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 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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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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Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 29 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Spirits and Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of changes to the requirements for labelling (1) wine, (2) sparkling wine, and (3) spirits, imported into the UK that will come into force at the end of the transition period.
Answered on: 12 August 2020

No specific assessment for wine or spirit labelling has been undertaken. However, Parliament has already passed the EU Withdrawal Act. Consistent with the Act, the changes that the secondary legislation stemming from it will make to labelling rules are necessary to correct deficiencies in retained EU law, including in relation to the information provided to consumers about the products they buy.

Currently, EU wine imported into the UK needs to show the bottler or, in the case of sparkling wine, the name of the producer or vendor. From 1 January 2021 (subject to any period that is allowed for adoption of the new requirements), wine imported into Great Britain will in addition need to show the importer or, in the case of bulk shipments, the bottler.

Grouped Questions: HL7539
Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 29 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what requirements for bottles of wine detailing UK (1) bottlers, (2) vendors, (3) producers, or (4) import addresses, on EU wine products destined for the UK will apply after the end of the transition period.
Answered on: 12 August 2020

No specific assessment for wine or spirit labelling has been undertaken. However, Parliament has already passed the EU Withdrawal Act. Consistent with the Act, the changes that the secondary legislation stemming from it will make to labelling rules are necessary to correct deficiencies in retained EU law, including in relation to the information provided to consumers about the products they buy.

Currently, EU wine imported into the UK needs to show the bottler or, in the case of sparkling wine, the name of the producer or vendor. From 1 January 2021 (subject to any period that is allowed for adoption of the new requirements), wine imported into Great Britain will in addition need to show the importer or, in the case of bulk shipments, the bottler.

Grouped Questions: HL7538
Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 29 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to accept EU organic certification on imported wines after the end of the transition period; and what assessment they have made of whether such acceptance is likely to be reciprocated by the EU.
Answered on: 12 August 2020

The UK is negotiating an equivalence arrangement with the EU as part of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. In addition, the six UK organic control bodies have applied to the Commission for recognition as equivalent. We are confident that through one of these routes we will be able to export organic food, drinks, feed and ingredients to the EU.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 29 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue best practice guidance on (1) business travel as part of the wine trade, and (2) the carrying of EU wine samples across borders, after the end of the transition period.
Answered on: 12 August 2020

There are no plans to issue specific guidance for business travel as part of the wine trade. As I mentioned in my response to the Noble Lord’s Question, HL7378, the exemptions for VI-1 certification include consignments of less than 100 litres and wine intended for trade shows.

Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Yorkshire and the Humber
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 20 July (HL6513), whether (1) the funding allocated for shovel-ready schemes will include the planned work at Earby and the phase 3 scheme at Wentcliffe Beck, and (2) the planned stakeholder roundtable on flood defence schemes will include representatives from Earby.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

The work at Earby (phase 2) will be going ahead subject to full business case approval which the Environment Agency hopes to submit by the end of the year. Additional funding allocated for shovel ready schemes was not required for Earby (phase 2) as it does not have any funding gaps based upon current costs estimates, identified partner contributions and the Government’s updated partnership funding rules.

Wentcliffe Beck (phase 3) was not allocated funding as it will not be ready to start construction by the required deadline. However the Environment Agency continues to progress the development of the scheme.

We are continuing to work on preparations for a Yorkshire roundtable to discuss the response to the November 2019 flooding. The invitation list will depend on the size of event we are able to arrange. Officials were working to identify a date for this before the Covid-19 restrictions came into effect. In the event that we are not able to hold an in-person meeting, we will make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government to list the laboratories accredited to provide analysis for consignments of EU wine over 100 litres brought into the UK from 1 January 2021.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains the existing requirements for consignments of third country wine, consisting of 100 litres and over, to be accompanied by a VI-1 document. This will apply to wine from EU Member States from 1 January 2021. Along with consignments of less than 100 litres, other exemptions include personal imports or wine intended for trade shows.

It is the responsibility of the exporting country to provide the details of its designated competent authority and authorised laboratories.

As VI-1 analysis is required to be carried out by the country of origin prior to wine entering Great Britain, we have not made any estimated cost for this analysis.

Grouped Questions: HL7378 | HL7379
Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to require that all consignments of EU wine over 100 litres brought into the UK from 1 January 2021 are accompanied by both a stamp from a 'competent authority' and an analysis from an accredited laboratory; and, if so, to define what is a 'competent authority' in the context of EU VI-1 forms.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains the existing requirements for consignments of third country wine, consisting of 100 litres and over, to be accompanied by a VI-1 document. This will apply to wine from EU Member States from 1 January 2021. Along with consignments of less than 100 litres, other exemptions include personal imports or wine intended for trade shows.

It is the responsibility of the exporting country to provide the details of its designated competent authority and authorised laboratories.

As VI-1 analysis is required to be carried out by the country of origin prior to wine entering Great Britain, we have not made any estimated cost for this analysis.

Grouped Questions: HL7377 | HL7379
Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have estimated costs for the laboratory tests required to import EU wine into the UK from 1 January 2021.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains the existing requirements for consignments of third country wine, consisting of 100 litres and over, to be accompanied by a VI-1 document. This will apply to wine from EU Member States from 1 January 2021. Along with consignments of less than 100 litres, other exemptions include personal imports or wine intended for trade shows.

It is the responsibility of the exporting country to provide the details of its designated competent authority and authorised laboratories.

As VI-1 analysis is required to be carried out by the country of origin prior to wine entering Great Britain, we have not made any estimated cost for this analysis.

Grouped Questions: HL7377 | HL7378
Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wines: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) labelling requirements, (2) tariffs, (3) reimbursements, and (4) processes, will be required for importing EU wine into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

From 1 January 2021, EU labelling and marketing standards for wine will apply in Northern Ireland under the NI Protocol. Her Majesty’s Government intends to achieve a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU by December 2020 that will clarify the situation for tariffs and reimbursements. The Political Declaration aims for the agreement to be a zero tariff and zero quota FTA and we are working hard to achieve this.

Asked on: 24 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pesticides: Trade Agreements
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there will be no change to current pesticides protections resulting from any trade deals negotiated; and what plans they have to ensure that pesticides that are currently banned from use in the UK will remain so.
Answered on: 07 August 2020

We will maintain our high human health and environmental standards when operating our own independent pesticides regulatory regime, after the Transition Period. We will ensure decisions on the use of pesticides are based on careful scientific assessment and will not authorise pesticides that may carry unacceptable risks. The statutory requirements of the EU regime on standards of protection will be carried across unchanged into domestic law. Decisions on standards are a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any Free Trade Agreement.

This Government stood on a clear manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any future trade deals live up to the values of farmers and consumers across the UK. We will not lower our standards nor put the UK’s biosecurity at risk as we negotiate new trade deals.

Q
Asked by Lord Pendry
Asked on: 24 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Seas and Oceans
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the amount of ocean plastic debris globally; and what steps they are taking to prevent any increase in the volume of plastic waste entering oceans, in particular as a result of discarded face masks used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 07 August 2020

In 2017, the Government published its ‘Future of the Sea: plastic pollution’ report which supported the estimate that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean globally each year. The Government has introduced a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and a charge on single-use carrier bags. From October there will be a ban on the supply of plastic straws, cotton buds, and stirrers, with exemptions, and the Environment Bill includes powers to charge for single-use plastic items.

The Government has not carried out an assessment of the environmental impact of the disposal of single-use face masks. Waste management, including disposal, is regulated through the environmental permitting system in England, which seeks to protect the environment and human health. The latest Government advice on face coverings is available at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Asked on: 20 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
River Wharfe: Swimming
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to be able to respond to the application by river users and residents to turn part of the River Wharfe in Ilkley into a bathing water area; and by what process they are considering that application.
Answered on: 03 August 2020

We received an application from the Ilkley Clean River Group in October 2019 for a stretch of the River Wharfe to be designated as a bathing water area. After reviewing further evidence, we are now preparing to proceed to a public consultation. Given the ongoing situation with Covid-19, we will schedule a date to begin the consultation as soon as it is appropriate to do so. This was confirmed by Minister Pow in a letter to the Ilkley Clean River Group on 13 May, following a meeting with Robbie Moore MP to discuss the application.

We have considered the application in line with our usual process for applications for bathing water designation, the details of which are available on the GOV.UK website.

Asked on: 16 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the environmental impact of the disposal of single-use face masks once the wearing of face coverings in shops is made compulsory on 24 July.
Answered on: 31 July 2020

We have not carried out an assessment on the environmental impact of the disposal of single-use face masks.

Waste management, including disposal, is regulated through the environmental permitting system in England, which seeks to protect the environment and human health.

Face coverings that will be required in shops are not the same as the single-use surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of their PPE. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Instead, the latest Government advice on face coverings provides instructions on how people can make and care for reusable face coverings at home using scarves or other washable textiles, and is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

Reusable cloth face coverings are also available to buy from a wide range of retail outlets, including online.

The Government has published guidance on the disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste

Q
Asked by Lord Teverson
Asked on: 20 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environmental Land Management Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that Tier 2 and Tier 3 Environmental Land Management Schemes are complementary to, and coordinated with, Nature Recovery Networks at a local and regional level.
Answered on: 30 July 2020

The Government is committed to establishing a Nature Recovery Network across the whole of England. This will restore habitat, creating an expanded and increasingly connected network of places that are richer in wildlife, more resilient to climate change, and which provides wider environmental benefits.

In the Environment Bill, we are legislating for Local Nature Recovery Strategies to provide the spatial mapping required to direct investment and action locally to help restore and create habitat and establish the Nature Recovery Network.

It is the Government’s intention to make the nature measures promoted by the new Environmental Land Management Scheme consistent with Local Nature Recovery Strategies. We are working closely with stakeholders to explore how best to do this.

We are exploring how the scheme could support the Nature Recovery Network through tests and trials. Five of the Tests and Trials are examining the Nature Recovery Network, including how a landscape scale plan could support the delivery of major habitat restoration.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fishing Gear: Plastics
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have for ending the use of plastics in fishing lines and nets.
Answered on: 29 July 2020

Through the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR), the UK co-led a study (attached and available at https://www.ospar.org/documents?v=42718) on best practice for the design and recycling of fishing gear in the North-East Atlantic. This study will support countries to develop measures to reduce the environmental impact of fishing gear at end-of-life, which could include alternative gear design and improved recycling.

A wide variety of materials are used to make fishing gear and important design considerations include functionality, durability and cost. Plastic is an essential material in current fishing gear and the Government is not planning to end its use.

In England, the Government has committed to reviewing and consulting on measures such as Extended Producer Responsibility to ensure that fishing gear that is no longer fit for purpose is disposed of correctly and prevented from polluting the ocean.

OSPAR study on best practices (PDF Document, 5.29 MB)
Asked on: 15 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Climate Change
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to work with international partners to protect oceans and seas from the impact (1) of rising temperatures, (2) of melting sea ice, and (3) of the depletion of fish stocks.
Answered on: 29 July 2020

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate provides the definitive assessment of climate change impacts on the ocean and cryosphere (icecaps). It shows that many of the changes that have taken place, such as ocean warming and the melting of sea ice, will continue if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue. Accelerated and ambitious global GHG reductions are critical to reduce the impact of climate change on the ocean, alongside protecting our marine environment to build greater resilience.

As incoming president of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26, the UK is committed to engaging with international partners, encouraging every country to develop ambitious new Nationally Determined Contributions to limit emissions. The UK is also engaging with Parties through the UNFCCC Ocean Dialogue on how to strengthen mitigation and adaptation action for the ocean under the Convention.

The UK is encouraging countries to join the UK-led Global Ocean Alliance, in support of a new Convention on Biological Diversity target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean within marine protected areas and other effective conservation measures by 2030. Scientific evidence indicates effective protection of at least 30% of the global ocean will help to reverse adverse impacts, preserve fish populations, increase resilience to climate change and sustain ocean health. There are currently 25 members of the Global Ocean Alliance from across the globe.

Through our Blue Belt programme, we are on track to protect 4 million square kilometres of ocean around the UK mainland and Overseas Territories within MPAs by 2020.

