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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Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Recycling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the impact of the temporary closure of recycling companies on waste disposal authorities, and (2) the ability of those authorities to store or otherwise dispose of or deal with the recyclates collected or received from waste collection authorities.
Answered on: 21 May 2020

Recycling companies rely on Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to provide them with some of the materials which can then be used to make new products. Defra officials have been working closely with local authorities and the waste sector to keep HWRCs open. There is no reason in law why HWRCs cannot be open and where possible, local authorities should seek to retain access to HWRC services for their residents to dispose of waste. The Government is not setting a date by which HWRCs should be open. We recognise that the opening of HWRCs will depend on local circumstances and resource availability. A “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate. The decision to open a HWRC remains with the relevant local authority. Our most recent guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-to-local-authorities-on-prioritising-waste-collections/managing-household-waste-and-recycling-centres-hwrcs-in-england-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

Indications are that most local authorities have been able to maintain collection services for packaging and food waste and continue to send materials to be recycled. Material recovery facilities which receive, separate and prepare recyclable materials for reprocessing and recycling companies, have been operating whilst maintaining social distancing measures. The impacts of COVID-19 and related restrictions on these facilities and the recycling sector are being closely monitored by Defra. In addition, the Charted Institute for Waste Management (CIWM) has worked with Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), local authority bodies and commercial waste collectors to establish the WasteSupport platform to assist local authorities to access additional capacity in the commercial waste collection sector for processing waste.

For some materials (including waste electrical equipment, furniture , and textiles) there are particular challenges and Defra is in regular discussions with these sectors, including the reuse/repair and reprocessing organisations, about these.

The Environment Agency has published time-limited Regulatory Position Statements (RPSs) to allow some flexibility for local authorities and other operators where, for reasons beyond their control, compliance with certain regulatory requirements may not be possible due to COVID-19. These include the ability to store more material at a permitted site than the permit usually allows. Each COVID-19 RPS sets out when it can be applied and conditions that will need to comply with, to ensure that the risks to the environment and human health are minimised. More details can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/covid-19-regulatory-position-statements.

Defra has published guidance on prioritisation of waste services and on management of HWRCs during the current pandemic and continues to monitor the situation with local authorities and industry bodies.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection: British Overseas Territories
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the results of the Darwin Plus projects whose initial applications were submitted between May and July 2019 will be announced; and whether the allocation of the funds to projects will be in line with the results of the consultation on ‘Safeguarding the environment in British Overseas Territories’ which concluded on 26 July 2019.
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The successful projects for the recent round of Darwin Plus will be announced shortly.

I was encouraged that we received a strong response to the Call for Evidence on ‘Safeguarding the environment in British Overseas Territories', with 51 responses received from the Overseas Territories, NGOs and other interested parties. This was an important evidence gathering-exercise designed to inform the Government’s preparations for the next spending review. The summary of responses was published on 31 March 2020, after the application and assessment of Darwin Plus applications was completed. The findings of the Call for Evidence will be used to inform future funding for environmental support in the Overseas Territories.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Fly-tipping
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of fly tipping on or near roads has increased during the last 12 months and, if so, by how much.
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The Government publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England around November for the preceding financial year. As such, the Government has not yet been able to assess whether the amount of fly-tipping on or near roads has increased during the last 12 months.

The most recently published statistics indicated that, as with previous years, the most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for 46% of total incidents in 2018/19. This is an increase of 6% from 2017/18. The fly-tipping statistics are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare and Zoos: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to (1) zoos, and (2) animal welfare organisations, to enable animals to continue to be looked after throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; and whether furloughed staff from these organisations are still able to provide support to animals on their premises.
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We recognise that zoos and other animal welfare organisations are undertaking very valuable work at this time to ensure that the health and welfare needs of the diverse range of animals they care for are well met.

The Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos and other animal welfare organisations, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. They are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan schemes, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding of up to £25,000.

