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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 54
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Chippenham)
Asked on: 02 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Supermarkets: Plastic Bags
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will take steps to ensure that supermarket bags for life are made from fabric rather than plastic.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 February 2018

The Government has no specific plans to ensure that supermarket bags for life are made from fabric rather than plastic. All bags have environmental impacts during their life cycle. The charge for single use plastic bags aims to encourage the re-use of all bags and thereby reduce waste and littering. Our 25 Year Environment Plan sets out measures to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042.

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 08 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Bottles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fewer plastic bottles (a) are incinerated, (b) go to landfill and (c) littered on land or at sea.
Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 22 January (HL4503), when they expect to receive the results of the independent assessment by Keep Britain Tidy of the cleanliness of trunk roads maintained by Highways England and of litter collection by local councils.
A
Answered on: 05 February 2018

Surveying is about to be undertaken, and we expect the outcome of the assessment to be available later this year.

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Bottles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals for introducing a deposit return scheme for all PET plastic drinks bottles.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 02 February 2018

As part of the Litter Strategy for England, the Government has established the independent Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group.

From 2 October to 20 November 2017 this working group held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on the go’. This included seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes.

The working group is currently analysing responses to this call for evidence, and is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers shortly.

Defra continues to work closely with the devolved administrations in delivering our shared ambitions to improve recycling outcomes in the UK.

The Government is developing a new Resources and Waste Strategy that will be published this year. This will set out the detail of how we will meet the ambitions for resources and waste that are set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, Industrial Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Grouped Questions: 125009 | 125012
Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bottles: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a deposit return scheme for beverage containers other than plastic bottles as part of his Department's waste strategy.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 02 February 2018

As part of the Litter Strategy for England, the Government has established the independent Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group.

From 2 October to 20 November 2017 this working group held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on the go’. This included seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes.

The working group is currently analysing responses to this call for evidence, and is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers shortly.

Defra continues to work closely with the devolved administrations in delivering our shared ambitions to improve recycling outcomes in the UK.

The Government is developing a new Resources and Waste Strategy that will be published this year. This will set out the detail of how we will meet the ambitions for resources and waste that are set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, Industrial Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Grouped Questions: 125006 | 125012
Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussion officials of his Department have had with representatives of Zero Waste Scotland on the potential merits of introducing a legislated deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 02 February 2018

As part of the Litter Strategy for England, the Government has established the independent Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group.

From 2 October to 20 November 2017 this working group held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on the go’. This included seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes.

The working group is currently analysing responses to this call for evidence, and is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers shortly.

Defra continues to work closely with the devolved administrations in delivering our shared ambitions to improve recycling outcomes in the UK.

The Government is developing a new Resources and Waste Strategy that will be published this year. This will set out the detail of how we will meet the ambitions for resources and waste that are set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, Industrial Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Grouped Questions: 125006 | 125009
Q
Asked by Mrs Anne Main
(St Albans)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tobacco: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the environmental effect of cigarette waste; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 01 February 2018

Smoking related litter is considered to be litter and the Government has made no particular assessment of its environmental effect.

Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 22 January (HL4503), when they expect the new powers given to local councils in England outside London to issue civil penalties to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown to come into effect.
A
Answered on: 01 February 2018

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Littering from Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations are expected to come into force on 1 April 2018. A copy of the draft Regulations can be found online at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111163818/contents

Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
Asked on: 22 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on banning the use of caged hens in egg production.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 30 January 2018

The conventional ‘battery’ cage for laying hens was banned in 2012. The current enriched ‘colony’ cages provide more space for the hen, a nest area, litter, perches and claw shortening devices. All permitted housing production systems for laying hens have their strengths and weaknesses, or offer some compromise on the different key elements of animal welfare. We have no plans to ban the use of enriched ‘colony’ systems in egg production.

Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 22 January 2018
Department for Transport
Roads: Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the amount of litter Highways England has collected in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 29 January 2018

Highways England is responsible for complying with the mandatory legal requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which includes removing litter on England’s motorways and some trunk roads.

The Department for Transport does not hold information on how much litter is collected. Highways England’s service providers are not required, contractually, to report on the amount of litter cleared from their network.

However, as part of the Government’s Litter Strategy, Highways England has been monitoring 25 national litter hot spots. Over the last 12 months more than 10,000 bags of litter have been picked from these sites.

Highways England continues to review its specifications and contractual arrangements with its suppliers to ensure best value is achieved.

Q
Asked by Jeremy Lefroy
(Stafford)
Asked on: 18 January 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Tourism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has held recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on levels of tourism of litter on (a) public highways and (b) the countryside; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 25 January 2018

Littering is a concern for everyone, residents and visitors alike. VisitBritain have recently carried out research into the factors that encourage people to come to the UK. Litter was one of the factors they asked people to consider, and the report will be released on the VisitBritain website in due course.

Additionally, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have put forward measures in their 25 Year Plan to address littering.

Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 22 January 2018
Department for Transport
Roads: Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the proportion of litter collected by Highways England which was recycled in each year since 2010..
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 25 January 2018

Highways England is responsible for complying with the mandatory legal requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which includes removing litter on England’s motorways and some trunk roads.

Highways England recycles where possible. There is not, however, a requirement to record the amount recycled.

Large debris collected from the network, such as timber, metal, rubber and tyres will be sent for recycling, but the weight or volume is not currently recorded by or for Highways England.

Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Beverage Containers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of responses to his Department's call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of plastic drinks containers, issued on 2 October 2017; and whether he plans to proceed with the introduction of deposit return and reward schemes.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 24 January 2018

The call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling closed on 20 November 2017. This was held by an independent working group. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed, and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on-the-go’.

