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
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 16 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle alcohol abuse.
Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 July 2018
Home Office
Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what criteria his Department uses to determine whether to accept refugees recommended for resettlement in the UK by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 10 July 2018

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has well-established procedures and criteria for identifying and resettling the most vulnerable refugees. This includes: Legal and or Physical Protection Needs; Survivors of Torture and/or Violence; Medical Needs; Women and Girls at Risk; Family Reunification; Children and Adolescents at Risk and Lack of Foreseeable Alternative Durable Solutions. Further information on UNHCR ‘Submission Categories’ can be found on the UNHCR website http://www.unhcr.org/558bff849.pdf

When refugees arrive in the UK they have all been through a thorough two-stage vetting process. We retain the right to reject individuals on security, war crimes or other grounds.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 27 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Plastics: Commonwealth
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 25 June 2018 to Question 155717 on plastics: marine environment, how much Official Development Assistance funding has been allocated to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework; and what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that framework benefits people (a) living in poverty affected by mismanaged waste and (b) working in the informal waste management sector in developing countries.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 02 July 2018

The exact mix of the UK’s contribution to the Framework will be agreed in the autumn when large research programmes bids, including an Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme, are complete. The Framework will strengthen capacity to prevent plastics from becoming waste and getting into the oceans. Interdisciplinary research and innovation will develop social, economic and environmental solutions to waste management challenges at local, national and Commonwealth scales.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 27 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Antarctic: Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many full-time equivalent permanent staff in his Department are allocated to working on negotiations towards securing an agreement on the proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea at the next annual meeting of the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 02 July 2018

​Issues pertaining to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources are covered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Polar Regions Department, which currently has 6.5 full-time equivalent permanent staff. This team is also supported on the development of the Weddell Sea Marine Protection Area proposal by FCO Legal Advisers and scientific and technical experts from the British Antarctic Survey and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 27 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Thorium
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to p2 of Small nuclear power: Government response to the Fourth Report of the Energy and Climate Change Committee 2014-15, HC 1105, what further analysis has been undertaken to understand the implications on waste management and disposal of using thorium fuels; and if he will commission a study to confirm the potential benefits of thorium in the longer-term and how any potential barriers to its use might be overcome.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 02 July 2018

No further analysis has been undertaken to understand the implications on waste management and disposal of using thorium fuels. There are currently no plans to commission a study to confirm the potential benefits of thorium in the longer-term and how any potential barriers to its use might be overcome.

The successful bidders for Phase 1 of the Advanced Modular Reactor Feasibility & Development Programme were announced on 28th June. It should be noted that none of the eight designs that will be given an opportunity to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of their designs plan to use thorium fuels.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 10 May 2018 to Question 140661 on seas and oceans: for what reasons the Government abstained on the vote on motion 053 on increasing marine protected area coverage for effective marine biodiversity conservation at the 2016 Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 28 June 2018

The Congress is the governing body of the IUCN but its motions are advisory in nature and are not legally binding on any of its members. The globally agreed target, under both the Convention on Biological Diversity and under Sustainable Development Goal 14, for MPAs and other effective area based management tools is 10% by 2020. Negotiations on revision to this target will conclude under the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020. The UK has in excess of 23% of its waters within MPAs, with further expansion planned.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Birds: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will add swifts to (a) Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the (b) UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of priority species.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 26 June 2018

All wild birds, including swifts, are protected through the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides a powerful framework for the conservation of wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. There is no clear evidence that swift populations would benefit from the additional special penalties Schedule 1 birds are protected by, therefore the Government has no plans to add the swift to the Schedule at the current time.

Biodiversity is a devolved issue. The list of priority species in England is kept under review by Natural England and there are no plans to amend it to include the swift. The list consists of ‘species of principal conservation importance’ under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act; the UK Biodiversity Action Plan is no longer in place.

The priority species list is not the only means of informing action for species conservation in England. The swift has now been identified as an amber listed species in the UK Birds of Conservation Concern, which we would take into account in planning conservation action.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Housing: Insulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) builders and (b) homeowners receive guidance on legislation relating to (a) nesting birds and (b) the protection of nests during the breeding season.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 26 June 2018

Natural England provides guidance in its publication ‘Wild Birds: Surveys and mitigation for development projects’ to help builders and planners assess the impacts of developments on wild birds.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Plans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the National Planning Policy Framework will require local plans to include biodiversity protection.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 25 June 2018

This Government is committed to protecting our natural environment. We consulted on the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which included that plans should, amongst other things, identify and map components of local wildlife-rich habitats, including the hierarchy of designated sites of importance for biodiversity as well as to identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity. The consultation closed on 10 May 2018 and we are currently considering responses. The revised NPPF and the Government’s response will be published this summer and will ensure that the homes the country needs are built and the environment protected.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Bricks
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require Swift bricks to be incorporated into (a) new build properties and (b) restoration and renewal building projects.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 25 June 2018

The Government welcomes any action by individual developers who wish to provide nesting facilities for birds, such as Swift bricks, but has no plans to legislate on this matter.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 20 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Plastics: Marine Environment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework will have funding allocated from Official Development Aid.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 25 June 2018

The UK £25m contribution to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework will come from a number of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA sources, including planned government-funded research and innovation activities and new activities from unallocated budgets.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 18 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the background data on the methodology for the new greenhouse gas national inventory report will be published; how information on UK grass and fodder production is calculated; and what data is used in that calculation.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 21 June 2018

Details of the methodology for calculating emissions from the agricultural sector within the UK’s Inventory of Greenhouse Gasses have been published in the UK’s national inventory report, which is publicly available via the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website.

