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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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
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise sustainable agricultural practices through the Environmental Land Management scheme.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

The Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) will be underpinned by the principle of payment of public money for public goods such as: clean air; clean and plentiful water; thriving plants and wildlife; reduced risk of harm from environmental hazards such as flooding and drought; enhanced beauty, heritage and engagement for the natural environment and mitigating and adapting to climate change. As the detail of the ELMS is developed, Defra will be exploring with stakeholders where sustainable farming practices can contribute to the delivery of these public goods.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Environment Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help the agricultural sector create new jobs in environmental land management.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

Through our proposed reforms and the policies set out in the Agriculture Bill we will increase demand and therefore employment opportunities for those who have these skills by financially supporting farmers who undertake environmental works. We regularly discuss these reforms with farmers and the educational and advisory services that serve farming; including the Food and Drink Sector Council who are specifically looking at the workforce, skills and jobs we want to see in the future.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sheep: Transmissible Encephalopathies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable the identification of the age of ovine animals other than by the eruption of the permanent incisor under the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations (2018).
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

The Government is preparing to consult on amendments to the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations (2018) in line with changes to EU rules, which would permit the introduction of an optional method of ageing of sheep alternative to dentition.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 16 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of delinking basic payments from the land as outlined in paragraphs 91 to 99 of the explanatory notes to the Environment Bill on patterns of land ownership in rural areas.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

Alongside the introduction of the Agriculture Bill last September we published an analysis of the impacts of phasing out and delinking Direct Payments. Delinking may encourage a faster transition of farming businesses and may help those who choose to leave farming. This could increase the ease with which new entrants can acquire land for farming.

Q
Asked by Jenny Chapman
(Darlington)
[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: 18 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sheep Meat: UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of preventing imports of sheep meat into the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

The Government announced on 13 March that we would apply the maximum level of tariff protection in line with our World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments for the UK sheep meat sector. In particular, the tariff for sheep meat would be set at the ‘bound rate’, which is the highest tariff we are able to apply to imports.


The UK would, however, be retaining a share of current EU WTO quotas for sheep meat, including imports from New Zealand to meet our commitments at the WTO. The share has been calculated based on apportioning the EU quota in proportion to previous trade flows.

Q
Asked by Jenny Chapman
(Darlington)
[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: 18 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sheep Meat: UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of potential demand for UK produced sheep meat in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 23 July 2019

The Government recognises the concerns of our UK sheep farmers and is determined to get the best deal for them as we leave the EU. The UK is the largest producer of sheep and by far the largest exporter of sheepmeat in the EU. Around a third of production is exported, 95% of which is to the EU.

We are doing all we can to mitigate the challenges our farmers will face and we have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption. In the event of a ‘no deal’, an increased availability of lamb on the domestic market could filter through to increased demand for our globally recognised product.

A recent study carried out by The Andersons Centre for the UK’s levy bodies for the red meat sector looked into the impact of tariff and non-tariff measures on the sector, which included analysis on domestic consumption.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the equity of the transition to environmental land management payments for farms of different sizes.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The seven year agricultural transition period in England, as set out in the Agriculture Bill, will make sure there is a gradual transition from the current system to the new, avoiding a cliff edge for farm businesses of all sizes. It will give all farmers sufficient time to adapt and prepare for the new Environmental Land Management system which will be piloted and rolled out during the transition.

During the transition, we will apply reductions to Direct Payments in a fair way, with higher reductions initially applied to amounts in higher payment bands.

This method balances the views of those who feel recipients of the highest payments should initially face higher reductions with the strong calls for the reductions to be shared amongst all farmers from the start of the transition.

Q
(Haltemprice and Howden)
Asked on: 16 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the farming and agriculture industry in (a) the UK, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) Haltemprice and Howden constituency.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Farming has a bright future outside the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. The Great Yorkshire Show demonstrated the strengths that British farming has to offer with a record-breaking number of entries for sheep and cattle, and great produce from Wensleydale cheese to North Yorkshire game.

I know very well the importance of supporting these farmers in Yorkshire and Humber, home to my own constituency and farm, as well as my Rt Hon friend’s constituency, Haltemprice and Howden. As we prepare to leave the EU, the UK Government is taking a number of steps to support our farmers and industry in England and across the UK.

For the UK as a whole, the Government has pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament, expected in 2022; this includes all funding provided for farm support under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the current Common Agricultural Policy.

The Government has also guaranteed that any projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime. This means, in the event the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the UK Government would fund any remaining payments to farmers, land managers and rural businesses due after October 2019. This would ensure continued funding for these projects until they finish. The guarantee also means that Defra and the devolved administrations can continue to sign new projects after the UK leaves the EU during 2019 and 2020.

As agriculture is devolved, each administration will have the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to their own unique circumstances, once the UK has left the EU. It is for the Scottish, Welsh and future Northern Ireland Governments to decide upon future agricultural policies for their respective nations.

For farmers in England, the Agriculture Bill marks a decisive shift in our support. We will create an ambitious new system based on paying “public money for public goods”. Public goods will include improving air and water quality, and habitats for wildlife. By paying for things the public value, we can also improve animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics in our food chain. Financial support for innovations like precision farming can help farmers become more productive, reduce the use of expensive chemicals and protect the environment.

Critically, our Agriculture Bill also includes a seven year transition period of 2021–2027 for Direct Payments to help farmers in England to plan for the future. In the meantime direct payments for 2019 and 2020 will be made on the same basis as they are now, with simplifications where possible.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 16 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Salmon
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on salmon stocks in English rivers of seals.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 22 July 2019

No formal assessment of the effect of seal activity on Atlantic salmon stocks has been made in English rivers.

Although diet studies suggest that seals typically prey on other fish species, seals are known to consume salmon in estuaries, around nets and river mouths. Predation by seals is controlled by regulations including licensed sustainable culling, as well as non-lethal methods such as sound scaring equipment.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 16 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Salmon
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research programmes on the decline of salmon stocks in English rivers his Department is currently allocating funding to.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Defra funds research conducted by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Environment Agency to address factors contributing to the decline of salmon in English rivers. Factors, such as water quality, migration barriers, marine survival and exploitation are addressed in Defra’s 5 year Implementation Plan for Salmon Management in England and Wales, conducted by Cefas for the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation. Progress on these plans is reported on annually.

Projects Defra is currently funding include:

- Anthropogenic Factors – ‘Prioritising the management of salmonid based on the relative impacts of anthropogenic factors’

- Stock assessment methodology improvement – ‘Genetic sex ratio analysis of salmon smolts and adults’

- Climate Change – ‘Predicted effects of Climate Change on UK diadromous fish populations’

Q
(Wycombe)
[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: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help farmers tackle the spread of bovine TB.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 18 July 2019

We are pursuing a wide range of interventions as part of the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038, including strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, licensing badger control, and promoting biosecurity on farms to help farmers prevent the spread of Bovine TB. Sir Charles Godfray’s independent review (published in November 2018) is an important contribution that will inform next steps in the strategy.

In my Written Ministerial Statement of 20 June 2019, I announced plans to reinforce TB testing in the High Risk Area, invited applications for a third round of the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme and confirmed the licensing and authorisation by Natural England of three supplementary badger control areas for 2019.

Our partnerships with other organisations have enabled the development of toolkits that support farmers to understand their role in the prevention and eradication of the disease, including the TB Hub, the iBTB website and the TB Advisory Service.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) cormorants and (b) herons on immature fish in English river systems.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The overall impact on immature fish is not assessed at a national level.

However, in granting licences to control protected birds Natural England consider the evidence of damage provided by the applicant (for example the impact on immature fish) as well as the conservation status of the species.

Additionally, the Environment Agency have funded advisory posts to support affected fisheries using income from fishing licence sales. The current arrangement is part of the angling services contract awarded to the Angling Trust which pays for three posts that provide specialist management advice to angling clubs and fisheries owners impacted by cormorants and other fish predators.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 15 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Salmon
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of salmon stocks in English rivers.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Defra undertakes annual assessments of salmon and sea trout stocks for England and Wales. These assessments are conducted by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

The annual assessments, including the most recent for 2018, are published on GOV.UK. Which can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessment-of-salmon-stocks-and-fisheries-in-england-and-wales-in-2018

Q
Asked by Nic Dakin
(Scunthorpe)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Iron and Steel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July 2019 to Question 270365, for what reasons his Department has not signed the UK Steel Charter.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 17 July 2019

As a customer of this country’s steel sector, Defra is already taking action to level the playing field for UK steel producers when competing for central Government contracts. Our commercial activities comply with current Government policy on steel procurement as set out in Cabinet Office guidance, Procurement Policy Note 11/16.

