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
(Easington)
Asked on: 16 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of single use plastics.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Our policies and regulations – such as the Packaging Waste Regulations – are designed to increase recycling and reduce the amount of packaging ending up in the natural environment.

The Government will set out a new Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018. It will set out how we will work towards our ambition for zero avoidable waste by 2050.

Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 16 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the level of recycling of single use drinks containers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Our policies and regulations – such as the Packaging Waste Regulations – are designed to increase recycling and reduce the amount of packaging ending up in the natural environment.

As part of the Litter Strategy for England, the Government has established the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group. As its first piece of work, we have asked the Working Group to look at regulatory or voluntary measures to reduce littering and/or improve the recycling of drinks containers.

On 2 October the Working Group launched a call for evidence which remains open until 30 October. The call for evidence includes questions on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes. The Group is due to provide us with advice on potential incentives for drinks containers early in 2018.

The Government will set out a new Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018. It will set out how we will work towards our ambition for zero avoidable waste by 2050.

Q
Asked by Mary Creagh
(Wakefield)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
European Chemicals Agency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the number of staff required to replicate the relevant functions of the European Chemicals Agency after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The resourcing of EU Exit work is one of the key priorities of the Department and will be subject to on-going assessment. The resources we need in the future will be dependent on the policy choices we make for the regulation of chemicals when we leave the EU.

The department is working across Government and with industry to assess the potential effect to businesses of the UK no longer having access to the services provided by the European Chemicals Agency.

This work is on-going and will help inform our negotiating position. Our priority is to maintain an effective regulatory system for the management and control of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment, respond to emerging risks and allow trade with the EU that is as frictionless as possible.

Grouped Questions: 106115
Q
Asked by Mary Creagh
(Wakefield)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
European Chemicals Agency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to replicate the relevant functions of the European Chemicals Agency after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The resourcing of EU Exit work is one of the key priorities of the Department and will be subject to on-going assessment. The resources we need in the future will be dependent on the policy choices we make for the regulation of chemicals when we leave the EU.

The department is working across Government and with industry to assess the potential effect to businesses of the UK no longer having access to the services provided by the European Chemicals Agency.

This work is on-going and will help inform our negotiating position. Our priority is to maintain an effective regulatory system for the management and control of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment, respond to emerging risks and allow trade with the EU that is as frictionless as possible.

Grouped Questions: 106114
Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Greenwich
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Education Skills Funding Agency contacted his Department to discuss the cost and suitability of relocating flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground before December 2015; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Environment Agency has no record of any contact from the Education Skills Funding Agency prior to December 2015. The Environment Agency was contacted by the Education Skills Funding Agency in December 2015 regarding the potential purchase of land in Bowring Sports Ground to build a new school on the site.

The Environment Agency met the Education Skills Funding Agency in March 2016 to discuss their proposals and to provide planning advice. No change to the flood defences was proposed at that time. The proposal to relocate flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground site was first put forward in June 2017 by Robert West Architects and discussions with them are ongoing.

The Environment Agency requires developers to demonstrate that their proposals do not increase flood risk. The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee in the planning process. The Environment Agency will not support any application which does not include an adequate flood risk assessment. The Environment Agency will assess detailed proposals and a flood risk assessment in relation to this application, once provided by Robert West Architects.

The developer will be liable for the costs of any modification to the flood defences.

Grouped Questions: 106498 | 106499 | 107526
Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Greenwich
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had on relocating flood defences to make way for a free school on the Bowring Sports Ground; to who the cost of that work will fall; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Environment Agency has no record of any contact from the Education Skills Funding Agency prior to December 2015. The Environment Agency was contacted by the Education Skills Funding Agency in December 2015 regarding the potential purchase of land in Bowring Sports Ground to build a new school on the site.

