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.

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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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Asked on: 08 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 25 March (HL Deb, col 1612), when they will respond to the concerns raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on their approach to delegated powers in the Agriculture Bill, as set out in that Committee's Thirty Fourth Report, published on 17 October 2018 (HL Paper 194).
A
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Defra acknowledges the concerns raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The department is considering all elements of the Committee’s Report and how these might be addressed. The Agriculture Bill is to be scheduled for Commons Report Stage in due course.

It is the Government’s intention to respond to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, before Commons Report stage, as indicated in our letter to the Committee dated 17 January.

Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Transport
Air Space
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to amend UK airspace regulations after Brexit; and whether any such plans would be affected by a no-deal Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The Government is aiming to ensure that UK airspace remains interoperable with neighbouring EU airspace. In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the provisions of the EU airspace and air traffic management regulations would be replicated in national law under the EU Withdrawal Act. The UK would also continue to be a member of the intergovernmental organisation, Eurocontrol, providing a mechanism to coordinate on airspace issues with other European States.

Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Climate Change and Environment Protection: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the teaching of (a) environmental protection and (b) climate change in schools.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to improve the environment within a generation. As part of the plan the Department for Education (DfE) has worked with Defra and Natural England on the Children and Nature Programme, a £10 million programme which aims to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to the natural environment. The programme has been designed to make it possible for schools to undertake a range of activities in natural spaces, such as learning about nature and how to care for the natural environment. This programme complements the scope that already exists to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum, in particular in science and geography lessons.

Defra and the DfE regularly work together on ways to make children aware of issues that impact on the environment and how they can help tackle them. There is scope to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum. For example, in primary school science, pupils are taught that environments can change and this can pose a danger to living things. In geography at key stage 3, pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In GCSE, science pupils will consider the evidence and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In 2017, we introduced new environmental science A level for those students who want to study this area of science in more detail.

Q
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to meet the £652 million funding gap, identified by analysis from the Local Government Association published on 9 February, required to cover the total costs of the National Concessionary Travel Scheme for bus passengers.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Funding for the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) is provided to local authorities through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG’s) revenue support grant. This funding is not ringfenced, which enables local authorities to make spending decisions that more closely match local needs and circumstances. It is misleading to talk about the grant in isolation when local authorities have access to council tax, business rates and other local income to deliver their local services.

Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve global ocean conservation.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The UK is working both domestically and internationally to improve global ocean conservation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG14. Internationally, we are leading calls to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. We are on track to protect 4 million square kilometres of ocean across our Overseas Territories by 2020, and are backing an Ascension Island bid to protect 100% of its offshore waters. To support achievement of the “30by30” target, the UK is working hard to secure the agreement of a new Implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in 2020.

Domestically, 36% of English inshore and offshore waters are protected within Marine Protected Areas. In addition, we have consulted on a further 41 Marine Conservation Zones. Sites to be designated will be in place by 7 June.

We are also working to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and are leading global efforts to tackle the problem through our support of the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. In April 2018, we launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), which we co-lead with Vanuatu. The CCOA encourages its 25 member countries to take steps to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, significantly reduce single use plastic carrier bags by 2021 and implement a ban of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products by 2021.

The Government’s forthcoming International Ocean Strategy will set out our plan to work with our international partners to secure a sustainable, prosperous and secure ocean future.

Q
Asked by Ruth Cadbury
(Brentford and Isleworth)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Boats
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what impact assessment has been undertaken to examine the effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals for older passenger boats on trends in the level of Environment Agency lock fees.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The Environment Agency’s (EA) boat registration charge proposals for 2019-2021 were approved by Ministers in October 2018, before the Maritime and Coastguard Agency published its consultation on proposed amendments to the technical requirements applicable to UK domestic passenger vessels.

EA charge proposals from 2021 will be subject to a full public consultation and also a business impact target assessment. The EA has committed to involving stakeholders in developing these proposals, in particular engaging the marine trade, through British Marine – the UK industry body which represents the interests of passenger boat operators.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Fylde
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of houses protected in the Fylde constituency as a result of (a) work done to Dock Road pumping station and (b) the Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The number of houses better protected from flooding as a result of (a) work done to Dock Road pumping station is 652 and (b) the Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme is 2,347.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 7 February 2019 to Question 218283, what funding has been allocated to the flood defence works in that Answer and related works in (a) the Fylde Coast and (b) Lancashire.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Funding has been allocated as follows to the flood defence works referenced in the answer of 7 February 2019 to PQ 218283:

  • £22,000 to the completed embankment improvements to the south of Moss Side, and £15,000 to embankment improvements to the north of Moss Side, which are planned for April 2019.

  • £138,000 for forecast maintenance costs in 2019/20 in areas such as Main Drain and Liggard Brook, including £57,000 for channel maintenance and £81,000 operating costs for pumping stations and tidal outfalls.

  • Over £20 million to the Fairhaven and Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme.