We can confirm that Defra, like the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is happy to commit to supporting the Charter where it is relevant to our commercial activities and where consistent with the relevant regulations.

Q
Asked by Bill Grant
(Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Exports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on the (a) costs, (b) regulatory burden and (c) certification processes for UK fish exporters to the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 16 July 2019

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place, the EU will require UK exporters to provide a Catch Certificate and an Export Health Certificate (EHC) when exporting most fish and fisheries products to the EU. Direct landings made by UK fishing vessels into EU ports will need to be accompanied by a Catch Certificate but will not require an EHC.

Export health certification is a devolved matter. Responsibility for Scottish exports to third countries lies with the Scottish Government. The Animal and Plant Health Authority issues EHCs for Scotland. Charges for signing EHCs vary by local authority and are made on a cost recovery basis. The consolidation of export consignments into larger consignments covered by a single certificate could reduce this cost burden.

The UK Government and the Marine Management Organisation have developed an IT system to allow exporters to obtain a Catch Certificate around the clock at no cost to the exporter. Assuming that the information submitted is correct, the Catch Certificate will be issued immediately without the need for further checks before export.

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: 11 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beef: South America
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban the import of beef from South America if it does not meet UK standards for sustainable farming after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 16 July 2019

Our current high standards, including import requirements, will apply when we leave the EU. High standards and high quality are what our domestic and global customers demand, and that is what we will provide. We have been clear across Government, from the Prime Minister down, that we will not lower our standards in pursuit of trade deals.

Q
(Morley and Outwood)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Whales: Meat
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ban the transit of whale meat through UK ports.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The transit of whale meat through UK and EU ports is subject to international trade rules. Leaving the EU will present us with the opportunity to review our position on this issue.

Q
(Morley and Outwood)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Whales: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect the population of Orcas off the coast of Scotland.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Protection of this particular population is a devolved issue.

All cetaceans are fully protected in UK waters under the EU Habitats Directive, the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and through sectoral measures tackling specific threats, such as the bycatch mitigation measures implemented under EU Regulations (Regulation 812/2004).

Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to support UK farmers in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 15 July 2019

As any responsible Government would, we are preparing for the possibility of no deal, which is why we have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption for the food and farming sector as much as possible.

We are in close contact with the farming unions and other farmer representatives across the UK. Alongside the publication of technical notices, we continue to work closely with farmers, businesses and trade associations across the food and drink sector, from farm to fork, to keep them informed of exit preparations.

We have committed to the same funding for farm support until the end of this Parliament, whether the UK leaves with or without a deal. In a no deal scenario, the current EU Common Agricultural Policy legislation will be retained under the Withdrawal Act 2018 and modified through secondary legislation. This will provide a legal basis for its continuation until the passage of the Agriculture Bill. We have also already guaranteed that any projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime, including in a no deal scenario. The guarantee also means that the Government and the devolved administrations can continue to sign new projects after the UK leaves the EU during 2019 and 2020.

Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Consumption and Overseas Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) value and (b) proportion by value of the fish caught in UK waters is (i) consumed domestically, (ii) exported to non-UK EU member states and (iii) exported to the rest of the world; and what (A) value and (B) proportion by value of the fish consumed in the UK is (I) caught in UK waters, (II) imported from other EU member state and (III) imported from the rest of the world.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The average value of fish landed by UK and Other Member State vessels from the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) each year is £1,184 million (~£1.2 billion), this represents 38.4% of the total value the UK and Other Member State fleets land from the Northeast Atlantic sea area.

In 2017, the UK exported £1.9bn (460,000 tonnes) of fish and seafood products globally, with over 70% of exports to the EU. The UK is a net importer of fish, importing over 730,000 tonnes of fish worth £3.1bn, with the majority of imports originating outside of the EU.

The Marine Management Organisation publishes trade analysis in their annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics publication, which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-sea-fisheries-annual-statistics-report-2017

These statistics include the outward movement of fish and seafood products produced by businesses in the UK, plus goods which, after importation to the UK, are then exported. The statistics include fish caught by foreign vessels and landed into the UK; fish caught by the UK fleet and landed into foreign ports are excluded. It is not possible to discern the origin of fish from UK trade statistics, or from this the proportion consumed in the UK originating from fish caught in UK waters.

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