Countryside

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the countryside. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
27.10.2016Grouse shooting
Grouse shooting takes place on moorlands managed for the birds. The Government believes that grouse shooting makes a significant economic, social and environmental contribution. However, others are concerned that grouse moor management is leading to environmental damage and the illegal killing of birds of prey. Two public petitions have been launched on this matter, on both sides of the argument. The Petitions Committee took evidence from witnesses on 18 October 2016, and a debate is scheduled for 31 October 2016.
24.10.2016Flood risk management and funding
This is a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper providing an overview of national flood defence spending; how flood defence funding works; and who manages flood risk in England.
31.08.2016Badgers: Culls in England
The UK Government is committed to eradicating bovine TB and takes the view that badger culling in areas with high incidence of TB in cattle in England is an effective part of this strategy. Controlled shooting of badgers was trialed in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, a badger cull continued in these two areas and was extended to a third area in Dorset. The Government has announced that badger control will take place over a wider number of areas in England in 2016. However, badger culling as a means of controlling TB in cattle remains a contentious policy.
09.05.2016Fly-tipping - the illegal dumping of waste
This Commons Library briefing paper gives a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly-tipping and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it. In 2013/14 there was a significant increase in reported cases of fly-tipping across England and incidents increased again in 2014/15.
19.04.2016UK Dairy Industry: Current Issues and Challenges
UK dairy farmers continue to highlight their financial difficulties with government as low milk prices remain. Policy action has been taken at EU and UK level to assist and the dairy industry is also seeking to improve its ability to weather future volatility in global markets.
10.03.2016British Summer Time
For a number of years there have been calls to change clock times in the UK, so that more daylight would be experienced in the evenings rather than mornings throughout the year. The issue continues to be regularly raised in Parliament. This Briefing Paper provides an overview of the pros and cons of British Summer Time and proposals for further changes to clock times. It also summarises recent legislative attempts to change clock times in the UK.
04.12.2015Bees and Neonicotinoids
The use of three neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) have been subject to a precautionary ban in the EU since December 2013 and a review of the scientific evidence underpinning their approvals. This is based on concerns that they are causing sub-lethal, harmful impacts on bees. In July 2015, the UK Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of restricted neonicotinoids on oil seed rape seeds after an application from the National Farmers' Union. This applies for a time-limited period in four English counties and does not affect the overall ban. A similar application for an emergency authorisation for 2016 has been rejected.
17.07.2015Marine Conservation Zones in England
Marine Conservation Zones are being introduced to protect nationally important marine environments. 127 sites were put forward by regional stakeholder groups, and the Government designated 27 sites in 2013. The Government consulted on a second tranche of MCZs early in 2015. It is expected that the Government will announce a third tranche of candidate MCZ sites in 2016.
13.07.2015Amending The Hunting Act 2004
Hunting with dogs was banned in England in 2004 under The Hunting Act. In July 2015 the Government announced that it intended to amend the legislation to amend the legislation.
13.05.2015Bovine Tuberculosis Statistics: Great Britain
In 2014 there were 4,700 new herd incidents of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in Great Britain, and 4.2% of tests on TB-free herds led to TB-free status being withdrawn. This note presents statistics measuring the incidence of bovine TB in Great Britain.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
12.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016 Day 4: Economic Affairs, Energy, Environment, Local Government and Transport
The House of Lords is due to debate the Queen's Speech over four days between 19 and 25 May 2016. This briefing is one of four prepared by the House of Lords Library to cover the themes of each day of debate.
22.04.2016Rural Economy: Key Statistics and Recent Developments
This Lords Library briefing provides key statistics on the rural economy and a summary recent developments.
24.12.2012Growth and Infrastructure Bill (HL Bill 72 of 2012-13)
The purpose of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill is to promote investment in infrastructure projects, reduce delays in the planning system and introduce a new employment status of employee shareholder. This Library Note provides background information for the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords on 8 January 2013.
05.10.2010Debate on 7 October 2010: the Prince's Countryside Fund and support for rural communities. LLN 2010/021
Debate on 7 October 2010: the Prince's Countryside Fund and support for rural communities. House of Lords Library Note 2010/021

POSTnotes

DateDescription
29.09.2016Rewilding and Ecosystem Services
This POSTnote explores the consequences of increasing the role of natural processes within landscapes. Evidence from the UK and abroad suggests that rewilding can benefit both wildlife and local people, but animal reintroductions could adversely affect some land-users.
24.08.2015Securing UK Soil Health
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around 1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.
30.10.2014GM Crops and Regulation
This note summarises the evidence on environmental and health impacts of GM crops, describes recent technological developments and examines their likely consequences for proposed reforms of GM regulation
12.08.2014Environmental Citizen Science
Environmental citizen science traditionally involves members of the public submitting sightings of wildlife to NGOs or records centres, but emerging technologies have recently broadened its use to all kinds of environmental data. This POSTnote summarises different types of citizen science projects, policy-relevant applications and the benefits and challenges of volunteer collected data.
18.06.2014Ancient Woodland
Ancient woodlands are irreplaceable features of our landscapes that can be high in biodiversity or cultural value. This POSTnote summarises the challenges of conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of these sites to provide social and economic benefits, while still meeting the development needs of society.
05.09.2012Balancing Nature and Agriculture
This POSTnote explores two approaches to managing land for balancing nature conservation with sustainable food production. Land sharing integrates the objectives of agriculture and benefits to wildlife on the same land. Land sparing on the other hand separates intensive farming areas from protected natural habitats at larger scales.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
21.07.2010The National Forest.
Government response. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
14.01.2009The potential of England's rural economy.
Government response. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
20.12.2011DELIVERY CHARGES FOR CONSUMERS IN RURAL AREAS
That this House welcomes the campaign by Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland to tackle unfair delivery practices for consumers in remote and rural areas; ...
10.10.2011RURAL BROADBAND
That this House believes that mobile broadband has an important role to play in delivering internet access to rural communities; welcomes the action taken by the Rural Broadband Working ...
14.09.2011BIG LOTTERY FUND VILLAGE SOS INITIATIVE
That this House welcomes the Big Lottery Fund's Village SOS initiative, launched in conjunction with a BBC1 series broadcast from 10 August to 14 September 2011; recognises that community ...
12.07.2011JOHN CLARE TRUST AND OUT OF SCHOOL LEARNING
That this House notes that 13 July is John Clare's birthday; congratulates the John Clare Trust on the launch of Every Child's Right to the English Countryside campaign; further notes ...
12.07.2011STOP THE DROP CAMPAIGN
That this House supports the Stop the Drop campaign, run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and its President Bill Bryson, to clean up litter and fly-tipping in the countryside; ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses