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: 04 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Coal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing coal stocks to meet expected needs for electricity generation before coal is phased out.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 13 June 2019
Holding answer received on 10 June 2019

The latest statistics are publicly available (Energy Trends table 2.1.)

The government is committed to ending unabated coal power by 2025. As a result of our existing policies, including carbon pricing and our support for renewables, we have already made great headway in reducing our reliance on coal, which fell from 39% of electricity in 2012 to 5% in 2018. There are now regular coal free periods, and in May the UK went without running coal power generation for over two weeks – the longest coal-free period in the country since the 1880s.

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: 04 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Coal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what consideration he has made of the implications of the level of stockpiles of coal for planning decisions on new and proposed coal mining operations, including those currently under consideration or review.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government is committed to clean growth and is taking action to reduce our reliance on coal. We have set out our aim to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 and we are also taking action to reduce coal use in industry and heating.

Our world leading plans to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 are expected to further this trend, and I am delighted that 30 countries, 22 states and cities, and 28 businesses have signed up to our Powering Past Coal Alliance.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or the national, local or community benefits outweigh its likely impacts. The Framework is a material consideration in the determination of all applications for coal extraction in England. Given my quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to comment on the merits of current or future planning applications for coal extraction.

Grouped Questions: 259968 | 259969
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Coal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications of the Committee on Climate Change's report on net zero carbon emissions for (a) current and future planning decisions on coal mines for which approval has recently been granted, recommended or sought, and (b) planning guidelines for new coal mining applications and possible revision of the National Planning Policy Framework.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government is committed to clean growth and is taking action to reduce our reliance on coal. We have set out our aim to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 and we are also taking action to reduce coal use in industry and heating.

Our world leading plans to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 are expected to further this trend, and I am delighted that 30 countries, 22 states and cities, and 28 businesses have signed up to our Powering Past Coal Alliance.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or the national, local or community benefits outweigh its likely impacts. The Framework is a material consideration in the determination of all applications for coal extraction in England. Given my quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to comment on the merits of current or future planning applications for coal extraction.

Grouped Questions: 259967 | 259969
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: 04 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Coal: Opencast Mining
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will introduce urgently a presumption against all applications for deep or opencast coal mines in England.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government is committed to clean growth and is taking action to reduce our reliance on coal. We have set out our aim to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 and we are also taking action to reduce coal use in industry and heating.

Our world leading plans to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 are expected to further this trend, and I am delighted that 30 countries, 22 states and cities, and 28 businesses have signed up to our Powering Past Coal Alliance.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or the national, local or community benefits outweigh its likely impacts. The Framework is a material consideration in the determination of all applications for coal extraction in England. Given my quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to comment on the merits of current or future planning applications for coal extraction.

Grouped Questions: 259967 | 259968
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: 05 June 2019
Department for Transport
Regional Airports: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2019 to Question 256996 on regional airports: air pollution, what criteria his Department uses to define material impact in determining how a project affects the Government's ability to meet its carbon reductions target.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government recognises that climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges we face and we are working to ensure the UK takes a leading role in tackling it.

In December 2018 the Government published a green paper consultation for a new aviation strategy, ‘Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation’. It commits the Government to ensure that the aviation sector plays its part by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to achieving the UK’s domestic and international climate change obligations.

The green paper also includes a proposal that “planning applications for capacity growth provide a full assessment of emissions, drawing on all feasible, cost-effective measures to limit their climate impact and demonstrate that their project will not have a material impact on the Government’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets”. However, this proposal is still subject to consultation and is not yet the Government’s policy. The consultation closes on 20 June.

On 2 May the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published advice to government, recommending the UK legislates for a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. We await aviation specific advice from the CCC and will take this into consideration in the development of Aviation 2050, which is due to be published later this year.

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: 22 May 2019
Department for Transport
Aviation: Noise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Health and Safety Executive and (b) Public Health England on the effect of aircraft noise on mental health.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Officials from the Department have regular discussions with Public Health England to discuss a range of matters, including issues relating to the effect of aircraft noise on mental health. Recent discussions include engagement in the development of the Government’s Aviation Strategy and PHE officials sit on the Department’s Airspace and Noise Engagement Group.

Ministers and officials have not had any recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive.

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: 22 May 2019
Department for Transport
Aviation: Noise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he as had with (a) the Health and Safety Executive and (b) Public Health England on the effect of aircraft noise on the health of communities under proposed flight paths.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Officials from my Department have regular discussions with Public Health England (PHE) to discuss a range of matters, including issues relating to the effect of aircraft noise on the health of communities under proposed flight paths. Recent discussions include engagement in the development of the Government’s Aviation Strategy and PHE officials sit on the Department’s Airspace and Noise Engagement Group.

Ministers and officials have not had any recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive.

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: 21 May 2019
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential requirement for public funding to contribute to the construction of Heathrow's third runway.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 04 June 2019

The Government is clear that the Northwest Runway scheme at Heathrow will be financed in its entirety by the private sector. Ahead of the decision to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) the Government and its independent expert advisors concluded that, so far as can be assessed at this early stage of the process, Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is able to privately finance expansion without Government support.

The Airports Commission also concluded that the scheme is financeable without Government support.

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: 21 May 2019
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 on the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 04 June 2019

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its report recommending a new target for the UK of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 on 2 May 2019. We now need to carefully consider this advice and the recommended policy approach for aviation that the CCC will produce later in 2019.

