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 Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much solar energy has been deployed subsidy-free by (a) capacity and (b) project numbers since the closure of the Renewables Obligation in March 2017.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We are aware of one solar farm, Clayhill Solar Farm located in Milton Keynes, which has been deployed subsidy free with an installed capacity of 10MW. We are unaware of any others that are currently operational at this time.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will set out the evidence base and analysis underpinning his Department's position that solar energy no longer requires public support and can be deployed without subsidy.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Solar energy continues to receive public support through the Renewables Obligation and the Feed-in-Tariffs.

However, government support has helped to reduce the cost of solar cells by 80% since 20081, and there is at least one project that has deployed without subsidy (Clayhill Solar Farm, Milton Keynes2).

  1. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2016) Summit Keynote Presentation http://www.bbhub.io/bnef/sites/4/2016/04/BNEF-Summit-Keynote-2016.pdf
  2. The Clean Growth Strategy (Page 98), https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/651916/BEIS_The_Clean_Growth_online_12.10.17.pdf
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 December 2017 to Question 116097 on solar power, what information his Department holds on the project financing of the subsidy-free solar farm referred to in that answer.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The solar farm in question is Clayhill, located in Milton Keynes. Information regarding sources of revenues for this solar farm is not held by the Department.

Furthermore, we can confirm that the Clayhill solar farm is not eligible for, nor is it in receipt of financial support through, any government scheme that provides support for renewable energy.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Biofuels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the 36 per cent increase in the use of bioenergy envisaged in the Clean Growth Strategy the Government plans will come from woody biomass.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The modelling used to derive the changes in annual final energy consumption in 2032, relative to the existing policies scenario did not differentiate between different types of biomass fuels. The figure in Table 11 of the Clean Growth Strategy can be taken to represent a mixture of biogenic fuels, including woody biomass, waste and other sources.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 29 November 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Local Enterprise Partnerships' local energy strategies funded by his Department have evaluated the potential for solar power in their areas.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 04 December 2017

BEIS has offered funding to help all 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England develop energy strategies. A first phase of funding was offered to thirteen LEPs in March 2017, and funding was offered to the remaining 25 LEPs in September 2017.

BEIS is enabling local areas to develop energy strategies, linked with the forthcoming Local Industrial Strategies, to reflect the needs, opportunities and barriers within the local area. Some LEP areas have chosen to work together on a joint strategy. Strategies are expected to consider the full range of energy opportunities and challenges in the local area, including the potential for renewable heat and power generation, demand side management and transport infrastructure.

No energy strategies have been completed yet. The first phase energy strategies are expected by the end of March 2018, and the second phase are expected in summer 2018.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 29 November 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's policy is on supporting solar power.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 04 December 2017

As outlined in the Clean Growth Strategy, the costs of low carbon technologies have fallen significantly since 2010 through a series of innovations and growth in deployment, with solar photovoltaics (PV) modules now almost 80 per cent cheaper than they were, meaning we are now beginning to see solar deploying in the UK without government support.

Solar PV projects continue to benefit from support provided under various government schemes in the UK. Although the Renewables Obligation scheme closed to new solar PV applicants on 1st April 2016, the Feed-in-Tariff remains open to new solar PV projects.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 28 November 2017
HM Treasury
Solar Power: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received from the solar power industry on how rooftop solar power is treated in business rates.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 01 December 2017

The Treasury receives a range of representations on various issues including business rates as part of the policy making process.

Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and the Government does not intervene in their independent assessments. The Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) (England) Regulations 2000 set out when plant and machinery, including solar panels, are rateable.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 28 November 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Solar Power: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the difference in business rate liabilities is for rooftop solar power where the majority of the power produced is (a) exported to a third party and (b) consumed onsite.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 01 December 2017

My Department does not hold information on business rates liabilities. Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we are not involved in their independent assessments.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 28 November 2017
HM Treasury
Renewable Energy: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what methodology is used to calculate the business rate liabilities of (a) solar power and (b) Good Quality gas CHP; and what the rationale is for that methodology.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 01 December 2017

Business rates liabilities are based on the rateable value and the non-domestic rating multiplier set by the Government.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) determines the rateable value of the property using three broad methods: a rentals basis; receipts and expenditure (R&E); and a contractor’s basis, that is to say, a building's replacement costs. Rating case law requires that a hierarchy of use is adopted, in the order shown above; i.e. only when a rentals basis is not possible should the valuer adopt R&E, with the contractor’s basis being the method of last resort.

Solar panels are valued using either the R&E method or the contractor’s basis, depending on the circumstances.

Good quality CHP is partially-exempt from rating. The rateable parts are valued using either the R&E method or the contractor’s basis, depending on the circumstances.

In addition, if the solar panels or good quality CHP is a qualifying microgeneration (below 50kW) installation there is a temporary exemption from rating which means new schemes aren't assessed until the next revaluation takes place.‎

Battery storage technologies are valued using the contractor's basis.

Grouped Questions: 116096
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 28 November 2017
HM Treasury
Energy: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how battery storage technologies installed in commercial premises are assessed for business rates.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 01 December 2017

Business rates liabilities are based on the rateable value and the non-domestic rating multiplier set by the Government.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) determines the rateable value of the property using three broad methods: a rentals basis; receipts and expenditure (R&E); and a contractor’s basis, that is to say, a building's replacement costs. Rating case law requires that a hierarchy of use is adopted, in the order shown above; i.e. only when a rentals basis is not possible should the valuer adopt R&E, with the contractor’s basis being the method of last resort.