  • £1.2 million to the Starr Hill Sand Dunes project.

The Environment Agency is delivering a joint capital programme with other Risk Management Authorities to better protect over 34,000 homes from flooding in Lancashire between 2015 and 2021 at an estimated cost of £100 million. This programme has already delivered better protection to nearly 28,000 homes and over 1,000 businesses.

In addition to the capital programme, in 2018/19 £3 million was allocated in Lancashire for maintaining flood risk assets such as flood basins and embankments. This level of investment is expected to continue until 2021 to ensure these assets are in the right condition to protect people and homes.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Public Footpaths: Bicycles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide guidance on the rights of cyclists to walk a bicycle along a public footpath.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

There are no current plans to provide guidance of this nature. Management of rights of way, including footpaths, rests with the relevant local authority. The expectation is for local authorities, whenever possible, to look at the needs of all users including cyclists.

Q
Asked by John Grogan
(Keighley)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste Disposal: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to strengthen the powers the environment agency has to determine whether a person or a company is fit and proper to be granted a licence regarding the disposal or incineration of waste.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Last year the Government committed to implementing measures to raise the standard of operator competence at permitted waste sites by strengthening the Environment Agency’s assessment and enforcement powers.

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reducing-crime-at-sites-handling-waste-and-introducing-fixed-penalties-for-waste-duty-of-care/outcome/government-response

We are now delivering on these published commitments. In January we passed legislation requiring all waste facilities to have a written management plan to minimise the risks of pollution to the environment.

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1227/part/3/made

In March we widened the scope of past offences the Environment Agency can consider when assessing competence for applications for waste facility permits:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/relevant-conviction-guidance-for-permit-applications-for-waste-activities-and-installations-only/relevant-convictions-for-waste-environmental-permits

In the coming months we will update Core Guidance to strengthen the Environment Agency’s enforcement capabilities when considering operators’ past performance. Further measures to tackle crime and low levels of performance in the waste industry are set out in our Resources and Waste Strategy.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people affected by the proposals for airspace change at Heathrow.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The precise noise impacts will depend on the final flight path designs which must be approved through the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airspace Change Process.

As part of this regulatory process, Heathrow will need to provide detailed assessments of the number of people who are expected to be affected by its airspace proposals, including the number of newly affected people as well as those who may benefit. These assessments will form part of the information the airport will include in its formal airspace change process consultations.

Q
Asked by Lord Popat
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Coroners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that requests to expedite decision-making by coroners on religious grounds are implemented, following the judgment of the Administrative Court in R (Adath Yisroel Burial Society) v Senior Coroner for Inner North London (2018 EWHC 969 (Admin).
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 17 April 2019

Coroners are independent judicial office holders and, as such, it would not be appropriate for Ministers to interfere in their decisions.

Following the judgment of the Administrative Court in R (Adath Yisroel Burial Society) v Senior Coroner for Inner North London (2018) EWHC 969 (Admin), the Chief Coroner issued guidance to coroners on handling urgent decisions, including those concerning faith issues. The Guidance is a practical guide to assist coroners in situations where:

  • a bereaved family has made a request to the coroner for urgent consideration of the death of a loved one and/or early release of the body; or
  • the coroner or coroner’s officers otherwise become aware of features of a particular death which may justify treating it as especially urgent.


The Guidance provides a summary of the guiding principles and is available at: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/guidance-no-28-report-of-death-to-the-coroner-2010517.pdf

Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the analysis by the World Trade Organisation that global trade growth may decline in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The latest WTO forecasts revised 2019 global trade growth from 3.7% to 2.6%, rising to 3.0% in 2020. Forecasts assume a smooth Brexit with a transition period until 2020. Weak air freight shipment figures, declining global export orders, increased economic policy uncertainty and a fall in the global GDP outlook are cited as reasons for downward revisions to forecasts.

The WTO notes the uncertainty surrounding recent estimates and that ‘the effects of Brexit will depend on the nature of any agreement that might be reached between the UK and the EU, with impacts mostly confined to these economies.

HMG published analysis of UK impacts of various EU exit scenarios, including no-deal, in November 2018.

The Government's priority is to continue to press the case for the orderly Brexit that delivers on the result of the referendum. The Government will continue to prepare for all eventualities with partner countries, including a ‘no deal’ scenario. The UK will have an independent trade policy once we exit from the EU and is preparing for an ambitious programme of trade negotiations and enhanced market access.

Q
Asked by Lord Tebbit
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Ministers: Resignations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ministers, including Government Whips, have resigned since the 2017 General Election.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 17 April 2019

I refer my noble friend to my answer of 4 December 2018 [HL 11735], since when nine ministers have resigned from the Government.

The number of ministers appointed to Her Majesty's Government, and the roles to which they are appointed, will vary from time to time. Since 4 December, nine ministers have joined the Government.

