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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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
(Romford)
Asked on: 10 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Seas and Oceans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent plastic waste from the UK entering the world's oceans.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 June 2019

The UK is making significant progress in addressing the issue of plastic in the oceans, and is taking measures to stop plastic from entering the oceans in the first place. Our ban on microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products, one of the strongest in the world, came into force in June 2018. Our plastic bag charge has led to an 86% reduction in the use of plastic carrier bags and last year alone raised over £51 million for environmental causes. We have consulted on plans to extend the charge to all retailers and on increasing the minimum 5p charge to at least 10p, and last month announced that a ban on the distribution and/or sale of plastic straws, stirrers, and plastic stemmed cotton buds will come into force from April 2020. A full response to this consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gove-takes-action-to-ban-plastic-straws-stirrers-and-cotton-buds.

These policies are helping to deliver the Resources and Waste Strategy for England, our framework for eliminating all avoidable plastic waste. It builds on commitments in our 25 Year Environment Plan and sets out plans to maximise the value we get from resources, minimise waste, promote a circular economy and protect the environment better.

Earlier this year we published consultations on a number of key policy measures to significantly change the way that we manage our waste, and in doing so, prevent plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place: reforming existing packaging waste regulations, exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, and increasing consistency in the recycling system, along with a parallel consultation on the plastic packaging tax that the Chancellor announced in the Budget last year. We will publish the Government’s responses to these consultations on GOV.UK in due course.

Although 80% of plastic waste comes from land, 20% comes from ocean sources. Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) accounts for 10% of all plastic waste in the ocean and presents acute threats to marine life. Through the forthcoming International Ocean Strategy the UK is committed to spearheading international collaboration to establish a detailed understanding of the ocean, with the aim of significantly reducing the contribution of ALDFG to the problem of marine litter. The UK also signed up to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative in 2016, a pioneering scheme tackling lost and abandoned fishing gear on a global scale. Through this initiative we are committed to working with our partners to address the management of existing ALDFG and the mitigation of potential ALDFG.

The Government recognises the benefits and importance of youth outreach and education programmes in tackling this issue. In 2018 a new partnership between the UK Scouts and the Government was set up to help young people better understand the importance of reducing plastic consumption and marine litter. The UK is also working in partnership with UN Environment, collaborating internationally with young people across the Commonwealth to support them in becoming leaders and advocates for behaviour change.

We are committed to our international work to lead action on the global threat of marine litter. We continue to actively engage internationally through OSPAR, the G7 and the G20, and the UN. In April 2018, the Prime Minister announced the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, a ground breaking initiative working with our Commonwealth partners to reduce marine plastic pollution. To help deliver this, we committed an ambitious package of up to £70 million of UK Aid to drive research and innovation.

Q
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Transport
Roads: Accidents
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the causes of fires and spillages on highways and motorways; whether the number of fires and spillages has increased in recent years; if so, by how much; and what role litter on or around roads has played in any such increase.
A
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The number of fires and spillages on the Strategic Road Network since the formation of Highways England are as follows:

Financial Year

Incident Type

Spillage

Fire

FY 2015-16

3,346

2,364

FY 2016-17

3,429

2,660

FY 2017-18

3,860

2,816

FY 2018-19

3,562

3,105

Grand Total

14,197

10,945

Highways England and the department recognise the potential impact of spillages on our road users and on neighbouring communities. The department recently produced guides, aimed specifically at commercial drivers, to help reduce the severity and impact of a diesel spill. Highways England is also looking at ways to improve how our own staff and service providers respond and deal with spillages. In April 2019, the department commenced a research project to understand the causes of fire in commercial vehicles.

The department does not have evidence of what role litter plays in these incidents. As set out in the Litter Strategy for England (2017), the Government is committed to reducing the amount of litter on our network.

Q
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Transport
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether litter removal is a key performance indicator for Highways England; and if not, why not.
A
Answered on: 17 June 2019

There is currently no key performance indicator as part of the Road Investment period (2015 – 2020). This is due to Highways England having a statutory duty under Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ensure, so far as is practicable, that its land and highways are kept clear of litter and refuse.

Q
Asked by Emma Reynolds
(Wolverhampton North East)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Rivers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the level of plastic particles in rivers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 June 2019

The Government has set a target to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within the lifetime of the 25 year Environment Plan (by 2042) and set aside £20 million for research and development managed through the Plastics Innovation Fund in March 2018. A further £10 million was committed in the 2018 Autumn Budget for continued/additional plastics research and development along with £10 million to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter.