The inventory’s estimate of emissions from fodder and grassland production is calculated based on statistical data detailing: the area of crop and grassland production from the June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture; typical UK fertilisation rates for those crops from the British Survey of Fertiliser Practice; and standardised greenhouse gas emissions factors based on UK-specific measurements.

The methodology is based upon a long term research programme supported by Defra under the UK GHG Research and Development Platform. The platform brought together over 100 scientists from 16 research institutes, and engaged industry experts to ensure the inventory was fit for purpose, and accurately reflected UK farming practices. The programme included projects to undertake detailed measurements of methane and nitrous oxide from typical UK farming systems. Reports for these projects are available online via Defra’s R&D portal.

A third project integrated existing data sources with the new data collected via the platform and developed modelling tools to support the national inventory. The final report for this project is undergoing quality assurance and will be published by the end of this year.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 18 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Agriculture: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason emissions from agricultural farming in the greenhouse gas national inventory report do not include emissions from (a) feed produced overseas, (b) transportation, (c) cooking, (d) food waste, (e) refrigeration, (f) air conditioning, (g) waste disposal and (h) soils treated with nitrogen fertilisers.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The UK is an Annex I party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC adopted the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (https://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/2006gl/) for Annex I countries in Decision 24/CP.19. The UK is thus required to make use of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines in the compilation of the UK’s greenhouse gas inventory. These guidelines define four sectors: Energy, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) and Waste. The guidelines also define national greenhouse gas inventories as including only emissions which take place within each country’s territorial boundary. This applies to your question as follows:

a) emissions from feed produced overseas are out of scope of national greenhouse gas inventories

b) emissions from transportation are included in the Energy sector

c) emissions from cooking are included in the Energy sector

d) emissions from food waste are included in the Waste sector

e) emissions from refrigeration are included in the Energy and IPPU sectors

f) emissions from air conditioning are included in the Energy and IPPU sectors

g) emissions from waste disposal are included in the Waste sector

h) emissions from soils treated with nitrogen fertilisers are included in the AFOLU sector

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Support for Mortgage Interest
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2018 to Question 136602 on Support for Mortgage Interest, how many and what proportion of Support for Mortgage Interest claimants have (a) decided to take out and (b) declined the loan offered by her Department in each English region.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 18 June 2018

The information requested is not available at regional level and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Biodiversity
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many full-time equivalent permanent staff of his Department are allocated to working on (a) preparations and (b) negotiations for the post-2020 framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 14 June 2018

There are approximately three to four full time equivalent permanent Defra staff, plus employees of Defra delivery bodies, working on preparations for the post-2020 framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Of these approximately two full time equivalent permanent staff are involved in negotiations.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department's resources and waste strategy due to be published later this year is planned to include policies to achieve greater transparency on the reporting by retailers of food waste produced (a) in their operations and (b) throughout their supply chains.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 13 June 2018

Food waste has a financial and environmental cost and is an issue requiring urgent action. Through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the UK has taken concerted action since 2007 and we are leading the way in the EU and internationally.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious ten-year voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system to identify priorities, develop solutions and implement changes at scale, both within signatory organisations and by spreading new best practice across the UK. A core part of Courtauld 2025 is the measurement of food waste as this is vital to record progress towards meeting national and international targets.

As part of Courtauld 2025 the Institute of Grocery Distribution and WRAP have worked with a wide range of business representatives to develop a set of principles on how to measure food that goes to waste. We support the actions of several retailers in measuring and publishing their food surplus and waste data and encourage other food businesses to follow their lead. The Resources and Waste Strategy will set out further policies on food waste later in the year.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the recommendation passed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature at is Congress in 2016 to increase the percentage of marine areas highly protected to 30 per cent by 2030 under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 12 June 2018

As set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, we will use the UK’s influence to build support for an ambitious post-2020 international biodiversity strategy through the Convention on Biological Diversity.

This will include consideration of a wide range of scientific advice and information including the IUCN’s recommendation. The UK already has an excellent record on delivering Marine Protected Areas. We have protected over 23% of our mainland waters, exceeding the current international target of 10% set by the Convention on Biological Diversity and Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 119 of his Department's 25 Year Environment Plan, published on 11 January 2018, what evidence he considered to inform the UK’s position on a post-2020 target for ocean conservation under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 12 June 2018

Officials are currently working with partners domestically and internationally to create a robust evidence base to inform the post-2020 biodiversity agenda and develop ambitious, impactful and integrated targets for terrestrial, coastal and marine environments.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of (a) the total agricultural payment budget that will be made available after 2022 and (b) the proportion of the farm payment budget allocated to (i) public goods payments and (ii) other policy objectives after 2022; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 12 June 2018

The UK Government made a manifesto commitment that the amount we allocate to farming support, in cash terms, will be protected until the end of this Parliament and that a new, funded scheme would be rolled out thereafter. We have also committed to an agricultural transition period to phase in any changes. No final decisions have yet been taken on funding allocations between different objectives after 2022.

Q
(Bristol East)
Asked on: 23 May 2018
Department for International Trade
Andy Hall
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he has made representations to his Thai counterpart during his recent visit to Thailand on the conviction of human rights activist Andy Hall.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 08 June 2018

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by my Rt Hon. Friend Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific (Mark Field) on 30 April 2018, UIN 136959.

The UK has a wide-ranging relationship with Thailand on prosperity, education and security issues. My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade's visit to Thailand was to set out the future of our bilateral trading relationship and show UK commitment to free trade. Human rights continue to be at the core of our values and we are fully aligned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's commitment to raising these issues in the Government's diplomatic engagements overseas. As my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State did in Bangkok, covering the issues that Mr Hall works on, although his specific case was not raised.

The British Government supports the right of human rights defenders to carry out their work without fear of harassment or reprisals. We also support full implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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