Solar panels are valued using either the R&E method or the contractor’s basis, depending on the circumstances.

Good quality CHP is partially-exempt from rating. The rateable parts are valued using either the R&E method or the contractor’s basis, depending on the circumstances.

In addition, if the solar panels or good quality CHP is a qualifying microgeneration (below 50kW) installation there is a temporary exemption from rating which means new schemes aren't assessed until the next revaluation takes place.‎

Battery storage technologies are valued using the contractor's basis.

Grouped Questions: 116094
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 28 November 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the industrial benefits of solar power.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 01 December 2017

Solar power is a UK success story, with rapid deployment over the last 7 years. Latest figures indicate that we now have over 12.5GW of solar capacity installed in the UK, enough to power over 2.7 million homes and exceeding our historic projections.

Costs for solar installations have fallen rapidly during this period, allowing both domestic and industrial consumers to benefit from increasingly cheap and clean electricity. We expect subsidy-free solar to be an increasingly attractive option, with the first subsidy-free UK solar farm recently deploying. Some of the UK’s largest solar developers have said that they will be installing and connecting subsidy-free sites over the next 12 months.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 29 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plants: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions with UK retailers on the sale of plants grown with neonicotinoid pesticides; and if he will issue guidance to retailers not to sell plants grown with those pesticides.
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 13 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Neonicotinoids
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timetable is for the implementation of the full ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides announced on 9 November 2017.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 November 2017

The Government has stated that it supports further restrictions on neonicotinoids based on recent advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides

The European Commission has made a proposal which is under EU consideration. Any changes are likely to take effect in 2018 and to affect crops harvested from 2019.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 13 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ascension Island: Biodiversity
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect the biodiversity of those waters to the north of Ascension Island which are open to fishing.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 16 November 2017

Through the Blue Belt Programme, the UK Government is working with the Ascension Island Government to ensure the effective implementation of its sustainable fisheries management regime around Ascension. This includes using near real-time analysis of satellite data to build intelligence on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and to allow targeted enforcement during fishery patrols. Data collected will be used in conjunction with research currently underway as part of a scientific approach to determine the final size and location of any Marine Protected Area around Ascension. We are also working through the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas to improve regional management and ensure sustainable harvest levels of tuna, billfish and pelagic shark, species.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 13 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ascension Island: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many licences have been issued to whom for commercial fishing in the waters around Ascension Island in the last six months; and how much accrues to the public purse from each such licence.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 16 November 2017

The Ascension Island Government are responsible for issuing commercial fishing licences around Ascension’s waters. Within the last six months, no licences have been issued for fishing within the Ascension Exclusive Economic Zone.​

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 13 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Ascension Island: Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the repair of the runway on Ascension Island; and which Minister of his Department has responsibility for that project.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 November 2017

The Secretary of State for Defence is working closely with the US to ensure the Ascension Island runway is repaired. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 01 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Insecticides: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research his Department has funded to investigate alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides; and if he will provide a list of that research.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 07 November 2017

Defra does not fund research into the development of individual insecticides; this would fall to the agrochemical sector. A number of public bodies fund broader research into pest control chemicals, biological controls and cultural methods. This includes funding from Innovate UK through mechanisms including the Agri-Tech Catalyst, which helps develop innovative solutions to challenges in crop production. Any Defra research into alternatives to current chemical pesticides can be found at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 19 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the recognition of animals as sentient beings in EU law is not being transferred into UK law in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 27 October 2017

I refer the Hon gentleman to the response to PQ105469:

“The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert the existing body of direct EU animal welfare laws to become UK laws. Most of these EU laws relate to farmed animals and many were passed after Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) came into effect.

Article 13 of the TFEU created a qualified obligation on the EU and EU Member States “to have full regard to the welfare of animals [as they are sentient beings]” when formulating and implementing certain EU laws.

We are exploring how the ‘animal sentience’ principle of Article 13 can continue to be reflected in the UK when we leave the EU.”

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 23 October 2017
Department for Transport
Taxis: Exhaust Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage taxi drivers to purchase new zero-emissions vehicles.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 26 October 2017

The Plug in Taxi Grant (PITG) was announced in March 2017. This will provide support to taxi drivers purchasing new ultra low emission taxis of up to £7,500. The first eligible vehicles to be able to claim the PITG are expected to come to market shortly. We are keeping PITG support levels under review.

For private hire vehicles the existing Plug in Car Grant of up to £4,500 is already available to support the take up of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) used as taxis.

To provide further support for ULEV taxis the Government is supporting 10 local authorities with £14m of funding to install dedicated chargepoint infrastructure to encourage taxi drivers to purchase new zero emissions vehicles.

Grouped Questions: 109044
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 23 October 2017
HM Treasury
Taxis: Excise Duties
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the DVLA on the reclassification of taxis as light goods vehicles for the purposes of vehicle excise duty.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 26 October 2017

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/minister_hospitality.htm.

Like all taxes, Vehicle Excise Duty is kept under constant review

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