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 Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hitachi
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safety record of Hitachi in relation to its nuclear power projects throughout the world.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

Nuclear power is proven technology with modern reactors capable of producing safe and secure low carbon electricity. Any reactor deployed in the UK must meet the robust independent regulatory requirements which include early assessment of the safety, security and environmental impacts of reactor designs through the Generic Design Assessment (GDA), prior to any application for a site-specific statutory Nuclear Site Licence. This is a robust process taking several years to complete, which ensures that all aspects of new station design are thoroughly assessed prior to construction and operation.

Hitachi’s UK ABWR reactor completed GDA in December 2017 and full details of that assessment are available at www.onr.org.uk/new-reactors/uk-abwr/index.htm.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake a public consultation on the use of funding from the public purse in support of a nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018, the Government has decided to enter into negotiations with Hitachi over the Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project. As part of these negotiations Government is considering direct investment into the project. Details of any Government investment are subject to negotiation and yet to be decided.

The Secretary of State made the statement at the earliest opportunity and committed to keeping Parliament informed during the negotiations, although due to the commercially sensitive nature of the negotiations, it is not appropriate to consult publicly on the details of the financing arrangements.

As set out in the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018 it remains the Government’s objective in the longer term that new nuclear projects, like other energy infrastructure, should be financed by the private sector.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power: Cost Effectiveness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria his Department plans to use to assess the value for money of financing arrangements for a new nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Government published a value for money assessment for Hinkley Point C at the time of the deal being signed and will carry out a value for money assessment for any future new nuclear project before a final deal is agreed.

The Government will, at the appropriate time, publish this assessment which would set out the criteria used to determine value for money of the financing arrangements.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Wylfa Power Station: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Oral Statement of 4 June 2018, on Nuclear Power, Official Report, column 76, if he will publish the direct investment being considered for Wylfa Newydd.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in Parliament on 4 June 2018, Hitachi and the UK Government have decided to enter into negotiations in relation to the proposed Wylfa Newydd project and Government is considering direct investment into the project. Details of any Government investment are subject to negotiation and yet to be decided.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals—including, but not limited to, value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements. These negotiations are commercially sensitive and no final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Wylfa Power Station: Cost Effectiveness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a comparative assessment of the value for money of (a) Wylfa Newydd nuclear project and (b) a low-carbon alternative electricity generator.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018, the Government has decided to enter into negotiations with Hitachi over the Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project. No final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project.

The Government published a value for money assessment for Hinkley Point C at the time of the deal being signed and will carry out a value for money assessment for any future new nuclear project before a final deal is agreed.

As the Government sent out in its response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Hinkley Point C on 25th January 2018, a review of the strategic case for new nuclear would form a key part of the value for money case for any proposed new nuclear project (as it was for Hinkley Point C). This would include a comparison across different technologies.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 Transport
Heathrow Airport: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of expansion at Heathrow Airport on (a) particulate emissions and (b) nitrogen oxide levels.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 June 2018

The Appraisal of Sustainability (AoS) that accompanies the proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) provides a strategic level assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of expansion, including on air quality. The AoS has been published on the DfT’s website and the relevant information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/appraisal-of-sustainability-for-the-proposed-airports-national-policy-statement

Should the proposed Airports NPS be designated, then it would be for the promoter to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality effects of the scheme, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigation measures.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 Transport
Heathrow Airport: Job Creation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the long-term sustainability of any jobs created by expansion at Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 June 2018

The Department for Transport has estimated the number of additional local jobs expected to be created by airport expansion in both 2030 and 2050. The Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme is expected to generate between 57,000 and 114,000 additional local jobs by 2030, and between 39,000 and 78,000 additional local jobs by 2050.

Additional jobs are a result of higher passenger traffic being generated at the airport. Expansion at Heathrow will lead to a significant increase in passenger numbers, which will continue beyond 2050. This is expected to create local jobs that are sustainable in the long-run.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of higher landing charges at Heathrow Airport on (a) the UK's and (b) Heathrow Airport's global competitiveness.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 June 2018

Airport charges at Heathrow Airport have fallen by almost £2 per passenger in real terms since 2014. In the context of expansion, the Civil Aviation Authority will determine an appropriate level of airport charges in line with its statutory duty to further the interest of consumers. The Secretary of State also set out a clear ambition in 2016 for airport charges to remain as close as possible to current levels.