There has been substantive research reporting the presence and impacts of microplastics in the marine environment. However, little is known about their sources, release and impact on freshwaters and their transport to the marine environment. Defra has therefore commissioned evidence reviews to increase our understanding of these issues.

Defra is also working with the Environment Agency and the UK water industry to establish methods to detect, characterise and quantify microplastics entering wastewater treatment works, to evaluate the efficiency of treatment processes for their removal from domestic wastewaters and to assess their fate and biological effects in receiving rivers. In addition, Defra has commissioned the University of Plymouth to carry out research into textiles and tyres which are estimated to be significant sources of microplastics in the marine environment, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate has commissioned research on removal of microplastics by drinking water treatment processes.

The outcomes from these research projects will be used in the development of policy options to help mitigate the impact of microplastics in the aquatic environment.

Grouped Questions: 259977
Q
Asked by Emma Reynolds
(Wolverhampton North East)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Rivers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has a target to reduce the level of plastic particles in rivers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 June 2019

The Government has set a target to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within the lifetime of the 25 year Environment Plan (by 2042) and set aside £20 million for research and development managed through the Plastics Innovation Fund in March 2018. A further £10 million was committed in the 2018 Autumn Budget for continued/additional plastics research and development along with £10 million to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter.

There has been substantive research reporting the presence and impacts of microplastics in the marine environment. However, little is known about their sources, release and impact on freshwaters and their transport to the marine environment. Defra has therefore commissioned evidence reviews to increase our understanding of these issues.

Defra is also working with the Environment Agency and the UK water industry to establish methods to detect, characterise and quantify microplastics entering wastewater treatment works, to evaluate the efficiency of treatment processes for their removal from domestic wastewaters and to assess their fate and biological effects in receiving rivers. In addition, Defra has commissioned the University of Plymouth to carry out research into textiles and tyres which are estimated to be significant sources of microplastics in the marine environment, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate has commissioned research on removal of microplastics by drinking water treatment processes.

The outcomes from these research projects will be used in the development of policy options to help mitigate the impact of microplastics in the aquatic environment.

Grouped Questions: 259971
Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Inland Waterways: Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of recent efforts by canoeists to clear rubbish and plastic from inland waters; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that such activity is encouraged and supported on all inland waterways in England.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government has not made any specific assessments of the effectiveness of recent efforts by canoeists to clear rubbish and plastic from inland waters.

We support and endorse action by volunteers and local communities to take action to address the specific litter issues in their areas, and were pleased to support Keep Britain Tidy’s recent Great British Spring Clean. The Prime Minister has also recently recognised the work of Dhruv Boruah of the Thames Project through a Points of Light Award.

The Government’s Litter Strategy recognises that much‑loved features of the local environment such as rivers, canals and beaches can be used as ‘flagship’ locations for clean-up action by communities. Organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society, Thames21 and Surfers Against Sewage are represented on the Community Engagement Working Group which was established under the Litter Strategy to explore the barriers to engaging and involving citizens in tackling litter and improving local places, and to recommend steps to address them.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Litter: Roads
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has plans to discuss with the Department for Transport the potential transfer of litter picking duties on major trunk roads from local district councils to Highways England.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 01 May 2019

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the lead government department for policy in both waste and litter management. My Department meets regularly with DEFRA and Department for Transport colleagues on matters relating to both.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 18 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fisheries: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce harmful fishing practices including the release of off-cuts of rope from nets into the ocean.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 29 April 2019

The Government is committed to reducing plastic litter in the marine environment from all sources, including fishing, and this is being achieved through a variety of voluntary schemes and legislation. The Fisheries Bill and the 25 Year Environment Plan set out our clear commitment to sustainable fishing practices and protection of the marine environment.

More specifically, under the MARPOL convention the discharge of garbage into the sea is forbidden. This includes cut-offs of rope and other plastic waste. Additionally, Council Regulation (EC) No. 1224/2009 requires masters of a fishing vessel to attempt to retrieve any gear that is lost as soon as possible. If they are unable to retrieve their lost gear they must notify the UK fisheries authorities. The legislation also helps with the tracing of lost fishing gear by placing a requirement on masters of a fishing vessel using passive gear or beam trawls to mark their fishing gear with the port letter and number of their vessel.

The Resources and Waste Strategy for England will require producers to take responsibility for gear at the end of life stage, and schemes will be in place across Europe.

