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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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Woking)
Asked on: 15 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Marine Environment: Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce pollution in the marine environment.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 24 July 2020

The UK Government is committed to leading efforts to protect the marine environment from all stressors.

The UK Marine Strategy Part 3 published in December 2015, sets out a comprehensive list of actions the UK Government is taking to reduce contaminant concentrations in the marine environment to acceptable levels. In 2021 we intend to publish an update to the document, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards Good Environmental Status in our seas. Existing measures include various pollution reduction requirements for emissions and discharges from industry, and measures for coastal waters that are set out in the River Basin Management Plans.

The UK Government is also tackling pollution from solid waste at its source. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Given the trans-boundary nature of the marine environment, we work closely with other countries to tackle pollution, such as with those who share our seas through the OSPAR Convention. The UK also contributes to and implements the obligations of several global initiatives, including the London Protocol and the London Convention, to protect the marine environment from mercury, persistent organic pollutants, hazardous wastes, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and marine litter. In 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance alongside Vanuatu, now a community of 34 member states who have pledged action on reducing plastic pollution in the ocean. As per the Government’s manifesto commitment, the UK will establish a £500 million Blue Planet Fund that will help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated threats, including pollution.

Q
(Chipping Barnet)
[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: 20 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support local authorities tackle increased littering during the covid-19 lockdown.
Q
Asked by Fiona Bruce
(Congleton)
[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: 20 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce littering in public places.
Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 30 June 2020
Department for Education
Countryside: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require all schools to ensure that children know the Countryside Code and the need to adhere to it.
A
Answered by: Baroness Berridge
Answered on: 14 July 2020

Maintained schools are required to teach the national curriculum as part of their wider school curriculum. Details of the national curriculum subjects and content of programmes of study for each can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum.

Academies are not required to follow the national curriculum, though they are expected to teach a curriculum that is similar in breadth and ambition, and are required by their funding agreements to teach English, mathematics, science and religious education.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

While it is not a prescribed topic in the national curriculum, all state-funded schools have the flexibility within their school curriculum to teach about the Countryside Code if they choose to do so, through for example:

  • Citizenship teaches young people about their responsibilities as adults also includes opportunities for active citizenship, for example, forms of volunteering to support a cause or their local community.
  • As part of the science curriculum, children are taught about the scientific concepts that relate to the environment. In primary science, pupils are taught about habitats of plants and animals and about how environments can change. This can include positive and negative impact of human actions, such as nature reserves or littering. This is further developed in secondary science, where pupils are taught about ecosystems and biodiversity.
Q
Asked by Tom Tugendhat
(Tonbridge and Malling)
Asked on: 06 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping and Litter: Fast Food
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what meetings his Department has had with fast food outlets on using vehicle recognition technology to print number plates on take-aways, to make it easier to trace people guilty of littering and fly-tipping.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 13 July 2020

Defra has not held meetings with fast food outlets specifically on using vehicle recognition technology to print vehicle registration numbers on take-away packaging. We do not think it would be appropriate to require take away vendors to implement such a system due to the additional regulatory burden it would place on these businesses. However, we strongly support voluntary initiatives to reduce littering and we know that some fast-food outlets have piloted similar schemes with some success. The success of any such scheme would be dependent on the willingness of the local authority to follow up with enforcement. Local authorities have the autonomy to decide how to prioritise their enforcement activities.

We believe that businesses should try to reduce the amount of litter their products generate. The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of particularly problematic litter, including fast-food packaging, smoking-related litter and chewing gum.

Our forthcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging will require producers to cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life, including litter. We plan to undertake a second consultation on EPR for packaging in early 2021. In preparation for that consultation, we are currently reviewing the proposed timeline for its introduction.

Q
Asked by Paul Maynard
(Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Asked on: 30 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Fixed Penalties
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fixed penalty notices for littering have been issued by local authorities in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 08 July 2020

Defra does not hold this data. Requirements for local authorities to report data on the number of fixed penalties issued for littering and other environmental offences were ended in 2010, in order to reduce reporting burdens.

