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.

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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
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department of Health
Fracking: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Director of Public Health for Lancashire's report, published on 6 November 2014, into the Potential Public Health Impacts of the Proposed Shale Gas Exploration Sites in Lancashire, how many of the 61 recommendations in that report his Department has acted on; and which of those recommendations have not been acted on by his Department and why.
A
Answered by: Nicola Blackwood
Answered on: 05 December 2016

The Public Health England (PHE) report, published in June 2014, concluded that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to chemical and radiological emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated. PHE continues to review the evidence on the potential public health impacts of emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district. The relevant recommendations for the health community fell broadly into four areas; public engagement, health surveillance, health impact assessment and research. PHE is taking forward the recommendations relevant to their responsibilities.

PHE engages regularly with Government partners and agencies in respect of the PHE review recommendations. Actions include continued engagement with the regulators, supporting public engagement events in areas where shale gas developments are proposed, and participating in a baseline environmental monitoring project led by a British Geological Survey consortium:

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/yorkshire.html

Grouped Questions: 54073 | 54017 | 54021
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department of Health
Fracking: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Public Health England report entitled Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of the Shale Gas Extraction Process, published in January 2014, how many of the recommendations made in that report his Department has acted on; and which recommendations have not been acted on by his Department and why.
A
Answered by: Nicola Blackwood
Answered on: 05 December 2016

The Public Health England (PHE) report, published in June 2014, concluded that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to chemical and radiological emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated. PHE continues to review the evidence on the potential public health impacts of emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district. The relevant recommendations for the health community fell broadly into four areas; public engagement, health surveillance, health impact assessment and research. PHE is taking forward the recommendations relevant to their responsibilities.

PHE engages regularly with Government partners and agencies in respect of the PHE review recommendations. Actions include continued engagement with the regulators, supporting public engagement events in areas where shale gas developments are proposed, and participating in a baseline environmental monitoring project led by a British Geological Survey consortium:

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/yorkshire.html

Grouped Questions: 54074 | 54017 | 54021
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department of Health
Fracking: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his Department's assessment is of the potential implications of drilling for shale gas for the health of residents living in close proximity to shale gas well sites.
A
Answered by: Nicola Blackwood
Answered on: 05 December 2016

The Public Health England (PHE) report, published in June 2014, concluded that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to chemical and radiological emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated. PHE continues to review the evidence on the potential public health impacts of emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district. The relevant recommendations for the health community fell broadly into four areas; public engagement, health surveillance, health impact assessment and research. PHE is taking forward the recommendations relevant to their responsibilities.

PHE engages regularly with Government partners and agencies in respect of the PHE review recommendations. Actions include continued engagement with the regulators, supporting public engagement events in areas where shale gas developments are proposed, and participating in a baseline environmental monitoring project led by a British Geological Survey consortium:

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/yorkshire.html

Grouped Questions: 54074 | 54073 | 54021
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department of Health
Fracking: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to estimate the number of residents living in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources' shale gas well at Preston New Road who have pre-existing health conditions potentially susceptible to aggravation by drilling for shale gas.
A
Answered by: Nicola Blackwood
Answered on: 05 December 2016

The Public Health England (PHE) report, published in June 2014, concluded that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to chemical and radiological emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated. PHE continues to review the evidence on the potential public health impacts of emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district. The relevant recommendations for the health community fell broadly into four areas; public engagement, health surveillance, health impact assessment and research. PHE is taking forward the recommendations relevant to their responsibilities.

PHE engages regularly with Government partners and agencies in respect of the PHE review recommendations. Actions include continued engagement with the regulators, supporting public engagement events in areas where shale gas developments are proposed, and participating in a baseline environmental monitoring project led by a British Geological Survey consortium:

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/yorkshire.html

Grouped Questions: 54074 | 54073 | 54017
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
BBC: Video on Demand
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to enable the BBC to introduce subscription charges for viewing content on its iPlayer outside the UK.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 30 November 2016

Under the new BBC Charter and Framework Agreement the BBC are able to trial international subscription models, and now it is a matter for the BBC to progress this.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to undertake baseline monitoring of the health of residents living in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources' shale gas well site at Preston New Road.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 28 November 2016

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) highlights that the first point of contact on population health and well-being issues should be the Director of Public Health (DPH), and recommends that Local Authority planners should consider consulting the DPH on any planning applications that are likely to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the local population or particular groups within it. The role of the DPH is to provide expert advice and support, with an aim to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the population. DPHs are able to seek expert advice and support from Public Health England in responding to such planning applications, where necessary, including support for the investigation of any pre-existing health concerns.