Q
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Yemen
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each application.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 17 April 2019

All arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria).

The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.

Q
Asked on: 04 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the risks and benefits of solar radiation management technology; and what plans they have, if any, to increase funding of research into that technology.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Government is continually monitoring the evidence base relating to Solar Radiation Management technologies (SRM). As set out in our public position statement on geo-engineering, our view is that SRM would produce changes in rainfall patterns and amounts. This would be likely to lead to winners and losers, with some regions suffering detrimental impacts.

The Government is not commissioning further research into SRM, but the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP’s) Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), is investigating the effects which SRM would have on the climate.

Q
Asked on: 04 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to promote improved global cooperation and governance of research and use of greenhouse gas removal and solar radiation management technologies.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides a mechanism for global cooperation to assess research into Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies (GGRs) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM). These technologies are included in the scope of the upcoming 6th Assessment Report, due for publication in 2021.

The UK is a leading member of a number of multi-lateral initiatives focused on accelerating progress, and improving global cooperation, of Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) which is an important enabler of some GGRs. This includes the UK co-leading the Carbon Capture Challenge under Mission Innovation and the CCUS Initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial. The UK also co-hosted, with the International Energy Agency, a Global CCUS Summit in Edinburgh last November bringing together senior energy leaders from governments and industry on how to accelerate global progress on CCUS.

As a leading provider of International Climate Finance, the UK supports developing countries to restore degraded forest landscapes to support local livelihoods and restore carbon stocks as part of their contributions under the Paris Agreement.

We have no plans to increase global cooperation and governance of research on and use of SRM technologies. A resolution on SRM governance was recently put before the UN Environment Assembly by Switzerland, but did not gather enough support from other countries, and the resolution was withdrawn.

Q
Asked on: 04 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the recommendation in the report by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering Greenhouse gas removal, published in September 2018, to incentivise demonstrators and early stage deployment to enable development of greenhouse gas removal methods.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 17 April 2019

We agree with the need for further research, development and demonstration of early-stage greenhouse gas removal methods, as well as the need to look how best to incentivise responsible deployment. The Department is addressing these recommendations by conducting a more detailed study of different policy options for incentivising removals, and through constructive discussions with the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) about the possibility of new research funding for demonstrators in the near future.

BEIS is co-funding an £8.6 million GGR research programme with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) which will continue until 2021. In addition, projects for some GGR approaches are in scope for both our £20 million Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration (CCUD) Programme and £24 million Call for Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Innovation. The details of these successful CCUS and CCUD projects will be announced in due course.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2019 to Question 234706 on Offenders: Electronic Tagging, how many monitoring starts under the existing monitoring scheme there have been in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 17 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

Information on the number of electronic monitoring starts for 2015 to 2018 is contained within the table below. Data for the year ending March 2019 will be provided in the next HMPPS Annual Digest, due to be published in July 2019. Data for 2014 is of poor quality and not available.

Table: New electronic monitoring order notifications by order type, England and Wales, for the years ending March 2015 to March 2018 (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

Numbers

12 months ending March

Type of Order

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOTAL NOTIFICATIONS

71,930

r

69,204

r

63,455

r

58,128

Bail

20,143

r

18,618

r

15,707

r

15,008

Court Sentence

40,798

r

39,665

r

36,811

r

30,570

Post Release

10,194

r

10,067

r

10,390

r

12,005

Immigration

775

r

822

r

503

492

Specials

20

32

44

53

Source: EMS Contractor data

r - Figures have been revised since previous reports were published. The differences are generally small and due to the provisional nature of the data when published previously.

(1) These figures are drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

(2) Includes orders for subjects on bail, sentenced to a court order, released from custody on licence, immigration orders managed by the Home Office, and a small number of Special orders.

(3) One subject may be given multiple orders over the course of the year. In these figures each is counted individually. I.e. one person with four orders counts as four.

(4) Comprises notifications of new electronic monitoring orders received by the EM contractor that started between April 2014 and March 2018. In some cases the monitoring equipment may never have been installed, e.g. if the subject is taken into custody prior to installation. These cases are included in the total.

(5) Figures for the year ending March 2018 are provisional

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2019 to Question 234706 on Offenders: Electronic Tagging, who the decision-makers will be that will apply the necessary reasonableness, proportionality and necessity tests for use of the 1,000 GPS tags available at any one time.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 17 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

GPS tags are available nationally for eligible post-custody cohorts. For Home Detention Curfew cases, the prison governor is the decision maker. We have provided prison governors with guidance about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring. For prisoners serving a Life Sentence, Imprisonment for Public Protection or Extended Determinate Sentence, the decision rests with the Parole Board. We have provided the Parole Board with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring.

GPS tags are also being rolled out for use in courts, as a requirement of a Community Order, a Suspended Sentence Order or Court-imposed bail. In these cases, the decision will rest with the Judiciary. We have provided the independent Judiciary with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring

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