In addition, specifically for zoos in severe financial distress, the Government has introduced a Zoos Support Fund for licensed zoos in England. Similar support will be provided by the Devolved Administrations. Where a zoo in England is in severe financial distress and has fully explored and exhausted all other reasonable avenues to generate income and reduce costs, then they can apply for this fund. Defra has already written to all licensed zoos in England to make them aware of the COVID-19 support schemes available as well as the new Zoo Support Fund. More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-zoos-and-aquariums

We are in discussion with the animal welfare sector about the issue of support for the organisations working with companion animals and to understand the severe impacts on the sector and their needs.

Defra officials have also been engaging with some of the largest zoos to discuss additional concerns which are arising including over a longer time frame, and active consideration of these is ongoing.

Government guidance states that individuals who are furloughed can volunteer for any organisation that is not their employer.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 30 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Birds of Prey
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) number, and (2) geographical spread within England, of (a) buzzards, and (b) red kites.
Answered on: 15 May 2020

A report published by the British Trust for Ornithology estimates that the number of breeding buzzards in Great Britain is 61,500 – 85,000 pairs and the number of breeding red kites is 4,370 pairs (https://www.bto.org/our-science/publications/peer-reviewed-papers/apep-4-population-estimates-birds-great-britain-and).

There is no similar data for English populations. However, buzzards are common throughout England and Natural England estimates that there are up to 30,000 breeding pairs. Natural England also estimate that there are 2,000 pairs of red kites which are most commonly found in central and southern England.

The most recent information on the geographical distribution of birds in Britain is provided by the BTO’s 2007-2011 Atlas of breeding and wintering birds https://app.bto.org/mapstore/StoreServlet.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of littering from vehicles has increased during the last 12 months and, if so, by how much.
Answered on: 15 May 2020

The Government does not collect data on littering rates and has made no assessment of whether littering from vehicles has increased or decreased in the last 12 months.

Data on a range of indicators relating to litter in England is published annually on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-and-littering-in-england-data-dashboard

The most recently-published data indicated that around 9 in 10 sites in England met the required standards of cleanliness in 2017-18. Data for 2018-19 will be published later this year.

Data from Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) shows that 94% of main roads, 89% of rural roads, and 93% of ‘other highways’ met the required standards of cleanliness in 2017-18, based on an independent survey of 7,200 sites across 25 local authorities. This is broadly comparable with their results from a similar survey for 2014-15, although differences in the survey sample and methodology prevent direct comparisons. The full 2017-18 report from KBT can be found online at: https://www.keepbritaintidy.org

From April 2018, we have increased the powers available to councils to tackle littering from vehicles by giving councils in England and outside London new powers to issue civil penalties to the keeper of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Similar power are already held by councils in London.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Peat
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what volume of peat and peat-based products were sold in each of the last five years; what volume of peat was extracted from the UK in each of the last five years; and what volume of peat was imported from the Republic of Ireland in each of the last five years.
Answered on: 13 May 2020

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

Grouped Questions: HL3480
Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Peat
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of when all retail products sold in the UK will be peat-free.
Answered on: 13 May 2020

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

Grouped Questions: HL3479
Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horticulture: Peat
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of when commercial horticulture will have ceased using peat and peat-based products.
Answered on: 13 May 2020

In 2015 2.1 million cubic metres of peat were sold in growing media products in the UK. Data was not collected for 2016 and 2017. Sales data for 2018 is currently being compiled and 2019 data will be collected later this year.

Of the peat sold in growing media products in 2015, 0.9 million cubic metres were extracted in the UK and 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted in the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 0.1 million cubic metres were extracted in other EU countries. This data comes from the same survey which gathered data for 2018 and 2019 and data will be available for subsequent years on this basis.

The forthcoming data will allow us to assess progress towards the phasing out of peat in both the retail and commercial horticulture markets. However, this data will not include some significant market changes this year with the introduction of new peat-free and products with significantly reduced peat content by major retailers and brands. Data from 2020 sales will be collected in 2021.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

Q
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Domestic Waste: Recycling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to allow local authorities to re-open household waste recycling centres.
Answered on: 13 May 2020

Government has not required local authorities to close household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). Local authorities are working hard to keep essential collections in place and there have been changes in services in some areas due reprioritisation of staff and social distancing concerns. We published non-statutory guidance on 5 May for local authorities on managing HWRCs in England during the coronavirus pandemic. It was developed in conjunction with Public Health England and the Home Office and sets out measures to support the operation of HWRCs in line with public health measures.