The Environment Agency met the Education Skills Funding Agency in March 2016 to discuss their proposals and to provide planning advice. No change to the flood defences was proposed at that time. The proposal to relocate flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground site was first put forward in June 2017 by Robert West Architects and discussions with them are ongoing.

The Environment Agency requires developers to demonstrate that their proposals do not increase flood risk. The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee in the planning process. The Environment Agency will not support any application which does not include an adequate flood risk assessment. The Environment Agency will assess detailed proposals and a flood risk assessment in relation to this application, once provided by Robert West Architects.

The developer will be liable for the costs of any modification to the flood defences.

Grouped Questions: 106497 | 106499 | 107526
Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Greenwich
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment has been made of the risk of flooding to properties adjacent to the Quaggy River as a consequence of relocating the flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground site to make way for a free school; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Environment Agency has no record of any contact from the Education Skills Funding Agency prior to December 2015. The Environment Agency was contacted by the Education Skills Funding Agency in December 2015 regarding the potential purchase of land in Bowring Sports Ground to build a new school on the site.

The Environment Agency met the Education Skills Funding Agency in March 2016 to discuss their proposals and to provide planning advice. No change to the flood defences was proposed at that time. The proposal to relocate flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground site was first put forward in June 2017 by Robert West Architects and discussions with them are ongoing.

The Environment Agency requires developers to demonstrate that their proposals do not increase flood risk. The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee in the planning process. The Environment Agency will not support any application which does not include an adequate flood risk assessment. The Environment Agency will assess detailed proposals and a flood risk assessment in relation to this application, once provided by Robert West Architects.

The developer will be liable for the costs of any modification to the flood defences.

Grouped Questions: 106497 | 106498 | 107526
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting: Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on the planting of extra trees in towns and cities; and what provision he plans to make for additional local authority tree offices and other funding to manage those trees.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government is committed to planting one million trees in our towns and cities by 2022, reflecting our recognition of the important benefits they bring to the places where people live, work, and visit.

In addition, we are giving millions of schoolchildren across England, mostly in urban areas, the chance to plant trees in their schools and communities as part of a Government-backed scheme, in partnership with the Woodland Trust and the Community Forest Trust.

Q
Asked by Vernon Coaker
(Gedling)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the use of plastic in (a) retail packaging and (b) food outlets.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for North Swindon (Justin Tomlinson), on 13 September 2017, PQ UIN 8711.

Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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: 12 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Greenwich
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether funding has been approved for the relocation of flood barriers on the Bowring Sports Ground to make way for a free school; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Environment Agency has no record of any contact from the Education Skills Funding Agency prior to December 2015. The Environment Agency was contacted by the Education Skills Funding Agency in December 2015 regarding the potential purchase of land in Bowring Sports Ground to build a new school on the site.

The Environment Agency met the Education Skills Funding Agency in March 2016 to discuss their proposals and to provide planning advice. No change to the flood defences was proposed at that time. The proposal to relocate flood defences on the Bowring Sports Ground site was first put forward in June 2017 by Robert West Architects and discussions with them are ongoing.

The Environment Agency requires developers to demonstrate that their proposals do not increase flood risk. The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee in the planning process. The Environment Agency will not support any application which does not include an adequate flood risk assessment. The Environment Agency will assess detailed proposals and a flood risk assessment in relation to this application, once provided by Robert West Architects.

The developer will be liable for the costs of any modification to the flood defences.

Grouped Questions: 106497 | 106498 | 106499
Q
(Gower)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Packaging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the use of non-recyclable plastics and other packaging in the UK.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

Our policies and regulations - such as the Packaging Waste Regulations - are designed to increase recycling and reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in the natural environment.

In September 2016, the Waste and Resources Action Programme and an industry advisory group published a framework for greater consistency, encouraging councils to recycle a common set of materials, as well as setting out actions to rationalise packaging, particularly plastics, into items that can be collected for recycling while supporting innovation in packaging design.

