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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 101-109 out of 109
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Asked on: 22 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Unmanned Air Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to amend the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to prevent harm to birds and other wildlife from drones.
Answered on: 03 February 2020

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits the intentional or reckless disturbance of any wild bird included in Schedule 1 while it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or the dependent young of such a bird. The Act also prohibits the intentional or reckless disturbance of any animal included on Schedule 5 while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for shelter or protection. In both instances this would include disturbance by drones.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 13 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many trees have been planted in (1) England, (2) Scotland, and (3) Wales, in each of the last three years; and what were the respective acreages of (a) replanting of existing woodlands, and (b) new afforestation.
Answered on: 21 January 2020

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on woodland planting and restocking by area, but not by tree numbers, in the UK. These are Official Statistics produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Woodland area statistics can be found on the Forest Research website together with background information at: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics/

The area of new planting (woodland creation) and publicly funded restocking for each country in each of the last three years, taken from the published statistics, which report in hectares, is shown below.

Woodland Area (thousands of hectares)

Year (ending 31/3)

New planting

Restocking

England

2016-17

1.15

3.00

2017-18

1.50

2.04

2018-19

1.42

1.65

Wales

2016-17

0.40

1.67

2017-18

0.24

1.71

2018-19

0.52

1.44

Scotland

2016-17

4.76

11.07

2017-18

7.14

9.66

2018-19

11.21

11.19

Note: Publicly funded restocking is defined in the statistics as restocking of Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales Forest Service Woodlands and grant aided restocking of private sector woodland. This means that the level of restocking is under-reported in these statistics.

Asked on: 15 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Supply
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they promote and develop (1) food security, and (2) self-sufficiency, in the production of UK food.
Answered on: 21 January 2020

Our landmark Agriculture Bill sets out a clear path for future policy to support farming and the environment which includes commitments to regularly review our food security.

As part of the Bill, we are including a new requirement for the UK Government to regularly report on food security to Parliament, demonstrating the importance we place on this subject. The report will contain information on the role of strong domestic production alongside diverse sources of supply. It will encompass a range of current issues relevant to food security including global food availability; supply of food sources; the resilience of the supply chain for food; household expenditure on food; food safety and consumer confidence in food.

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of different sources including strong domestic production and imports from other countries, demonstrated by the UK's current production to supply ratio of 75% for indigenous-type foods and 60% for all foods

The National Food Strategy will cover the entire food chain from field to fork, building on work already underway in Defra.

It will address the challenges of supporting people to eat healthy diets, producing food sustainably and protecting national food security, whilst also looking at related issues such as food price and trade.

Asked on: 21 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made, if any, in improving the management of higher ground areas in the UK where a natural event, farming and forest management can modify flood run-offs towards lower ground areas.
Answered on: 03 February 2020

The Government, in conjunction with farmers, landowners and the third sector, has made progress in exploring how management of the uplands can contribute towards flood mitigation in the lowlands. This can be achieved through the use of natural processes, such as natural flood management, as well as changing land use and behaviours to better manage the flow of water.

Each catchment is different and requires a unique approach to management but natural flood management measures can be implemented across any area e.g. uplands, lowlands, urban and rural. These measures can include tree planting, leaky debris dams and peatbog restoration on upper slopes, flood washlands and river re-connection and naturalisation mid-catchment and management and creation of coastal marsh and sand dune systems in coastal areas.

There is evidence that natural flood management measures, that are appropriately designed and situated, can help manage flood and coastal risks, often alongside other measure, and can also provide other benefits to the natural environment, including but not limited to habitat creation, increased biodiversity and improved water quality. The Environment Agency (EA) has published an evidence directory which summarises the effectiveness of working with natural processes, from a flood risk and wider ecosystem perspective[1].

This work is supported and encouraged by the Government and complements its record capital investment programme in flood defences. There are currently approximately 40 capital schemes, led by the EA, that include natural flood management measures and the Government expects this to increase. Alongside this successive governments have invested in specific natural flood management programmes. This includes a £15 million programme supporting more than 55 projects, looking at the effectiveness of these interventions including in the uplands. These projects will enable new approaches to be tested and will help determine where natural measures can be most effective.

