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 Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Clean Air Zones
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the national online platform to enable the public to check vehicle compliance with Clean Air Zone emissions standards is scheduled to be fully functioning and available to the public; and for what reasons delivery of this platform by the Government has been delayed.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Food
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World's report which found that global hunger has increased for the fourth year, what steps the Government is taking to (a) tackle global hunger and (b) achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Two.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report shows that without significantly increased efforts the world will fall far short of achieving the target of eradicating hunger by 2030. The UK is playing its part to ending hunger and undernutrition through its substantial portfolio of humanitarian support and longer-term responses to tackling chronic hunger and supporting food security by transforming agriculture. We are aware that the international community needs to do more. We are discussing opportunities for scaled-up and improved global interventions, including the German-initiated proposal for a SDG2 moment in 2020, and are supporting the Government of Japan in its preparations for the 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Rain Forests: Brazil
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions her Department is holding with the Government of Brazil to help stop deforestation in the Amazon.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The UK Government recognises the importance of protecting rainforests and has a long and proud history of supporting action to combat deforestation. The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published last year, sets out work to protect the world’s forests, support sustainable agriculture and move towards zero-deforestation supply chains.

Brazil is one of our priority countries for both climate change and biodiversity engagement, and the UK Embassy in Brazil leads our engagement with the Brazilian Government on the environment. We have been having positive discussions with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, who are keen to continue our partnership to promote sustainable agricultural practices to combat deforestation rates. The first phase of our Low-carbon Agriculture programme (£24.9 million), completed in May this year, reached over 18,500 beneficiaries in the Amazon and Atlantic forest biomes and delivered a seven-fold increase in livestock productivity, while avoiding the clearance of 175,000 hectares of land and reducing 52% of carbon emissions. An additional £30 million has been committed to expand project activities to a second phase, taking place in two other major biomes in Brazil – Cerrado and Caatinga.

Brazil will continue to be an important partner in negotiations at the forthcoming UN climate summits in Chile this December (the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 25) and again at the significant COP 26 in late 2020, where we hope to raise the level of global ambition on climate change five years on from the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Water Treatment: Chemicals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has in place to assist water companies with supplies of purification chemicals in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
Asked by Ian Lavery
(Wansbeck)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Squirrels: Northumberland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to (a) protect red squirrels in Northumberland and (b) tackle the damaging effect of the invasive grey squirrel species.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
(Bristol East)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government will require companies to repeat tests on animals if previously shared data on chemical substances registered under EU REACH is no longer accessible.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
(Morley and Outwood)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Amazonia: Fires
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to provide assistance to Brazil to help combat forest fires in the Amazon region.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The UK Government is working with Brazil to help ensure it protects the Amazon. We have invested nearly £120 million of our international climate finance in projects to limit deforestation, support local and indigenous people, prevent forest fires and implement the Forest Code in the Amazon, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes.

Following the Amazon fires the UK has also recently engaged with the Brazilian Government and has pledged a further £10 million to fight deforestation.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require each local authority to employ suitably qualified public-realm tree officers to ensure that (a) statistics are collated on the number and condition of trees and (b) existing trees are adequately maintained in each local authority area.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

A public consultation on policies to improve the management of our trees and woodlands by Local Authorities was opened in December 2018. The consultation ended in February 2019. This document set out Government’s view on the importance of trees, especially in an urban environment, and the need for more policies to enhance the status and protection of urban trees.

The Government committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to introduce a duty on Local Authorities to consult the public on felling street trees. This will increase the transparency of decision-making and give the public a say in the management of these important natural assets. It will encourage local authorities to consider concerns raised and have regard to these when making decisions. This duty will be introduced in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

Grouped Questions: 286096
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make an assessment of the effect of urban trees on levels of human physical health and well being; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Social and Economic Research Group of Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission, focuses on understanding the complex relationships between forestry, the environment and society. The importance of peri urban woods and urban woods for people’s wellbeing, both physical, mental and social is well known. The group is currently participating in a number of activities which will help increase our understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits of trees and greenspace.

The Forestry Commission also supports the Urban Forest and Woodland Advisory Committee Network, which advises the Forestry Commission on forestry. The network has produced various publications on the benefits of a resilient urban forest, including for human health and quality of life.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding and other Government support for the tree nursery industry to ensure that it is able to plan and invest in the infrastructure required to increase the numbers of trees that the Government estimates will be required to be planted to help meet its climate change and biodiversity targets.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

We do not provide direct support to tree nurseries. Our sustained support for new woodland creation helps ensure that there is ongoing demand for forest trees. The Forestry Commission has regular contact with representative bodies, sharing information on the expected level of tree planting and demand for trees to aid the planning of tree production.