The DPH at Lancashire County Council (LCC) commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to institute baseline monitoring sites for air quality in residential areas in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources' shale gas well site at Preston New Road.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 28 November 2016

The Department currently grant-funds a research consortium led by the British Geological Survey to deliver a baseline environmental monitoring programme in and around sites in the Fylde (Lancashire) where applications for shale gas wells have been made. As a result of this programme and since January 2015, researchers have been gathering data on a number of environmental parameters including air quality. The monitoring located close to the proposed shale gas exploration site at Little Plumpton (Preston New Road) includes instrumentation to measure atmospheric composition, wind speed and direction, air temperature and relative humidity.

The monitoring characterises the environmental baseline before any hydraulic fracturing takes place and enables future shale gas projects’ data to be checked against these “baseline” data, allowing any significant changes to be flagged for further scrutiny. The investigations are independent of any monitoring carried out by the industry or the regulators. The information collected is freely available to the public on the BGS website:

www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/monitoring/atmosphericComposition.html

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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 November 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Fracking: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to his decision to reopen the planning inquiry into the highways safety aspects of Cuadrilla Resources' appeal against Lancashire County Council's decision to refuse planning permission to build shale gas wells at its Roseacre Wood site, whether the analysis supporting his decision differs from that of the inspector concerned on any matter of fact mentioned in or otherwise material to a conclusion reached by that inspector in that case; and what new evidence or new matter of fact he has taken into consideration on the highways safety aspects of that case that has informed his decision to reopen the planning inquiry.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 24 November 2016

Full reasons for the Secretary of State’s decision are set out in the decision letter that was published on 6 October 2016.

In reaching his decision, the Secretary of State took into account the wide range of relevant issues that were raised and evidence that was put forward in this appeal, as well as the detailed findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Planning Inspector who held a public inquiry.

The decision letter and the Inspector’s Report are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recovered-appeals-cuadrilla-bowland-ltd-and-cuadrilla-elswick-ltd-refs-3134386-3130923-3134385-and-3130924-6-october-2016

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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 November 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many times the power he has under section 17(7) of the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000/1624 to reopen a planning inquiry has been exercised by him and his predecessors to allow an appellant to adduce further evidence in their favour since the introduction of those rules.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 24 November 2016

The Secretary of State has the power to re-open a public inquiry as he thinks fit, for example if he considers that would be the best way to allow parties to put forward any further evidence and for parties to respond to any such evidence. No records are kept of how frequently that has occurred.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 21 November 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason provisions on the long service cap within the Pensions Act 2014 have not yet come into force.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 24 November 2016

Before the provisions could be brought into force certain changes to secondary legislation were required to ensure the cap works as intended in all situations.

I have now completed the consultation on these changes and am considering the responses. It is my intention that the long service cap will be implemented from April 2017.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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: 14 November 2016
Department for Transport
Airports: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic implications of the recent announcement on airport capacity for the North West.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 17 November 2016

An expanded Heathrow will better connect people and businesses to new long haul destinations and growing world markets. It will create thousands of jobs, boost our economy and help secure the UK’s position globally. A new runway will deliver up to £61 billion of benefits to passengers and the wider UK economy.

The Department has undertaken an economic assessment of the impact of a new runway at Heathrow at a national level, taking account of all regions. As with other regions, the North West should benefit from access to new destinations, extra seats and increased frequency of service created by expansion at Heathrow.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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 November 2016
Department for Education
Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much the Government plans to spend on apprenticeships in the 2017-18 academic year.
A
Answered by: Robert Halfon
Answered on: 15 November 2016

We are committed to growing the quality and number of apprenticeships so that even more people have the opportunity to get on in life. That’s why in the 2017-18 academic year, we are making available over £2 billion for apprenticeships.

We are doubling the annual level of spending on apprenticeships between 2010-11 and 2019-20 in cash terms to £2.5billion.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 07 October 2016
Ministry of Justice
Claims Management Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps her Department is taking to tackle illegitimate and fraudulent activity by claims handling companies.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 17 October 2016

Tackling bad practices by claims management companies (CMCs) is a priority for the Government. Action already taken includes the removal of over a thousand CMC licenses since 2010 and the issuing of over £2 million in fines.

Collaborative work between the Claims Management Regulation Unit and other regulators has resulted in the successful disruption and prosecution of criminal operations by CMCs engaged in fraudulent and illegitimate claims.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 07 October 2016
Ministry of Justice
Small Claims
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what preparatory work is currently underway in her Department on the consultation on increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 17 October 2016

Ministers are considering this issue and the Government will bring forward proposals in the coming months.

Grouped Questions: 47376
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 07 October 2016
Ministry of Justice
Small Claims
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to paragraph 3.103 of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, when her Department plans to launch the consultation on increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 17 October 2016

Ministers are considering this issue and the Government will bring forward proposals in the coming months.