Data on the number of prosecutions and convictions, including those related to offenses under section 87 EPA 1990, are published online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2019

Q
Asked by Dr Luke Evans
(Bosworth)
Asked on: 30 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter and Nature Conservation: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the general public to respect the natural environment and avoid littering as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 08 July 2020

Defra has released a range of digital content over social media that explains what individuals can do to protect others and the environment. This includes advice on how to enjoy outdoor spaces responsibly, such as by taking rubbish home when there are no bins available, and how to dispose of personal protective equipment appropriately. This digital content is available at:

www.linkedin.com/posts/defra_coronavirus-stayalert-activity-6672424604566376449-R-Iy;

twitter.com/DefraGovUK/status/1272770631780700162; and

twitter.com/DefraGovUK/status/1276046970621173760.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 03 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Transport: Graffiti and Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures his Department has put in place to monitor compliance with (a) litter and (b) graffiti regulations in relation to public land by (i) the Department for Transport, (ii) Highways England and (iii) Network Rail.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 08 July 2020

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse sets out statutory standards for the removal of litter and refuse from relevant land and highways. It also sets out advisory standards for local authorities for graffiti removal, but there are no statutory requirements to remove graffiti.

Damaging property by leaving graffiti is an offence of criminal damage. Neither Highways England nor Network Rail has enforcement powers in respect of either littering or graffiti.

In 2018, Defra commissioned an independent survey of roadside litter on those parts of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) where Highways England is responsible for maintenance but the local authority is responsible for clearing litter. The results have been shared with relevant local authorities and will be used in policy development.

The Department for Transport published the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the SRN. The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice. Highways England performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
[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: 02 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Motorways: Graffiti and Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Highways England on litter and graffiti on the motorway network.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Grouped Questions: 68295 | 68296 | 68297
Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
[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: 02 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Roads: Graffiti and Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Highways England on litter and graffiti on the strategic trunk road network.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Grouped Questions: 68294 | 68296 | 68297
Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
[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: 02 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Railways: Graffiti and Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Network Rail on litter and graffiti on railway land and structures.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Grouped Questions: 68294 | 68295 | 68297
Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
[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: 02 July 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-litter strategy in relation to Government-owned and Government Agency-owned land; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Grouped Questions: 68294 | 68295 | 68296
Q
(Broxbourne)
[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: 23 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Highly Protected Marine Areas: Angling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 65 of the Benyon review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas; if he will make it his policy to not assign recreational angling with the red designation that applies to dredging, littering, discharges and commercial fishing; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 29 June 2020

We welcome the publication of the Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on 8 June 2020, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. We will consider Richard Benyon’s report and issue a formal response to him in due course. The panel recommended that HPMAs would represent the upper end of environmental protection and should exclude all extractive activity, including recreational sea angling, to allow for full ecosystem recovery.

Defra recognises the importance of recreational sea angling to the economy, its benefits to the health and welfare of society, and the contribution anglers and angling bodies make to environmental improvements. We appreciate and understand the concerns raised by the recreational sea anglers since publication of the Benyon Review. We would consider the socio-economic impact of HPMAs on all sectors, including recreational sea angling, and consult extensively before any decision to designate a site.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 17 June 2020
Department for Transport
M67: Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Highways England on removing litter on the Junction 2 on-sliproad to the M67 in Denton.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Secretary of State for Transport has had no such discussions with Highways England on removing litter at Junction 2 on-slip road to the M67 in Denton.

Highways England have confirmed that any restoration measures are required to take place within the timescales set out in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse. This states that any areas with special circumstances that falls below grade B, such as carriageways, verges and central reservations of motorways and trunk roads, must be restored back to grade A standard within twenty-eight days or as soon as reasonably practicable. Highways England expect to remove litter from the entry slip road within the next three weeks.