The Airports Commission found that if there were any increase in charges at Heathrow as a result of expansion this would likely be absorbed by airlines, with passenger fares remaining unaffected or even falling further after the capacity constraints are released. The Government is also clear that the expansion of Heathrow will provide a significant boost to passengers and the wider economy even if airport charges were to increase modestly, and were passed on to passengers.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2018
Department for Transport
Regional Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has undertaken an assessment of the financial viability of using public service obligations to support regional airports; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 June 2018

As the Department’s ‘Guidance on the Protection of Regional Air Access to London’ states, the Department will conduct a Value for Money assessment on the economic case for any bids for funds. This was undertaken on each of the existing PSO routes to London, from Newquay, Dundee and Londonderry.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding the Government has allocated to support a connection to an expanded Heathrow Airport from regional airports.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 June 2018

The Government expects that the majority of domestic routes will be commercially viable, as many are today, with support from Heathrow Airport. This support includes discounted charges for domestic passengers at Heathrow, and a £10 million Route Connectivity Fund for domestic services to and from Heathrow.

The Government will also take action, where appropriate, to secure routes through the use of Public Service Obligations (PSOs). PSOs provide the opportunity to offer exclusive rights to airlines to operate a route. The Government currently provides subsidies for three PSO routes to London: Newquay to Gatwick; Londonderry to Stansted; and Dundee to Stansted.

The Government’s approach to domestic connectivity will be set out in a Green Paper on the Aviation Strategy towards the end of this year, and the extent to which subsidies may be required can only be determined subject to market conditions nearer to the time at which new capacity becomes operational.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the financial viability of the proposal to expand Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 June 2018

The Government and its advisers have undertaken considerable assurance work on the financial viability of Heathrow Airport Limited's scheme. Given the transformative nature of the scheme, there will inevitably be various risks and challenges that need to be addressed as the scheme design and regulatory framework are developed. The Government’s independent advice has concluded that, so far as can be assessed at this early stage of the process, in current market conditions Heathrow Airport Limited appears in principle to be able to finance expansion privately without Government support. This includes taking into consideration the effect of the UK leaving the European Union.

The Government is not publishing the financial assurance work that has been undertaken as it is based on and contains information provided in confidence, and to do so would prejudice commercial interests. Separately, the Civil Aviation Authority has published its own view that there are credible scenarios in which expansion can be financed and delivered affordably. This can be found online at:

(http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1658EconomicregulationofcapacityexpansionatHeathrow.pdf)

Grouped Questions: 152753
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish any assurance work undertaken by his Department on the financial viability of the proposal to expand Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 June 2018

The Government and its advisers have undertaken considerable assurance work on the financial viability of Heathrow Airport Limited's scheme. Given the transformative nature of the scheme, there will inevitably be various risks and challenges that need to be addressed as the scheme design and regulatory framework are developed. The Government’s independent advice has concluded that, so far as can be assessed at this early stage of the process, in current market conditions Heathrow Airport Limited appears in principle to be able to finance expansion privately without Government support. This includes taking into consideration the effect of the UK leaving the European Union.

The Government is not publishing the financial assurance work that has been undertaken as it is based on and contains information provided in confidence, and to do so would prejudice commercial interests. Separately, the Civil Aviation Authority has published its own view that there are credible scenarios in which expansion can be financed and delivered affordably. This can be found online at:

(http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1658EconomicregulationofcapacityexpansionatHeathrow.pdf)

Grouped Questions: 152752
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what policies the Government plans to adopt to ensure that expansion at Heathrow airport does not result in continued breaches of legal limits on air quality.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 June 2018

The Government believes that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme can be delivered without undermining the UK’s compliance with air quality limits, given the measures set out in the Government’s Air Quality Plan. The Government’s view has been informed by the air quality analysis of the Northwest Runway scheme, which was published in October 2017. It should be noted that this does not take into account scheme specific mitigations that any applicant could take forward to address its air quality impact.

The proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) requires the applicant to consider an extensive range of air quality mitigation measures, potentially including an emissions-based access charge. Development consent will only be granted if the Secretary of State is satisfied that, with mitigations, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations on air quality.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the total financial liability to the Government of the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Government is clear that the construction of the Northwest Runway at Heathrow will be financed entirely by the private sector. There is no financial liability to Government and no agreement with HAL that gives rise to a right to claim for damages, losses, liabilities, costs and/or expenses or any other relief.

The Government is also absolutely clear as to its responsibilities to Parliament when a liability or, indeed, a contingent liability is incurred. On 5 June, the Government laid before Parliament a Written Ministerial Statement and Departmental Minute that set out a contingent liability for statutory blight which will be incurred if the proposed Airports NPS is designated. The liability is contingent because the Government has rightly protected the tax payer by entering into a binding agreement with Heathrow Airport Limited whereby the airport assumes the financial liability for successful blight claims, if the scheme proceeds.

Grouped Questions: 152156
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 2018
Department for Transport
Regional Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the appropriate level of subsidy required to support connections to regional airports from an expanded Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Government is clear that the expansion at Heathrow is not only an opportunity to protect and strengthen existing routes but to secure new domestic routes to the benefit of passengers and business across the UK. The Government expects that the majority of these routes will be viable commercially, as many are today, with support from Heathrow Airport. This support includes discounted charges for domestic passengers, and a £10 million Route Connectivity Fund.