Asked on: 23 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to recommending the re-opening waste and recycling centres to alleviate the increased incidence of fly-tipping on agricultural land.
Answered on: 07 May 2020

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We are aware of reports of an increase in fly-tipping and that, anecdotally, this may be a result of the closure of household waste recycling centres. However, this does not appear to be consistent across the country.

It is legal for household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) to remain open during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, we know that some local authorities are finding this challenging, which is why on 5 May Defra published some guidance to help local authorities do this.

We worked with industry, local authorities and other Government departments, including Public Health England, on developing the guidance which includes a section on workforce safety. The key principle of the guidance is that human health must be protected while maintaining safe systems of working. Social distancing must also be observed by both staff and visitors to HWRCs wherever possible. The guidance makes it clear that residents must only visit HWRCs if they cannot store safely at home the items they wish to dispose of.

The guidance was published this week after close consultation with the police. The guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-to-local-authorities-on-prioritising-waste-collections/managing-household-waste-and-recycling-centres-hwrcs-in-england-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

Q
Asked by Lord Fox
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in their consultation with UK businesses about the future regulation of chemicals in the UK once the participation with EU REACH ends; how many businesses they have consulted; which sectors those businesses are part of; and when they intend to publish the results of that consultation.
Answered on: 06 May 2020

UK regulators are well prepared to take on new responsibilities under UK REACH. We have already provided extra resources to both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare for UK REACH and we will continue to scale up their resources over the next two years. We have previously estimated the cost of operating UK REACH at £13 million a year at full operation. That figure includes the operation and maintenance of the Comply with UK REACH IT system and staff resourcing in Defra, HSE and the EA. We are keeping this estimate of resource requirements under regular review as planning for the end of the Transition Period continues.

We have put in place measures to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses.

As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This involves a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs. We are now considering how to respond to the conclusions of this work.

Grouped Questions: HL3382 | HL3383
Q
Asked by Lord Fox
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest estimate of the cost to the private sector of the implementation of a new UK chemicals regulation system to replace EU REACH.
Answered on: 06 May 2020

UK regulators are well prepared to take on new responsibilities under UK REACH. We have already provided extra resources to both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare for UK REACH and we will continue to scale up their resources over the next two years. We have previously estimated the cost of operating UK REACH at £13 million a year at full operation. That figure includes the operation and maintenance of the Comply with UK REACH IT system and staff resourcing in Defra, HSE and the EA. We are keeping this estimate of resource requirements under regular review as planning for the end of the Transition Period continues.

We have put in place measures to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses.

As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This involves a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs. We are now considering how to respond to the conclusions of this work.

Grouped Questions: HL3381 | HL3383
Q
Asked by Lord Fox
Asked on: 23 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the resources in place to implement the new UK chemicals regulation system replacing EU REACH; and what estimate they have made of the annual cost of that new system.
Answered on: 06 May 2020

UK regulators are well prepared to take on new responsibilities under UK REACH. We have already provided extra resources to both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare for UK REACH and we will continue to scale up their resources over the next two years. We have previously estimated the cost of operating UK REACH at £13 million a year at full operation. That figure includes the operation and maintenance of the Comply with UK REACH IT system and staff resourcing in Defra, HSE and the EA. We are keeping this estimate of resource requirements under regular review as planning for the end of the Transition Period continues.

We have put in place measures to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses.

As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This involves a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs. We are now considering how to respond to the conclusions of this work.

Grouped Questions: HL3381 | HL3382
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of municipal waste site closures on the prevalence of fly tipping; and what advice they provide to local councils about reducing the incidence of fly tipping.
Answered on: 05 May 2020

Fly-tipping is unacceptable and the Government is committed to tackling this crime.

