and Furness)
[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: 14 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Zoos: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether a zoo containing more than 1,000 animals has been closed by a local authority in the last 30 years.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 March 2017

This information, on closures, would be held by local authorities and not collected centrally. Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, there is no requirement for local authorities to report the closure of a zoo of any size to the Department.

Grouped Questions: 67815
Q
Asked by John Woodcock
(Barrow and Furness)
[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: 14 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Zoos: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when her Department last conducted a review of the framework for the statutory regulation of zoos.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 March 2017

The Zoos Expert Committee (ZEC) provides independent, technical advice to the UK Governments on zoo matters. The ZEC keeps the operation and implementation of the zoo licensing system in the UK under review and advises Defra and devolved governments of any legislative or administrative changes that may be required. Membership of the ZEC includes representatives of local authorities who provide ongoing advice on the operation of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. The ZEC will also, if necessary, seek and receive representations from any local authority with knowledge of enforcing the zoo licensing system. Defra commissioned a study in 2010 to review the effectiveness of local authorities’ implementation of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. The report was published in 2011 and found no strong evidence of a need for legislative change.

Following the recent case in Cumbria, Lord Gardiner will be discussing, with ZEC, whether any further steps need to be taken to ensure animal welfare.

Grouped Questions: 67818
Q
Asked by John Woodcock
(Barrow and Furness)
[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: 14 March 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Zoos: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent representations her Department has received from local authorities on the effectiveness and scope of current zoo regulations.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 March 2017

The Zoos Expert Committee (ZEC) provides independent, technical advice to the UK Governments on zoo matters. The ZEC keeps the operation and implementation of the zoo licensing system in the UK under review and advises Defra and devolved governments of any legislative or administrative changes that may be required. Membership of the ZEC includes representatives of local authorities who provide ongoing advice on the operation of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. The ZEC will also, if necessary, seek and receive representations from any local authority with knowledge of enforcing the zoo licensing system. Defra commissioned a study in 2010 to review the effectiveness of local authorities’ implementation of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. The report was published in 2011 and found no strong evidence of a need for legislative change.

Following the recent case in Cumbria, Lord Gardiner will be discussing, with ZEC, whether any further steps need to be taken to ensure animal welfare.

Grouped Questions: 67817
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