The Government will also take action, where appropriate, to secure routes through the use of Public Service Obligations (PSOs). PSOs provide the opportunity to offer exclusive rights to airlines to operate a route. Where this does not deliver the required level of connectivity, the Government may also offer subsidies to an airline to operate the route, which includes exemption from Air Passenger Duty.

The Government’s approach to domestic connectivity will be set out in a Green Paper on the Aviation Strategy towards the end of this year, and the extent to which subsidies will be required can only be determined subject to market conditions nearer to the time of new capacity becoming operational.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with HM Treasury on the size of the financial contribution required by Government to support rail access schemes into an expanded Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Secretary of State has regular discussions on a variety of matters with HM Treasury.

In line with the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework, and the proposed Airports National Policy Statement, where a surface transport scheme is not solely required to deliver airport capacity and has a wider range of beneficiaries, the Government, along with relevant stakeholders, will consider the need for a public funding contribution alongside an appropriate contribution from the airport on a case by case basis.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 2018
Department for Transport
Regional Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many slots will be guaranteed for connections to regional airports in the UK as a result of the expansion of Heathrow airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Secretary of State has a clear ambition for about 15 Per cent of slots made available from a new runway to be used for domestic routes. We expect that the majority of these routes will be commercially viable with support from Heathrow Airport Limited.

Government will also take action, where appropriate, to secure routes through the use of Public Service Obligations. This will include ring fencing appropriately timed slots. Further detail on the Government’s targets and commitments on domestic connectivity will be detailed in a Green Paper on the Aviation Strategy which will be published towards the end of 2018.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the total liability to the public purse is of the proposal to expand Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Government is clear that the construction of the Northwest Runway at Heathrow will be financed entirely by the private sector. There is no financial liability to Government and no agreement with HAL that gives rise to a right to claim for damages, losses, liabilities, costs and/or expenses or any other relief.

The Government is also absolutely clear as to its responsibilities to Parliament when a liability or, indeed, a contingent liability is incurred. On 5 June, the Government laid before Parliament a Written Ministerial Statement and Departmental Minute that set out a contingent liability for statutory blight which will be incurred if the proposed Airports NPS is designated. The liability is contingent because the Government has rightly protected the tax payer by entering into a binding agreement with Heathrow Airport Limited whereby the airport assumes the financial liability for successful blight claims, if the scheme proceeds.

Grouped Questions: 152152
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 April 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer to Question 136780, on British Overseas Territories: Marine Protected Areas, which Blue Belt programme activities those payments of Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science staff salaries were associated with in (a) 2016-17 and (b) 2017-18.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 02 May 2018

Under the Blue Belt initiative in 2016/17, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) provided advice on marine resources and their current management; undertook baseline assessment and gap analysis of each of the Overseas Territories (OT) to determine their marine management status and future needs. Cefas also procured a deep-water camera system to provide data for baselining and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas, including evaluating the impacts of fishing gear on habitats.

In 2017/18, Cefas assisted the Tristan da Cunha Government with the planning and implementation of a marine protection strategy including an extensive programme of work to help the OT sustainably manage existing and developing fisheries, supporting the local economy. In collaboration with British Antarctic Survey and the OT Governments, Cefas planned and implemented scientific surveys in Tristan and St Helena maritime areas. Cefas also instigated tagging programmes for commercially exploited tuna and grouper species in the St Helena waters, which are providing valuable data on the ecology of these species. Cefas has recently undertaken a camera survey of the South Georgia MPA to investigate the impact of longline fishing gear on the marine ecosystem. Cefas assisted the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration in developing a detailed marine management plan for the existing MPA. Cefas has also providing training to staff from Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha and St Helena and procured safety equipment for staff and vessels working in the Tristan and St Helena maritime zones.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 April 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer to Question 136780, on British Overseas Territories: Marine Protected Areas, which Blue Belt programme activities those payments of Marine Management Organisation staff salaries were associated with in (a) 2016-17 and (b) 2017-18.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 02 May 2018

Under the Blue Belt initiative during 2016-2017, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) staffing costs were primarily focused on initial programme development and assessment of Overseas Territory (OT) needs. The MMO undertook assessment of the effectiveness of satellite surveillance trials across the relevant OT, undertook a baseline assessment of new and innovative technologies to complement maritime enforcement and provided legal drafting support to St Helena Government.

During 2017-2018, MMO established a central compliance and enforcement intelligence hub in the UK's National Maritime Information Centre to develop risk analysis profiles for each of the relevant OTs and provide technical support to OTs in monitoring incursions in their waters. The MMO supported the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands in developing a clearer fisheries compliance framework; comprehensive compliance and enforcement training to the British Indian Ocean Territory and supported enforcement patrols in Tristan da Cunha and Ascension.

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