Almost all packaging is technically recyclable, although some local authorities and waste management companies choose not to collect some types of packaging for recycling for various reasons, including cost of investing in new machinery which can sort this packaging.

Q
Asked by Hilary Benn
(Leeds Central)
[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: 16 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Timber: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy to maintain the contents of the EU Timber Regulation after it is transposed into UK law.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will include provisions to ensure existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law, including the EU Timber Regulation. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit as they did before.

Q
Asked by Hilary Benn
(Leeds Central)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Marine Conservation Zones
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to (a) monitor and (b) measure the effect of maritime conservation zones on ecological recovery; and if such plans will include reference areas.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee) provide assessments of Marine Protected Areas every 6 years. The next report is due next year. In addition to this, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities and the Marine Management Organisation are putting in place Monitoring Control Plans that measure the effectiveness of management measures in furthering the conservation objectives of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

There are no “reference areas” designated.

Q
(Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Asked on: 11 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Birds: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 11 of the RSPB's Reserves 2012 report, what information his Department holds on the population of priority bird species on RSPB reserves since 2012.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Defra does not hold information on the population of priority bird species on RSPB reserves.

Q
Asked by Vernon Coaker
(Gedling)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Seas and Oceans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government has made on international steps to tackle plastic pollution in the oceans; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 October 2017

At the recent Our Ocean conference the UK made several voluntary commitments to help tackle marine plastic pollution. These included signing up to the UN’s Clean Seas campaign, the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. These programmes aim to transform habits, practices, standards and policies around the globe to reduce marine plastic pollution and the harm it causes.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to local authorities to support steps to establish air quality plans.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Government is requiring local authorities where persistent exeedances of nitrogen dioxide concentrations have been identified to produce local air quality plans to reduce the pollution in the fastest possible time. We are helping them by providing £255 million to develop and implement their plans. In addition we will be establishing a Clean Air Fund, which will allow local authorities to bid for additional money to support the implementation of measures to improve air quality. This funding is over and above the £2.7 billion we are already investing to support air quality improvements.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Schools
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department plans to provide to schools in areas of high air pollution hotspots to help them protect children's health.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Through the Air Quality Grant we help local authorities tackle air quality in their areas in order to reduce the impact on peoples’ health and create cleaner and healthier environments. This fund has awarded more than £52 million to a variety of projects since it started in 1997, including schools engagement work by local authorities.

During air pollution episodes, Defra issues advice via the UK Air website which includes links to health advice issued by Public Health England (PHE).

My officials are currently working with PHE and the Association of Directors of Public Health to develop a series of outreach events aimed at Directors of Public Health and designed to help them deliver and communicate local action.

Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential adequacy of the legislative framework regulating the chemicals industry when the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Withdrawal Bill will convert current EU law into domestic law wherever practical, giving consumers and businesses as much certainty as possible. This includes laws relating to chemicals. The UK is strongly committed to the effective and safe management of chemicals. That will not change when we leave the EU.

Q
Asked by Hilary Benn
(Leeds Central)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Marine Conservation Zones
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has set a target date for the designation of an ecologically coherent network of maritime conservation zones.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We aim to consult on the third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones in English waters in the first half of 2018, with designations within 12 months of that date. The objective is to complete our contribution to the international ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas in the North East Atlantic, by including a representative range of the species and habitats found in our seas.

Marine protected areas in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are a devolved matter.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Motor Vehicles: Waste Disposal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce a vehicle scrappage scheme.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 17 October 2017

In July this year the Government launched the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. The Government has required local councils to produce local air quality plans which reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the fastest possible time.

The Government is considering how to support people impacted by local plans and will consult in the autumn on measures to support affected motorists, residents and businesses. This could, for example, include retrofitting vehicles, support for car clubs, improved public transport offers or targeted vehicle scrappage.

A number of vehicle manufacturers have recently launched their own national scrappage and trade in schemes that offer substantial discounts off the purchase of a new vehicle.

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