Q
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Transport
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that Highways England enforces the terms of the contract agreed with Connect Plus in respect of litter clearance; and how many times Highways England has imposed a financial penalty on that contractor since the contract was awarded.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 23 April 2019

Highways England conduct a monthly Environmental Audit inspection to ensure Connect Plus meet their contractual obligations in respect of litter.

Although there is no direct mechanism to apply financial penalties for failure to collect litter specifically, Connect Plus are monitored on their performance with respect to removing litter from the strategic road network. Failure to meet their contractual obligations can trigger various sanctions, which can range from increased reporting, additional monitoring to loss of entitlement to certain bonuses. In extreme cases, if the performance of a contractor persistently falls below the terms of the specific contractual arrangements across multiple aspects of performance, this could lead to contract termination through contractor default.

Q
Asked by Helen Hayes
(Dulwich and West Norwood)
[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: 09 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 15 April 2019

Our Resources and Waste Strategy, published 18 December 2018, sets out how we will eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

The Government is currently consulting on proposals to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aims of a DRS are to reduce the amount of littering in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, boost recycling levels for relevant material, and promote recycling through clear labelling and consumer messaging. HDPE and PTE plastic bottles are included in the proposals.

National Refill Day was launched in September 2018 to raise awareness for reusable plastic bottles and encourage the public to reduce plastic waste. We will continue to support initiatives from business and civil society where doing so drives further improvement and explore other avenues for progress in consultation with stakeholders.

Q
Asked by Helen Hayes
(Dulwich and West Norwood)
[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: 09 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Rivers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce plastic pollution in rivers and streams.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Government published the Resources and Waste strategy in December last year, setting out our plans to reduce plastic pollution with a target to eliminate all avoidable waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Estimates show that the majority of aquatic litter originates from land based sources therefore our main approach to stemming the flow is by taking action on land.

We have already consulted on banning plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds and extending the carrier bag charge. Since the introduction of the charge in 2015, 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main retailers. We are currently consulting on a number of key policy measures to significantly change the way that we manage our waste. These include: reforming existing packaging waste regulations; exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers; and increasing consistency in the recycling system; with a parallel consultation on the ‘Plastic Packaging Tax’ that the Chancellor announced in the Budget last year. Legislative proposals will be developed taking account of the consultation responses.

The UK is already making great strides to tackle the plastic that blights our streets, rivers and oceans. Our world-leading ban on microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products will help stop potentially billions of tiny pieces of plastic from entering the aquatic environment every year. We have also announced a £200,000 research project which will focus on microplastics derived from tyres and clothing. This will report shortly, and the evidence will help us develop policies to tackle the problem effectively.

Through its seven-point plan on plastics, the Environment Agency (EA) is exploring additional ways in which regulatory and voluntary initiatives could reduce plastics entering both the marine, and freshwater environments. The EA are working closely with the water industry and leading academics to investigate the types and quantities of microplastics entering the environment to identify where best to focus our efforts.

Wastewater treatment works are important pathways for contaminants, including microplastics, to enter the wider aquatic environment. Over £9 billion has been invested in England and Wales between 1990 and 2010 to improve sewage treatment works and collecting systems to limit polluting events, and £2 billion more is planned by 2020.

Q
Asked by Mike Kane
(Wythenshawe and Sale East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 March 2019
Department for Education
Education: Sustainable Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department (a) has taken since September 2015 and (b) plans to take up to 2030 to achieve sustainable development goal four, target seven on education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 March 2019

There are many opportunities in and out of school for young people to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and global citizenship (as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal 4.7). The Government introduced a reformed national curriculum in 2014, designed to focus on the essential knowledge that must be taught whilst empowering teachers to take greater control over the wider curriculum in schools.

Citizenship education is in the national curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4 and primary schools can teach it if they wish to. Citizenship aims to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society. It includes teaching about local, regional and international governance and the UK’s relations with the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the wider world; human rights and international law; diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding

The reformed curriculum also provides young people with a strong foundation in environmental issues. At Key Stage 2 in geography, pupils must learn about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, and in science they learn about human impact on environments, such as the negative effects of population and development, litter or deforestation.

The national curriculum is just one element in the wide-ranging education of every child and there is enough time and space in the school day and year to expand beyond the national curriculum specifications. The Department also encourages schools to participate in the Department for International Development and British Council funded Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) programme, which builds on previous programmes that were running in 2015 that raised awareness and understanding of global issues in 33% of the UK’s schools. The Department co-launched the new £38 million CCGL programme in 2018, which will provide opportunities for pupils in the UK and in the developing world to learn about global issues, so they are better prepared to live and work in a globalised economy. The programme will build 4,500 long-term relationships between schools and communities in the UK and countries around the world, involving 3 million pupils.