Q
Asked by Daisy Cooper
(St Albans)
Asked on: 10 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Packaging: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deposit return scheme to food jars and sauce bottles.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 16 June 2020

The Government plans to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers subject to further evidence and analysis. The specific details of a DRS, including the material and drinks to be included in scope, will be developed further and will be presented in a second consultation. We may wish to introduce, at some point in the future, a DRS for other products such as batteries, electrical and electronic equipment and tyres. Powers in the Environment Bill will allow us the flexibility to set up a DRS for other waste streams should we decide to do so. There has been no specific assessment of the potential to extend a DRS to food jars and sauce bottles but we generally consider that a DRS may be the appropriate vehicle for articles that we regard as difficult to manage at end of life, are not typically recycled or are frequently littered or fly-tipped.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
[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: 11 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase statutory fines for littering.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 16 June 2020

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth South on 10 June 2020, PQ UIN 52409.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-03/52409]

Q
Asked by Jamie Stone
(Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
[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: 08 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Marine Environment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data his Department has collected on the (a) quantity, (b) type and (c) harmful effects of plastic pollution in the UK’s marine environments.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The UK collects data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters including on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methodologies agreed through the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/

We fund and conduct research to improve our understanding of the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. This includes an evidence review published in February 2020 which covers the impacts of marine plastic pollution, including microplastics, on marine life. This can be accessed at:

http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20339&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=ME5436&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description

Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Tobacco
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to encourage major tobacco companies to (a) undertake activities in respect of and (b) provide financial support for tackling smoking-related litter.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Figures from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 report that cigarette stubs were the second most frequently-found type of litter item on UK beaches, with an average of 42.6 stubs found per 100 metres. UK Government scientists are currently carrying out chemical and toxicological experiments to evaluate the potential harm caused to the marine environment by cigarette stubs. This work will be published by 2022.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry's contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. I refer honourable members to the answer I gave on 23 March to PQ 29305: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-13/29305/.

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. The Government supports ongoing efforts by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). KBT works in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill also grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will also be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

Grouped Questions: 52484 | 52652 | 53410 | 53411 | 53412
Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Tobacco
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for tobacco products with filters that is being introduced in the EU and (b) adopting a similar model to that scheme in the UK.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Figures from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 report that cigarette stubs were the second most frequently-found type of litter item on UK beaches, with an average of 42.6 stubs found per 100 metres. UK Government scientists are currently carrying out chemical and toxicological experiments to evaluate the potential harm caused to the marine environment by cigarette stubs. This work will be published by 2022.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry's contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. I refer honourable members to the answer I gave on 23 March to PQ 29305: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-13/29305/.

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. The Government supports ongoing efforts by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). KBT works in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill also grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will also be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

Grouped Questions: 52483 | 52652 | 53410 | 53411 | 53412
Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Litter: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support local authorities in reducing litter in public green spaces during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Local councils remain responsible for keeping their land clear of litter and refuse according to standards set out in the statutory Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse. The Code is available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse.

We recognise that in the current circumstances, local authorities may have more challenges than usual in collecting all kinds of waste. The Government has announced £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Defra has also published guidance for local authorities on the prioritisation of waste collection services and released advice over social media on appropriate disposal of personal protective equipment.

Defra does not collect data from local authorities on littering rates in public green spaces or elsewhere, and has made no specific assessment of recent trends in littering in public green spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, industry data collected by ADEPT suggests that over 60% of councils are reporting that their street sweeping services are operating normally with 30% reporting minor disruption, and that the amount of litter collected via street sweeping has reduced during the coronavirus outbreak. The data is available at: https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/covid-19-waste-survey-results.

Marine litter is a transboundary issue as it can move with ocean currents, so we cannot yet estimate the effect that COVID-19 will have had on levels in the marine environment.

Grouped Questions: 52407 | 52408
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