Similarly the Government has used the Countryside Stewardship Scheme to promote natural process and flood mitigation. For instance, grants are available for the creation and restoration of wetland habitats, tree planting, grip blocking and leaky woody dams. In particular the Facilitation Fund brings farmers and other land managers together to improve the natural environment at a landscape rather than single-farm scale to achieve greater improvements than individual holdings could on their own. One round in 2017 offered funding to groups who implemented natural flood management measures to manage the flow of water.

Looking ahead our exit from the European Union will enable us to leave the Common Agricultural Policy and move to a more ambitious and effective system based on the principles of ‘public money for public goods’. This new scheme will enable land managers to enter into agreements to be paid for delivering a range of public goods set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This includes mitigation of and reduced risk from environmental hazards, such as flooding which could be achieved through natural flood management.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-with-natural-processes-to-reduce-flood-risk

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Somerset
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of current tree cover in the South Somerset District.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Through the National Forest Inventory (NFI), Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission, gathers data on woodland in England.

The NFI shows that South Somerset District has approximately 6% woodland cover, which amounts to an area of 5,332 hectares.

More details of the work carried out and information the NFI publishes can be found here: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/about-the-nfi/

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection: British Overseas Territories
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether either the proposed (1) Nature for Climate Fund or (2) Blue Planet Fund will be open to UK Overseas Territories.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The Government is committed to supporting the unique biodiversity of the Overseas Territories, which contain over 90% of the UK family’s total endemic species.

A summary of responses to 2019’s call for evidence on safeguarding the environment in the British Overseas Territories will be published shortly. This will be used to inform decisions on future public funding and support, which to date has supported important conservation work in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments in the Territories. In addition, last year the UK announced an extension to the Blue Belt Programme (BBP) until 2021, with a further £7 million to provide ongoing support for protection of the diverse marine ecosystems present around the Overseas Territories.

The ocean supports the livelihoods of one in every ten people, including some of the poorest and most vulnerable worldwide. Recognising the link between ocean health and its effect on the development prospects of the most disadvantaged communities, this Government will establish a £500 million Blue Planet Fund (BPF).

Financed from the Official Development Assistance Budget, the BPF will help ODA-eligible countries. The fund seeks to protect their marine resources from key human-generated stressors including plastic pollution, overfishing and habitat loss. This new financing will build on the success of the BBP, embracing the wider ocean’s role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The scope of the Nature for Climate Fund is under development, but as set out in our manifesto, the Fund will help to drive a step change in tree planting, peatland restoration and nature recovery in England.

Asked on: 20 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing a mandatory phase-out of horticultural peat as part of their forthcoming England Peat Strategy; and when they intend to publish that strategy.
Answered on: 29 January 2020

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011, we set a voluntary target to phase out the use of horticultural peat in the amateur sector by 2020, and the professional sector by 2030. 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 plans to speed up progress on ending the use of horticultural peat in the England Peat Strategy, which we will publish this year.

Q
Asked by Lord Hayward
Asked on: 20 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 July 2019 (HL Deb, col 232), what advice they received from the Regulatory Policy Committee concerning the costs and benefits of introducing a 10p plastic bag charge; and when they intend to publish their proposals on the introduction of a 10p plastic bag charge.
Answered on: 27 January 2020

The Regulatory Policy Committee have scrutinised our impact assessment on the costs and benefits of extending the carrier bag charge to all retailers and increasing the minimum charge to 10p, assessing it as fit-for-purpose. The impact assessment will be published alongside the Government response to our consultation on these measures shortly.

Asked on: 20 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Cultural Heritage: Environment Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to including the historic environment in the scope of future Environmental Improvement Plans.
Answered on: 03 February 2020

The 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) commits the Government to safeguarding and enhancing the beauty of our natural scenery and improving its environmental value, while being sensitive to considerations of its heritage. We will continue this approach to improving the natural environment, both identifying the mutually positive impacts on the natural and historic environments our policies can have, as well as identifying potential trade-offs between them. Under the Environment Bill, to be reintroduced shortly, the 25YEP will be adopted as the first statutory Environment Improvement Plan.

The Agriculture Bill, recently laid before Parliament, will enable the Government to develop our ambitious new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme. Our scheme is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM will provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25YEP and commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through the scheme, land managers will be paid to deliver public goods set out in the 25YEP, including beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 101-109 out of 109
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100