Young people can also participate in the UK Government-funded National Citizen Service (NCS) and the International Citizen Service (ICS), which encourage young people to play a more active role in society by completing short term social action projects in their local communities, or volunteering projects in some of the world’s poorest communities to building understanding of global issues.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 21 March 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) maintain and (b) increase animal welfare standards in battery hen farms.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 26 March 2019

The use of conventional (“battery”) cages for laying hens has been banned in the UK since 2012. Laying hens are kept in either enriched colonies, free range, barn or organic systems. Enriched colonies provide more space for the birds to move around and are legally required to provide nest boxes, litter, perches, and claw shortening devices which allow the birds to carry out a greater range of natural behaviours.

The new statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens and Pullets provides improved and up-to-date guidance for owners and keepers on how to comply with the legislation and help maintain high animal welfare standards.

We intend to continue being a world leader in animal welfare after we leave the EU by maintaining and strengthening our already world-class welfare standards. As part of our move to higher regulatory standards we intend to develop publicly-funded schemes for farmers to deliver animal welfare enhancements beyond our high regulatory baseline that are valued by the public.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 18 March 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Havering
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fixed penalty notices for littering were issued in Havering in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 25 March 2019

Defra does not collect data on the number of fixed penalty notices issued for littering.

The Honourable Member may want to ask Havering Council for this data.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 19 March 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of being party to a legally binding international treaty on plastics with clear targets and standards.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 22 March 2019

The Government has taken on board existing relevant international agreements and commitments, which include the Basel Agreement, the Oceans Plastic Charter, and G7 and G20 Action Plans on Marine Litter.

Our focus is on immediate action to tackle the pressing problem of plastic pollution and plastic waste. Our recently published Resources and Waste Strategy includes an ambitious set of policies to support elimination of avoidable plastic waste. This includes a commitment to meet the ambition of the EU’s Single-use Plastics Directive.

We have also committed to work with other countries to magnify the impact of our domestic action. Accordingly we have signed up to the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and we are spearheading efforts to support developing countries address plastic waste including through the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and the Global Plastics Action Partnership.

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fines have been issued for littering in each of the last 10 years for which records are available.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 March 2019

Data collection of fixed penalty notices was discontinued in 2009.

Reporting year (April to March)

Number

2008-09

35,465

2007-08

33,693

The number of fixed penalty notices issued for littering between 2007 and 2009 in England is presented in the table above. These are the most recent years for which records are available.

Q
Asked by Lord Luce
Asked on: 27 February 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commonwealth: Environment Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in implementing decisions taken by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London in April 2018 on (1) the Commonwealth Blue Charter, (2) the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance on marine plastic pollution, and (3) any other decision taken to improve the environment.
A
Answered on: 11 March 2019

In April last year, the UK hosted one of the most successful Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) ever. All 53 members of the Commonwealth adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter, agreed to establish action groups on ocean issues led by Commonwealth member countries and mandated the Secretariat to take forward a Commonwealth Blue Charter plan of action. Since CHOGM, nine action groups have now been proposed of which the UK Government has joined three so far: the coral reef protection, ocean acidification, and ocean and climate change action groups. The UK Government is in the process of joining the action groups on Mangroves and Marine Protected Areas.

The UK and Vanuatu also spearhead the groundbreaking Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA), the action group to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution in the ocean. The CCOA has gained unparalleled support since its launch in April, increasing its membership from seven to 24 countries across the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions. In recognition of our global leadership on tackling the problem of plastic in the ocean, the Prime Minister has announced up to £66.4 million of UK aid to assist Commonwealth countries. This includes a technical assistance facility that will support developing countries in achieving their commitments under the CCOA, which was increased from £5 million to £10 million by the Prime Minister in August last year.

The first phase of the £6 million Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) work in the Pacific region has been completed. Minister Coffey and Pacific country leaders attended a regional conference last month to showcase the marine litter action plans produced by the CLiP with Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Furthermore, over 35 Government funded Commonwealth Blue Charter Fellowships are underway which continue to support emerging Commonwealth scholars to explore solutions to the marine plastics challenge. We have made tremendous progress in safeguarding our ocean since CHOGM 2018 and we expect even more successful action ahead of the next CHOGM meeting in Rwanda in 2020.