The Airports National Policy Statement sets out several strict environmental red lines that must be delivered for a third runway to gain development consent. These include no expansion if the applicant cannot demonstrate that the scheme would not materially impact the UK’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets.

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: 21 May 2019
Department for Transport
Regional Airports: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to restrict the operation of regional airports to meet UK climate change targets.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 04 June 2019

In its Aviation 2050 consultation, the Government recognises that regional airports are often vital drivers for local economies, providing connectivity, employment, and a hub for local transport schemes. The consultation sets out proposals to ensure the sector grows sustainably, taking measures to mitigate its environmental impacts, including limiting carbon emissions.

The Government is proposing that applications for future growth will be required to provide a full assessment of emissions, drawing on all feasible, cost-effective measures to limit their climate impact and demonstrating that their project will not have a material impact on the Government’s ability to meet its carbon reductions target.

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: 21 May 2019
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of the level of the proposed penalty to be imposed on Heathrow airport in the event that it does not increase the number of passengers using public transport to access the airport by the time a third runway is operational.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 04 June 2019

The Airports National Policy Statement is clear that any application for development consent must include details of how the applicant will achieve a wide range of mitigations, including public transport mode share targets.

Mitigations included in a Development Consent Order or recommended as a result of examination will become requirements that are enforceable under the Planning Act 2008. The detail of these requirements, including any penalties, will flow from the planning process, but could include financial provision for remedial measures or operating restrictions. A breach of any requirement without reasonable excuse would be a criminal offence, and there are wide-ranging powers for the relevant planning authority to investigate and intervene should there be any breach, including by injunctions.

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: 21 May 2019
Department for Transport
Aircraft: Noise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Health and Safety Executive and (b) Public Health England on the effect on health of aircraft noise.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 04 June 2019

Officials from the Department have regular discussions with Public Health England to discuss a range of matters, including issues relating to the effect of aircraft noise on health. Recent discussions include engagement in the development of the Government’s Aviation Strategy and PHE officials sit on the Department’s Airspace and Noise Engagement Group.

Ministers and officials have not had any recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive.

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: 14 May 2019
Department for Transport
River Thames: Boats
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the (a) dates on and (b) reports of all recorded (i) safety breaches and (ii) safety incidents involving (A) the Thames Clipper fleet and (B) other passenger boats on the River Thames since 2010.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 20 May 2019

Operators are required to report certain incidents to the MCA and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). The MCA will liaise with the operator directly and no formal reports are published.

Between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2018, the MAIB received reports of 44 accidents and incidents on the River Thames in the Greater London area that involved vessels in the Thames Clipper fleet and 190 accidents and incidents involving other passenger vessels on the Thames (excluding large sea-going vessels e.g. cruise ships). Investigations are carried out where the MAIB believes there are lessons for the industry to learn and then publishes reports on its investigations online.

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: 07 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
St Helena: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the (a) permitted geographic catch locations and (b) permitted species and catch volumes under licenses sold by the Saint Helena Government to the Argos Fishing Company in (i) 2016, (ii) 2017 and (iii) 2018.
A
Corrected answer by: Sir Alan Duncan
Corrected on: 14 May 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 13 May 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The sale of commercial fishing licenses, and conditions within the licenses such as location and target species, are is the responsibility of the St Helena Government.

A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 May 2019

The sale of commercial fishing licenses, and conditions within the licenses such as location and target species, are is the responsibility of the St Helena Government.

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: 07 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
St Helena: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the price for which the Saint Helena Government sold commercial fishing licences to the Argos Fishing Company in (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 May 2019

The sale of commercial fishing licenses is the responsibility of the St Helena Government.

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: 07 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
St Helena: Fishing Vessels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the income from fishing vessel registration fees paid to the Saint Helena Government by the Argos Fishing Company in the years (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 May 2019

Any commercial agreements between Argos Fishing company and the St Helena Government are a matter for the St Helena Government.

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: 07 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
St Helena: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the level of subsidy paid to the Saint Helena Fisheries Corporation from the UK public purse in the years (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 May 2019

Any financial support to the St Helena Fishery Corporation is determined by the St Helena Government.

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: 07 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
St Helena: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the terms and conditions are under which fishing licenses are sold by the Saint Helena Government; how conditions on those licences are enforced by the Saint Helena Government; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 May 2019

The St Helena Government are responsible for selling and administering commercial fishing licences.

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: 24 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Passenger Ships
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Department for Transport on the effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals on older UK passenger boats on businesses and skilled maritime jobs.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 07 May 2019
Holding answer received on 29 April 2019

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State and BEIS ministers have not had any direct discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals on older UK passenger boats on businesses and skilled maritime jobs. BEIS officials have reached out to the MCA and industry to further understand the issue raised. They also remain closely engaged with DfT on the delivery of the recently published Maritime 2050 strategy and to support growth ambitions across the maritime sector.

Should my hon. friend wish to discuss this issue, I would be happy to arrange a meeting.

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: 25 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Passenger Ships
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals for older UK passenger boats on (a) businesses (b) investment and (c) skilled engineering jobs in boatyards.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 30 April 2019

BEIS officials remain closely engaged with DfT on the delivery of the recently published Maritime 2050 strategy and to support growth ambitions across the maritime sector. BEIS and DfT officials speak regularly about a range of topics.

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