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 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Public Records: Commonwealth
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give access to documents held on Commonwealth nations and their independence movements to Commonwealth scholars unable to visit the National Archives without access to funding to meet current charges for copying and postage.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 18 February 2020

As a government department, The National Archives is obliged to charge for some of its public services, including research and record copying. These charges, agreed with HM Treasury, are set out in the Fees Regulations issued under the Public Records Act (1958) and are based on recovering the costs of providing these services. Digitised records on The National Archives’ website are always free to search but a charge of £3.50 per download generally applies to view the full transcription or download digital copies.


In line with its strategic vision of ‘Archives for Everyone’, The National Archives is engaged in a range of activities that aim to expand its audience and enhance access to its collections, both on site at its buildings at Kew and online. Recognising the particular interest in Commonwealth nations in a range of the public records in its collection, The National Archives is in ongoing and active dialogue with its peer institutions in Commonwealth nations, particularly through its membership of the International Council on Archives (ICA) and its leadership of the ICA’s Forum of National Archivists.

Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) freedom of religion or belief in Sudan, and (2) security sector reform, since the appointment of Abdalla Hamdok as Prime Minister; and what representations they have made to the government of Sudan about reports that Sudanese nationals have been detained for political reasons when returning to that country.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UK welcomes commitments by the new civilian government to improve human rights but significant issues remain. Sudan remains a priority country in the UK Annual Human Rights Report with promotion of human rights a key aspect of our engagement with Sudan. There are recent signs of progress on Freedom of Religion or Belief, including institutions observing Christian holidays and Christians being able to attend church services on Sundays. However, we remain concerned by ongoing issues and abuses which I raised with the Sudanese Ambassador on 28 January.

Reforms of the security sector in Sudan were enshrined in the Constitutional Declaration of 17 August 2019. Our Embassy in Khartoum is monitoring developments. Reforms will take time but will form an important part of Sudan's transition to democracy and support of human rights. Progress since the appointment of the civilian-led government includes the disbanding of the operational arm of the General Intelligence Service (formally National Intelligence and Security Services) and reorganisation of the top-level command structures of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

We are concerned by reports of political detainees, have called for their release, and for all detainees to be treated in accordance with international standards. We will continue to engage the Sudanese authorities and civil society on this issue.

Q
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: National Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of national conscripts, reported to be at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa's programme 'Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea'.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

UK support for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa project, to reconnect Eritrea and Ethiopia through the rehabilitation of the main roads, is conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of national service workers implementing the project. The project, run by the Eritrean state-owned company Segen Engineering, will employ approximately 300 civilian National Service workers who will receive technical and health and safety training.

We are not aware of any reports of sexual or gender-based violence connected with this project or within the construction industry as a whole. DFID works closely with the European Union on our joint agenda to safeguard against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. We will continue to review these specific concerns relating to Eritrean national service, and work with the EU to put further measures in place where we judge these are required.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
BBC: Iran
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of harassment experienced by BBC personnel in Iran; and what action they are taking in response.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We condemn the judicial persecution of family members of employees and ex-employees of BBC Persian, and are deeply concerned by the reports of any threats against journalists in the UK. The British Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom, which is vital to functioning societies, and the principle that journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues including restrictions on media freedom. On 29 January, the UK alongside Canada co-hosted the first official meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition in Geneva, a partnership of 35 countries working together to advocate the safety of journalists worldwide and to defend media freedom.

Q
Asked by Lord Mawson
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Visas: EU Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens working as crew on commercial vessels moving between EU countries will be able to remain within the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180 day period after December 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The EU has already legislated such that British nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. British nationals who intend to stay or travel in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period may need a visa or permit from the relevant Member State to do so.

The Schengen Area provision for 90 days access in any 180-day period does not apply to those undertaking paid work or providing a service in the Schengen Area. British nationals should check with the Embassy of the relevant Member State for what kind of visa or permit, if any, they will need.

As set out by the Prime Minister, the United Kingdom is seeking to agree reciprocal commitments with the EU on the temporary entry and stay of individuals, so that both British nationals and EU citizens can undertake short-term business trips to supply services in each others' territories. The detail of these mobility arrangements will be negotiated. Information about travelling to the EU to provide a service is available on GOV.UK. We will update these pages as further information is available.

Q
Asked by Lord Mawson
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Visas: EU Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens working in the EU, whose role entails travelling between several EU countries, will be able to remain within the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180 day period after December 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

A frontier worker is a person who regularly works in one or more states in which they do not reside, irrespective of whether they also work in their state of residence. British nationals who are frontier workers in the EU before the end of the transition period are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This means that British nationals working in an EU Member State and resident in the United kingdom or another Member State before the end of the transition period will be able to continue to work as they do now.

British nationals who are not protected by the Withdrawal Agreement as frontier workers because they are not frontier working in the EU prior to the end of the transition period may require a visa or work permit from the relevant Member State (s) in order to undertake paid work in the EU. The Schengen Area provision for 90 days access in any 180-day period does not apply to those undertaking paid work or providing a service in the Schengen Area. British nationals should check with the Embassy of the relevant Member State for what kind of visa or permit, if any, they will need.

As set out by the Prime Minister, the United Kingdom is seeking to agree reciprocal commitments with the EU on the temporary entry and stay of individuals, so that both UK nationals and EU citizens can undertake short-term business trips to supply services in each others' territories. The detail of these mobility arrangements will be negotiated. Information about travelling to the EU to provide a service is available on GOV.UK We will update these pages as further information is available.

Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Government (a) Departments and (b) non-departmental public bodies are involved in formulating the response to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has requested assistance from the EU to fly UK citizens back from China since the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the management of the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to raise public awareness of how to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus in the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) staff and (b) equipment required to respond to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the additional funding required by the NHS to respond to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government's Coronavirus public health campaign, launched on 1 February 2020.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for International Development
UK-Africa Investment Summit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any consultancies were used to help deliver the UK–Africa Investment Summit 2020; and if so, why.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The production aspects of the UK-Africa Investment Summit were contracted out to specialist event companies, as is normal government practice. We also used contractors to design and run the series of pre-events, to undertake analysis of trade and investment trends, and to assess the Summit's impact. These organisations complemented the large cross-government team of policy officials who delivered the Summit.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock: Disability
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many railway vehicles which do not comply with the “Persons with Reduced Mobility, Technical Specifications for Inter-operability” remained in service after the deadline for their withdrawal expired on 1 January 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

There are no vehicles in scheduled passenger service which are fully exempted from the requirements of the PRM-TSI. There are around 1,300 vehicles (9%) in the national fleet with short term, time-limited dispensations against a range of non-compliances with standards in the PRM-TSI. As these vehicles are upgraded and replaced the number in service diminishes throughout the coming months.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock: Disability
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assess any non-compliance with the Persons with Reduced Mobility, Technical Specifications for Inter-operability after 1 January 2020; and whether any such assesment will (1) include the effect of late orders of new vehicles and modifications to existing vehicles, and (2) the management of the cascade programme by the Department for Transport.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

A number of operators have been issued with strictly time-limited dispensation notices against non-compliances with the Persons with Reduced Mobility Technical Specifications for Interoperability. As part of these limited dispensations, operators are required to provide evidence that the introduction of new or refurbished stock remains on track. It remains the responsibility of the operator to ensure they meet the requirements for compliance with accessibility legislation.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sewage: Water Treatment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 29 January (HL608), what powers exist to curtail housing developments in the Thames Valley until sufficient capacity for treating sewage has been developed by Thames Water.
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Water Industry Act 1991 places a duty on water and sewerage companies to provide, maintain and extend a system of public sewers to ensure that the area is and continues to be effectually drained. Water and sewerage companies and the Environment Agency are statutory consultees on local authority development plans, which provide the primary means of determining where future development should be located, including in respect of wastewater infrastructure. Local councils in their role as local planning authorities adjudicate on individual planning applications which, under planning law, must be decided in accordance with the development plan, subject to other material planning considerations. Water and sewerage companies can comment on individual applications and their representations should be taken into account by the planning authority where they raise material planning considerations.

Q
(West Worcestershire)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Mission in Darfur
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the UK is providing to the UNAMID peacekeeping mandate in Sudan; and what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of that mandate.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 18 February 2020

As a member of the UN Security Council the UK has a long-standing role in supporting sustainable peace in those areas of Sudan where UN peacekeeping missions are in place (Darfur and Abyei). This includes the UK's commitment to funding peacekeeping missions globally through the "assessed contribution" system and our role as the penholder, alongside Germany, on the mandate for the UN/African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). This work has helped to ensure that the peacekeeping presence addresses the needs on the ground. We also welcomed the UN Security Council decision to extend the UNAMID mandate until 31 October while options for any future presence are developed. We continue to work with the UN, AU and the Government of Sudan to consider the appropriate scope of UN support to Darfur and Sudan.

We commend the role that UNAMID has played in the protection of civilians in Darfur since its creation in 2007 and its work to assist in bringing stability to the region. One of the largest factors influencing the effectiveness of the UNAMID mandate and its implementation has been the approach of the Government of Sudan. This has seen significant shifts since the revolution of 2019, including progress in peace talks on Darfur. We are encouraged by the recently appointed civilian-led government's pledge to facilitate unfettered access across Sudan, including in Darfur, for the UN. We remain concerned of reports that this has not been consistently implemented and continue to make clear the importance of unfettered access across Sudan for humanitarian actors and the UN at the highest levels.

We welcome the priority the civilian-led government of Sudan has given to securing a peace deal for Darfur, and the progress made in talks in Juba with armed opposition groups. Addressing the long-term drivers of conflict will contribute to the success of Sudan's transition to democracy and economic recovery. As a leading donor the UK is working closely with the civilian-led government and international partners to support implementation of the reforms needed to ensure that transition benefits all Sudanese.

Q
(West Worcestershire)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Mission in South Sudan
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affiars, what support his Department provides to the UNMISS peacekeeping mandate in South Sudan; and what assessment his department has made of the effectiveness of that mandate.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) mandate is due for renewal by 15 March. We will continue to work with UN Security Council members to ensure this is extended and that the mission continues to have a mandate that focuses on: protection of civilians; human rights; peace process support; and humanitarian aid delivery. We continue to assess that these core tasks remain relevant and important, including as the peace process moves into the next phase if a government of national unity forms by the 22 February deadline.

As a member of the UN Security Council, the UK has a long-standing role in supporting the peace process in South Sudan and supporting UNMISS. This includes the UK's commitment to funding peacekeeping missions globally through contributed funds of £51.45m (in FY 2018/19) and circa 300 UK peacekeepers who have provided medical and engineering support to UNMISS since 2016.

Successes of the UK military contribution includes the building of a UN hospital in Bentiu, the upgrading of 15km of road used to deliver vital food and aid, as well as making a wider contribution to UN peacekeeping reform. In particular we commend the role that UNMISS and its leadership have played in the protection of civilians in South Sudan, and supporting both to human rights work and the peace process.

One of the largest factors influencing the effectiveness of the UNMISS mandate and its implementation has been the approach and the political will of the Government of South Sudan and opposition groups. The number of access issues has reduced since the signing of the 2018 peace agreement, but we are concerned by continued denials of access and hope this will improve as the peace agreement is implemented in full. Through our bilateral engagement we continue to make clear at the highest levels the importance of unfettered access across South Sudan for humanitarian actors and the UN.

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