The UK is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, and tackling climate change and managing the natural environment is a core part of the Government’s international work. For example:

  • The UK has increased its contribution to the Global Environment Facility to £250 million in the latest replenishment round (2018-2022).
  • The Prime Minister will lead on galvanising international efforts on climate resilience at the UN Secretary General’s Summit in September this year.
  • As part of a £61.4 million package of UK support announced by the Prime Minister at CHOGM, together with further announcements made during the Prime Minister’s visit to Africa, the Government has committed support to priority countries to increase recycling and tackle poor waste management. This includes: £3 million to trial approaches to the management of plastic waste in cities in three developing Commonwealth countries (Bangladesh, Ghana and Uganda) and up to £10 million of technical assistance to developing countries that have signed up to the CCOA.

At the International Wildlife Trade Conference hosted in London in October last year, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to tackling the international wildlife trade and we are now investing over £36 million between 2014 and 2021 to counter the trade, including £900,000 of new funding to develop a British military counter-poaching taskforce in Africa.

At last year’s Katowice Climate Change Conference, the UK demonstrated its climate leadership through our instrumental role in the creation of a rulebook to bring the Paris Agreement to life. This common set of rules and metrics is essential for driving genuine climate action globally and for future agreements.

Since April last year the Green Climate Fund has approved the funding of $1.05 billion in funding proposals, and successfully launched its first replenishment for the second resource mobilisation phase. A further $122.5 million has been approved for readiness funding to be deployed this year. Polices related to results management, prohibited practices, the restructuring and cancellation of funding proposals and the appointment of the World Bank as Trustee were also approved. The Fund also selected its next Executive Director, who will serve a four year term from April.

As announced by the Foreign Secretary at CHOGM, the UK and New Zealand co-hosted a meeting at Wilton Park on 16-18 December to discuss climate change and resilience in the Pacific. The Forum was an opportunity to listen to Pacific concerns, needs and priorities in relation to climate change, and provided a space for representatives from across governments and the academic and private sectors to discuss innovative solutions to these challenges.

Q
Asked by Simon Hart
(Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
Asked on: 28 February 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Beverage Containers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to introduce (a) 25p per coffee cup surcharge, (b) bottle deposit scheme and (c) refillable water bottle policy.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 07 March 2019

The Government recognises the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. At Budget 2018, the Government concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable cups to reusable cups across all beverage types.

The Government expects industry to go further in taking action on disposable plastic cups and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. In the meantime, the Government is considering the case for reducing the environmental impact of disposable cups within a reformed packaging producer responsibility system and a potential deposit return scheme (DRS), which we are currently inviting views on through consultation.

The DRS consultation is being undertaken jointly by the UK and Welsh Governments, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. The consultation was launched on 18 February and will close on 13 May. The aim of a DRS is that it is easy for consumers to return drinks containers (such as plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans, and glass bottles), reduce litter and increase recycling rates of drinks containers within the scope of a DRS.

The Government recognises the importance of making drinking water more readily available in public places, as a means of reducing single use plastic bottles. As laid out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Resources and Waste Strategy, we are already taking action in this area.

The Government has encouraged transit hub operators, including Network Rail and airports, to install free water fountains to support refilling water bottles.

The water industry is supporting the Refill campaign, which is managed by City to Sea. We are pleased to see new refill points being installed in every major city and town in England. There are now over 14,000 refill points on City to Sea’s free Refill app, and they aim to double this by 2020.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
[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: 26 February 2019
Treasury
Beverage Containers: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 3.59 of the Budget 2018 Red Book, what the evidential basis was for his Department concluding that a levy on all cups would not at this time be effective in encouraging widespread reuse; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 04 March 2019
The Government recognises the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. At Budget 2018, the Government concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable cups to reusable cups across all beverage types. This conclusion is based on the submissions made to the government during the call for evidence on single use plastic waste and examining alternatives to current single-use cups containing plastic.

The Government expects industry to go further in taking action on disposable plastic cups and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. The Government is also considering the case for reducing the environment impact of disposable cups within a reformed Packaging Producer Responsibility system and a potential Deposit Return Scheme.

Q
Asked on: 12 February 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Recycling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include all sizes of plastic bottles in their proposed deposit return scheme.
A
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England, subject to consultation, aimed at boosting recycling rates and reducing littering.

We are consulting on two options for a DRS relating to size of containers: an ‘all-in’ DRS which would include containers of any size, and an ‘on-the-go’ DRS that would include containers smaller than 750ml. The scope of a DRS, including the size of drinks containers included in such a scheme, will be dependent on the results of the consultation.

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