Grouped Questions: 47375
Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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 October 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to help protect the pensions of long-serving employees.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 17 October 2016

We have a well-established regime of checks and balances in place, for example the Pension Protection Fund and the Pensions Regulator. The Government keeps this framework for pensions under constant review, and amends it when evidence demonstrates such change is needed

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
[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: 12 July 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Retail Trade: Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to support high street retailers.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 10 October 2016

This Government is supporting our high streets to thrive. We have introduced the biggest ever cut in business rates, worth £6.7 billion; launched the High Street pledge and digital high street pilots; introduced a fairer parking regime and sensible planning changes; and we are celebrating our high streets through the hugely successful annual Great British High Street Competition.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 20 July 2016
Ministry of Defence
Apache AH-64 Helicopter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reasons his Department has not negotiated a workshare component in its contract to buy Apache helicopters off-the-shelf from Boeing in the US.
A
Corrected answer by: Harriett Baldwin
Corrected on: 13 September 2016
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 07 September 2016.
The correct answer should have been:

We are buying our new Apache AH-64E helicopters through a Foreign Military Sale with the United States Government. This approach delivers the best possible value for money for the UK taxpayer, allowing us to take advantage of established production lines and the resulting economies of scale, while ensuring we deliver a world-leading capability to our Armed Forces.

A number of UK companies have secured work on the global Apache supply chain, delivering products that will be used in our new helicopters and those being delivered to the US Army as well as other international customers. There will also be significant opportunities for UK companies to assist in the provision of support and training services for our new Apache helicopter fleet.

Separately, as per the announcement at Farnborough Airshow on 11 July 2016, Boeing are investing significantly in the UK creating more than 100 new jobs.

We are buying our new Apache AH-64E helicopters through a Foreign Military Sale with the United States Government. This approach delivers the best possible value for money for the UK taxpayer, allowing us to take advantage of established production lines and the resulting economies of scale, while ensuring we deliver a world-leading capability to our Armed Forces.

A number of UK companies have secured work on the global Apache supply chain, delivering products that will be used in our new helicopters and those being delivered to the US Army as well as other international customers. There will also be significant opportunities for UK companies to assist in the provision of support and training services for our new Apache helicopter fleet.

Separately, as per the announcement at Farnborough Airshow on 11 July 2016, Boeing are investing significantly in the UK creating more than 100 new jobs.

A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 07 September 2016

We are buying our new Apache AH-64E helicopters through a Foreign Military Sale with the United States Government. This approach delivers the best possible value for money for the UK taxpayer, allowing us to take advantage of established production lines and the resulting economies of scale, while ensuring we deliver a world-leading capability to our Armed Forces.

A number of UK companies have secured work on the global Apache supply chain, delivering products that will be used in our new helicopters and those being delivered to the US Army as well as other international customers. There will also be significant opportunities for UK companies to assist in the provision of support and training services for our new Apache helicopter fleet.

Separately, as per the announcement at Farnborough Airshow on 11 July 2016, Boeing are investing significantly in the UK creating more than 100 new jobs.

We are buying our new Apache AH-64E helicopters through a Foreign Military Sale with the United States Government. This approach delivers the best possible value for money for the UK taxpayer, allowing us to take advantage of established production lines and the resulting economies of scale, while ensuring we deliver a world-leading capability to our Armed Forces.

A number of UK companies have secured work on the global Apache supply chain, delivering products that will be used in our new helicopters and those being delivered to the US Army as well as other international customers. There will also be significant opportunities for UK companies to assist in the provision of support and training services for our new Apache helicopter fleet.

Separately, as per the announcement at Farnborough Airshow on 11 July 2016, Boeing are investing significantly in the UK creating more than 100 new jobs.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 20 July 2016
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Mercosur
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to negotiate a trade deal with the Mercosur trading bloc.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 09 September 2016

The EU is currently negotiating a trade deal with Mercosur. Until we have left the EU, the UK will remain a member of the EU with all of the rights and obligations that membership entails.

In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. The Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. The Government is currently reviewing its trade policy. We will engage fully with a broad range of stakeholders, including both governments and business over the coming weeks and months as we prepare for the negotiation with the EU and other international partners.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 20 July 2016
HM Treasury
Regional Planning and Development: North of England
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to further develop the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 05 September 2016

We have made huge progress in building a Northern Powerhouse, from investment in transport, enterprise and culture to agreeing five landmark devolution deals across the North. We remain fully committed to doing everything we can to strengthen the Northern Powerhouse, including investing £13bn in transport over the course of this parliament, further improving skills through the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy and encouraging even more foreign investment into the towns and cities of the North. Next year, 55% of the North’s population will vote for a mayor to oversee economic decision making in their local area.

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