The working group is currently analysing responses to this call for evidence and is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers early this year. Any decisions on suitable measures to then take forward will rest with Ministers.

Asked on: 09 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Packaging: Recycling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have undertaken an impact assessment of a refundable deposit scheme for glass bottles, plastic bottles and metal cans; if so, what was the outcome; and at what levels refundable deposits would need to be set to make such a scheme cost-effective.
A
Answered on: 23 January 2018

The UK has made progress on our packaging recycling rates, including for drinks containers. Current policies and regulations have seen the recycling rate for packaging waste rise to 60% in 2015, from around 46% in 2005.

This Government has not yet undertaken a formal Impact Assessment of a deposit return scheme. However, Defra analysed the costs and benefits of implementing a deposit return system for single use drink containers as part of the 2011 Review of Waste Policy in England, and to seek views in the 2012 consultation on higher packaging recycling targets.

From 2 October to 20 November 2017 an independent working group set up under the Litter Strategy for England held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed, and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on-the-go’. This included seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes.

The working group is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers in the next couple of months. Any decisions on appropriate measures to take forward will then be made, supported by the development of an impact assessment as necessary.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Urban Areas: Pest Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of local authorities' powers to deter pigeons and pests in town centres.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 January 2018

The Government has not made any assessment of the effectiveness of local authorities' powers to deter pigeons and pests in town centres. However, there is a range of legislation in place to support local authorities in controlling pests and problem wild birds in urban areas.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allows for the control of wild birds, under licence from Natural England, in the interest of public health and safety or to prevent disease. Local authorities, businesses and individuals are also able to take action to manage urban bird populations e.g. using bins with secured lids, ensuring domestic animals are not fed outside and that streets are clear of litter.

Dealing with problems caused by wild birds and pests is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the property where the problem occurs. Where this is the local authority, it has the same powers to control pests as any other owner or occupier.

There is also a range of legislation in place to support local authorities in managing rodent infestation and statutory nuisances, such as litter and refuse, where these are attracting pests. The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 obliges local authorities to ensure that their districts are kept, as far as is practicable, free of rats and mice.

Asked on: 08 January 2018
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Antisocial Behaviour
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the steps taken by public transport operators to meet their legal duty to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on vehicles and at stations and stops, and, in particular, of the display of notices against anti-social behaviour such as litter, putting feet on seats, and the consumption of food and drink.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 22 January 2018

The Government is committed to reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system. A wide variety of people and organisations are involved in helping to reduce anti-social behaviour and to deal with it when it occurs. These may be transport operators, local authorities, local police, British Transport Police, Passenger Transport Executives, Transport for London, town centre managers, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and schools.

The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in and undertaking wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

Asked on: 08 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the results of the Roadside Litter working group.
A
Answered on: 22 January 2018

As set out in the Litter Strategy for England, the Government is determined to take action to tackle roadside litter, and has established of a working group to explore and understand the practical barriers to keeping our roadsides clear of litter, and to help identify and promote best-practice in roadside litter prevention.

The initial barriers identified by the group related primarily to issues which were already the subject of separate commitments under the Litter Strategy. In order for the group to make meaningful recommendations beyond the content of the Strategy, we have therefore prioritised delivery of these commitments. For example, we have recently laid new regulations which, subject to Parliamentary approval, will give councils in England (outside London) new powers to issue civil penalties to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown. We have also appointed Keep Britain Tidy to carry out the proposed independent assessment of the cleanliness of those trunk roads which are maintained by Highways England and litter collected by local councils.

At the same time, a separate group convened by Keep Britain Tidy, and including Highways England and other members of the roadside litter working group, has continued to meet to consider these issues.

Whilst these recommended actions are being taken there is currently no publishable material from the roadside litter working group. We will consider next steps for this group following completion of the survey of cleanliness and confirmation of the new enforcement powers for councils.

Asked on: 08 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter Innovation Fund
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish an update on the work of the Litter Innovation Fund.
A
Answered on: 22 January 2018

The £450,000 Litter Innovation Fund was launched in August 2017 by Defra and DCLG, to provide grants of up to £10,000 to support councils and communities in the development and evaluation of innovative approaches to tackling litter. £45,000 of the funding is ear-marked for projects specifically aimed at tackling litter in the marine environment.

Applications for the first tranche of funding closed in December. The assessment panel had queries on some projects which are currently being followed up with applicants and successful projects will be informed next month. We will publish a list of successful applicants and grant amounts on the WRAP website once they have been awarded.

A second round of applications is expected to open shortly thereafter.

Asked on: 08 January 2018
Home Office
Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any assessment of the use and effectiveness of Community Protection Notices in reducing litter around restaurants and shops.
Answered on: 15 January 2018

The Community Protection Notice is one of the powers available to the police and local authorities through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to help them to prevent and respond to different forms of anti-social behaviour. We do not require these agencies to report to the Government on their use of the powers and we have made no assessment of their effectiveness in reducing litter around restaurants and shops.

Asked on: 13 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Recycling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce a plastic bottle deposit return scheme; and if so, whether any such scheme will be self-financing.
A
Answered on: 28 December 2017

From 2 October to 20 November an independent working group set up under the Litter Strategy for England held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. The focus was rigid and flexible plastic, glass or metal drinks containers that are sold sealed, and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on-the-go’. This included seeking evidence on how reward and return schemes could work in England.

The Working Group is due to provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers early in 2018. Any decisions on suitable measures to then take forward will rest with Ministers.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 54
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100