We are aware of reports of an increase in fly-tipping and that, anecdotally, this may be a result of the decisions taken by local authorities to close household waste recycling centres. However, this does not appear to be consistent across the country. We have requested fly-tipping incident data through the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG), chaired by Defra, which includes local authorities and other key stakeholders, to help us to monitor the situation.

We have published guidance to help local authorities prioritise waste services. This recommends keeping household waste recycling centres open if it is safe to do so and that the clearance of fly-tipped material should be given a high priority. The Government has been working with local authorities to explore ways in which household waste recycling centres that have been closed might be re-opened, whilst observing social distancing and other requirements. The Government published guidance on this on 5 May 2020.

Through the NFTPG, we have also disseminated messaging aimed at householders promoting the secure storage of waste, use of registered waste carriers and reiterating that waste must not be fly-tipped.

Q
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horticulture: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to the letter from the Master of the Company of Gardeners to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, dated 9 April, about the difficulties experienced by the horticultural industry as a result of the COVID-19 regulations; and what consultation they have conducted into the case for reopening garden centres under conditions which could maintain social distancing.
Answered on: 05 May 2020

The Government are aware of the challenging position facing the horticulture industry during this period and are grateful for the letter from the Master of the Company of the Gardeners highlighting some of the issues faced by the sector. A response can be expected from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs imminently.

The Government continues to assess the decision on garden centres, but concluded at the last review that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. Social distancing requirements will continue to be considered in accordance with this review.

Stores can operate Click and Collect services as long as orders are taken online, by telephone or via post and customers remain outside of the store to collect their goods.

In this situation, as generally, businesses are advised to operate with strict adherence to the social distancing guidelines.

Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the £304 million announced in the 2020 Budget for local authorities to improve air quality will be allocated, and what time period the fund covers.
Answered on: 05 May 2020

The 2020 Budget allocated an additional £304 million to support delivery of the NO2 plan, bringing the total amount of funding committed to tackling NO2 to £880 million. This further funding covers the years 2020-2022 and will be used to support those local authorities identified in the NO2 plan to deliver and mitigate the impacts of measures to tackle exceedances of legal limits for NO2.

Q
Asked by Lord Bowness
Asked on: 21 April 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horticulture: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to allow garden centres and plant nurseries to open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 04 May 2020

The Government is aware of the challenging position facing garden centres and plant nurseries during this period.

Nurseries growing plants for sale to other retail outlets or online to the public are 'open' and accessible by staff for plant care and maintenance purposes. They are, however, like garden centres, closed to the public to aid the prevention of spread of COVID-19.

The Government is keeping the situation on Garden Centres under review, but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. We will continue to work closely with representatives from the horticulture supply chain to understand what short-term and long-term support the sector as a whole needs. We are ready to respond to emerging issues quickly and effectively. Public health must be at the heart of the difficult decisions the Government is having to take at this time.

Asked on: 25 March 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
New Zealand: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support UK citizens who are seeking to return to the UK from New Zealand who are affected by that country's lockdown due to COVID-19.
Answered on: 08 April 2020

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March a new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2, Titan and British Airways. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

The British Government is working around the clock to support British Nationals as we respond to this global pandemic. The British High Commission in Wellington has established an online registration system, allowing High Commission staff to track and directly communicate with British Nationals in need of assistance, in particular the most vulnerable. This includes regular updates through email and on social media platforms. There has been an extensive drawdown of commercial flights out of New Zealand to regional hubs, reducing significantly the options for British Nationals to depart New Zealand. We are engaging commercial airlines and international governments, encouraging them to keep commercial routes open, in particular in transit hubs.

Q
Asked on: 25 March 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Animals: Markets
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they plan to make to the United Nations to implement a global ban of so-called 'wet' markets.
Answered on: 06 April 2020

The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to regulate global trade in wild animals and my officials regularly raise the issue of the illegal wildlife trade with other governments and with international authorities. The World Animal Health Organisation, of which the UK is a member, will be addressing wildlife trade at the next general session in May 2020. Pandemics arise as a combination of events and are a global concern. The origin of the Covid-19 virus is not yet clear, although it has been linked to viruses occurring in animals.

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