On the depletion of fish stocks, the UK has always been a strong advocate for setting harvest rates at or below a stock's maximum sustainable yield (MSY), to progress over-exploited stocks towards MSY and restore them to healthy conditions as quickly as possible, both through international agreements and in negotiations over catch limits for stocks of interest to UK fishers.

The Fisheries Bill provides the legal framework for making progress towards MSY in its precautionary objective (clause 1) and further details about how the fisheries administrations will achieve sustainable fishing will be outlined in the legally binding Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans.

As we leave the EU, the UK will take its seat in regional fisheries management organisations and engage proactively with international counterparts, driving forward a sustainability agenda and helping to ensure sustainable management of high seas fisheries as an independent coastal state. The UK also plays a leading role in the global fight to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The UK is also engaging internationally on science. For example, we are collaborating on research on the changes in the arctic ocean through a £16 million National Environmental Research Council funded programme and we will be participating in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-30), which through international collaboration will target a number of societal and research outcomes, including how climate change affects the ocean and coastal communities.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nature Conservation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of re-wilding in England on established fauna and flora.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

There are an increasing number of examples of re-wilding in England, but limited scientific assessments of their effects.

In 2017, Natural England published a review of large-scale conservation which looked at the effects of a number of re-wilding projects. The review found some indications of positive change in the quality of woodlands, but concluded that definitive assessment was hampered by a lack of data.

It is clear, nonetheless, that re-wilding approaches can deliver benefits. For example, at Knepp Castle in West Sussex, the creation of extensive grassland and scrub habitats, has boosted numbers of declining bird species like the nightingale or the turtle dove.

Re-wilding is unlikely to be appropriate in all circumstances, but natural processes, such as natural colonisation of land with trees for example, could play an important part in connecting and expanding habitats and woodlands, alongside planting.

The Government is therefore keen to understand the potential of re-wilding approaches to provide biodiversity and carbon benefits as we develop our tree strategy and our plans for the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

Asked on: 16 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: G20
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that fossil fuel subsidies are discussed at the G20 ministerial and leaders’ summits, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.
Answered on: 27 July 2020

HMG supports the G20's commitment on phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and encourages countries with such subsidies to end them. We are in touch with our G20 partners and the Presidency about the topics to be discussed at forthcoming G20 meetings.

Asked on: 27 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
London Power Tunnels
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Align, Hydrogeological and Surface Water Risk Assessment for Load Test Piling Location 2, approved in January 2019, and, in particular, its conclusion that there are no historic sources of contamination present at the London Power Tunnels phase 2 construction site, despite it being 500 metres away from a Contaminated Land Special Site.
Answered on: 10 August 2020

The Environment Agency (EA) has reviewed the Align Report on Hydrogeological and Surface Water Risk Assessment for Load Test Piling Location 2. This report examines activities associated with HS2 and does not reference the ‘London Power Tunnels phase 2 construction site’, which is a different project south of the river Thames unrelated to HS2.

With respect to the report, the EA is in agreement that there are no historical sources of contamination present at the Load Test Piling Location 2 site. The report does highlight that there are historical sources of contamination present in the wider area of this site, and low-level hydrocarbon contamination was present in groundwater within both the chalk and overlying superficial deposits across the Colne Valley.

Asked on: 07 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Ethnic Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which poor air quality may disproportionately affect BAME communities.
Answered on: 22 July 2020

In 2006 the Government published a report on air quality and social deprivation in the UK. This highlighted that there are inequalities in the distribution of pollutant concentrations.

More recently, as part of the UK Plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the Government reviewed evidence investigating the inequalities in the distributional impact of poor air quality. The published technical report highlights that air quality inequalities exist mostly in urban areas. Furthermore, the report references research conducted by Fecht et al (2015) that demonstrates that higher concentrations of NO2 and coarse particulate matter (PM10) have been observed in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods.

The Government is taking a proactive approach to tackling air pollution concentrations through our NO2 plan and Clean Air Strategy and any actions that focus on reducing the highest concentrations of harmful pollutants will disproportionately benefit ethnically diverse communities if they are located in these areas.

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