We are looking at how we can support the nursery industry in improving biosecurity and improve tree seed viability.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to (a) collate statistics on the number of trees in the UK and (b) ensure that existing trees are adequately maintained.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The National Forest Inventory Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission, gathers data on the number of trees within woodland in Britain. In addition it monitors the canopy area of trees outside of woodland within. More details of the work carried out and information it publishes can be found here: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/about-the-nfi/

All woodland is protected against unauthorised removal through the control of tree felling in the Forestry Act 1967, the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations and the planning system. Activities authorised and supported by the Forestry Commission, including woodland management which has grant support available through Countryside Stewardship and Felling Licences applications, are expected to meet the UK Forestry Standard, the Government’s approach to sustainable forestry.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require each local authority to employ suitably qualified public-realm tree officers to ensure that (a) statistics are collated on the number of trees and (b) existing trees are adequately maintained in each local authority area.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

A public consultation on policies to improve the management of our trees and woodlands by Local Authorities was opened in December 2018. The consultation ended in February 2019. This document set out Government’s view on the importance of trees, especially in an urban environment, and the need for more policies to enhance the status and protection of urban trees.

The Government committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to introduce a duty on Local Authorities to consult the public on felling street trees. This will increase the transparency of decision-making and give the public a say in the management of these important natural assets. It will encourage local authorities to consider concerns raised and have regard to these when making decisions. This duty will be introduced in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

Grouped Questions: 285154
Q
(Bristol East)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Clothing: Sustainable Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to encourage sustainable fashion from production to purchase in order to meet (a) UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production and (b) the target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
Asked by Damian Green
(Ashford)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Members: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when her Department plans to reply to the letter of 3 July 2019 from the hon. Member for Ashford.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
(Woking)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Forests: Woking
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which areas of forestry and woodland in Woking constituency are classed by her Department as ancient woodland.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Ancient Woodland Inventory can be found on Defra’s website at Magic Map Application. It shows all the woodland and forestry areas in England classed as ancient woodland. This service is managed by Natural England.

Q
(East Yorkshire)
[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: 03 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Hare Coursing: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will increase the penalties imposed by the courts in respect of offences of harecoursing; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Q
(Midlothian)
[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 September 2019
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Climate Change
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on his Department's climate-focused work of planning for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

DFID is fully supporting the Government’s preparations to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. At the same time, as the Prime Minister made clear at the recent G7 Leaders meeting, the UK is strongly committed to tackling the two immense threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Putting climate change and environment at the heart of our development programming is a high priority for DFID. While we have, since July 2019, deployed a small number of staff (fewer than 5) who were working on climate change to work on planning for our exit from the EU, overall the number of staff working on climate change is increasing.

Grouped Questions: 286840
Q
(Midlothian)
[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 September 2019
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Climate Change
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many staff of his Department who previously focused on climate change have moved to a role to plan for the UK leaving without a deal since July 2019.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

DFID is fully supporting the Government’s preparations to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. At the same time, as the Prime Minister made clear at the recent G7 Leaders meeting, the UK is strongly committed to tackling the two immense threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Putting climate change and environment at the heart of our development programming is a high priority for DFID. While we have, since July 2019, deployed a small number of staff (fewer than 5) who were working on climate change to work on planning for our exit from the EU, overall the number of staff working on climate change is increasing.

Grouped Questions: 286838
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Snakes: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons the minimum size of enclosures for snakes was changed from the requirement stated in the draft Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 guidance.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The draft statutory guidance relating to pet sales that accompanies The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) contained two minimum accommodation size lengths for snakes in pet selling establishments. One was two thirds snake length and related to the minimum length of the enclosure in order to comply with the 2018 Regulations; and the other was 1x snake length which was the minimum length needed to attain the optional higher welfare standard.

During consultation on the draft guidance a group of specialist exotic animal veterinary and keeping professionals advised that there was no welfare basis for the higher welfare standard. We therefore withdrew the higher minimum welfare standard for snake accommodation sizes from the final published guidance. However, the minimum welfare size needed to comply with the 2018 Regulations remains at two thirds snake length. We have not made an estimate of the costs to businesses if they were required to increase the size of their snake enclosures.

Grouped Questions: 286612
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Snakes: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will publish correspondence between her Department and businesses on the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 guidance on the size of snake enclosures; and what estimate she has made of the costs to businesses of increasing the size of snake enclosures.
A
Answered by: Zac Goldsmith
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The draft statutory guidance relating to pet sales that accompanies The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) contained two minimum accommodation size lengths for snakes in pet selling establishments. One was two thirds snake length and related to the minimum length of the enclosure in order to comply with the 2018 Regulations; and the other was 1x snake length which was the minimum length needed to attain the optional higher welfare standard.

During consultation on the draft guidance a group of specialist exotic animal veterinary and keeping professionals advised that there was no welfare basis for the higher welfare standard. We therefore withdrew the higher minimum welfare standard for snake accommodation sizes from the final published guidance. However, the minimum welfare size needed to comply with the 2018 Regulations remains at two thirds snake length. We have not made an estimate of the costs to businesses if they were required to increase the size of their snake enclosures.

Grouped Questions: 286611
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