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 Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 23 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Public Footpaths: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the gross amount was of funding made available for footpath maintenance in England in the 2018-19 financial year.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 06 September 2019

The Government does not collect the data of what has been spent by local highway authorities which are responsible for maintenance of other public rights of way.

The Government funded spending on National Trails maintenance was £1.81m in 2018/19.

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: 24 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's timescale is for bringing forward legislative proposals to implement its commitment to achieving WHO guideline limits on air pollution by 2030.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 06 September 2019

We will share more detail on policy measures for consideration in the Environment Bill in due course.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
[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: 25 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many tonnes of plastic waste was sent to landfill by each local authority in the most recent year for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 06 September 2019

Local authorities do not report waste sent to landfill by material type and therefore the Government does not hold this data.

Q
Asked by Mary Creagh
(Wakefield)
[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: 25 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Health Services: Weather
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the tenth special report of the Environmental Audit Committee, published on 24 October 2018 on Heatwaves: adapting to climate change: Government Response to the Committee's ninth report, HC 826, whether the Government has updated the adaptation guidance for local authorities.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 06 September 2019

Yes. On 27 June a new good practice guidance document was published to help local authorities strengthen preparedness to climate change risks: www.adeptnet.org.uk/climategpg.

Q
Asked by Mary Creagh
(Wakefield)
[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: 25 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Climate Change
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the tenth special report of the Environmental Audit Committee, published on 24 October 2018 on Heatwaves: adapting to climate change: Government Response to the Committee's ninth report, HC 826, whether the Government plans to reinstate the regional climate change partnerships.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 06 September 2019

The Government works closely with an extensive set of stakeholders to build resilience to climate change risks across the whole country, including with the Local Adaptation Advisory Panel (LAAP), the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, and Core Cities. In particular we support the LAAP, the forum on climate change adaptation at a local level, which brings together central and local government and agencies to promote and deliver adaptation in the local government sector.

In November last year we launched a new set of UK Climate Projections 2018 (UKCP18), commissioned from the Met Office. UKCP18 is the first major update to the UK’s national climate change projections for nearly ten years, and this time it includes global and regional scenarios. The Government will use UKCP18 to inform its adaptation and mitigation planning and decision making, and the projections will also help local authorities, businesses and communities to take action to improve resilience.

This year we will be releasing a new addition to UKCP18 in the form of local projections on a similar resolution to that of operational weather forecast models (i.e. 2.2km). This will provide locally relevant information to inform decision making on future climate change to enhance resilience.

Q
(Coventry South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 23 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Recycling: Sri Lanka
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to prevent the export of (a) hazardous and (b) medical UK waste to Sri Lanka as recycling.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 05 September 2019

It is prohibited to export hazardous waste from the UK to countries, such as Sri Lanka, which are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The export of non-hazardous healthcare wastes for recycling to countries outside the OECD is permissible when following a prior written notification and consent procedure, and would require the consent of the competent authorities in the countries of import and export prior to shipment. No such consent has been issued in respect of exports of healthcare wastes to Sri Lanka.

The UK environmental regulators take a proactive, intelligence led approach to checking compliance with the legislation, targeting exports which pose a high risk and intervening to stop illegal exports. In 2017/18, the Environment Agency issued 158 stop notices, prohibiting the export of unsuitable waste. It stopped 367 containers of waste destined for illegal export at ports and intervened further upstream to prevent 8,974 tonnes of waste from reaching our ports. Any UK operators found to be illegally exporting waste can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to two years.

Q
(Birmingham, Hall Green)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 24 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Joint Air Quality Unit vehicle checking software will be ready by February 2020.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Yes.

Q
Asked by Chuka Umunna
(Streatham)
Asked on: 19 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's Guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there's no deal, which parts of the Government’s plan for maintaining environmental standards in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal have been implemented.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 01 August 2019

In reference to the technical notice issued, most of the necessary legislative work has been undertaken in Parliament and the devolved administrations. There is a small number of statutory instruments to be undertaken as further changes in EU law are anticipated.

Draft clauses have been prepared for the Environment Bill to include the establishment of the Office of Environmental Protection, which is due to proceed in the next Parliamentary session.

IT systems are already in place for the government, regulators and competent authorities to undertake any regulatory duties.

Q
(Barnsley 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 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to (a) Barnsley local authority and (b) local authorities in England to encourage them to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 31 July 2019

We are taking strong action to tackle waste crime. We have created a Joint Unit on Waste Crime. The Environment Agency has received an extra £60m to tackle waste crime since 2014. We have updated legislation regulating waste. These include increasing the powers for the Environment Agency to tackle problem waste sites, enhanced technical competence requirements for permitted waste sites, and introducing new penalties for breaches of the duty of care for household waste. We will further reform the legislative framework for the waste duty of care and carriers, brokers and dealers, mandating the digital tracking of waste (subject to consultation), tackling the waste exemptions most often linked to criminal activity and enhancing operator competence.

We are developing a toolkit for local authorities and others to tackle fly-tipping, including specific guidance on strengthening evidence for prosecution cases. We will work with magistrates and the Judicial Office to raise awareness for magistrates of the prevalence and importance of tackling waste crime, including fly-tipping, and offer training in the environmental offences sentencing guideline.

The Government has provided local authorities with over £200 billion for this spending period. While councils make their own spending decisions, we would expect councils to prioritise these to deliver what their residents want to see, including investing in tackling fly-tipping.

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
[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: 22 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Climate Change: Equality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of climate change on social and economic inequality in the UK.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The Government has not made such a specific assessment though we do consider the distributional impact of our interventions on different groups, including low income households, in our adaptation planning.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/climate-change-second-national-adaptation-programme-2018-to-2023

Q
Asked by Sandy Martin
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste Management: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department provides to local authorities for investment in waste and recycling facilities.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

The Government has provided local government with over £200 billion for this spending period and while councils make their own spending decisions, we would expect councils to prioritise what they do to deliver what their residents want to see and to invest in waste and recycling facilities as necessary to ensure good waste management practice.

The Government is also investing around £3 billion of grant funding in 24 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) waste infrastructure projects. These grants support infrastructure including material recovery, mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion facilities, as well as implementing and expanding kerbside recycling services.

Q
Asked by Sandy Martin
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Waste Disposal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the cost to the public purse of the introduction of separate food waste collections throughout England.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

In the supporting impact assessment to our consultation on consistency in recycling, we modelled three scenarios on how that policy could be delivered, all including separate food waste collection. In the preferred option of that impact assessment (option 3, which for local authorities includes weekly separate food waste, free garden waste, weekly dry multi-stream recycling and fortnightly residual waste collections) the overall cost to the public purse is estimated to be just under £260 million a year between 2023-2035.

This comprises: local authority initial costs and subsequent savings; lost revenue to the Exchequer from local authority and business waste diverted away from landfill; lost garden waste income to local authorities; and policy costs to Government in supporting waste collection changes to municipal business.

The full impact assessment is available from the following link: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/consultation-on-consistency-in-household-and-busin/supporting_documents/recycleconsistencyconsultia.pdf

We will refine our analysis based on consultation feedback and engagement with the sector.

Q
Asked by Sandy Martin
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Landfill: Methane
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has made available to waste disposal authorities for the prevention of methane emissions from closed landfill sites.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

No funding has been made available by the Department to disposal authorities for the prevention of methane emissions from closed landfill sites.

Q
Asked by Sandy Martin
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping: Fines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much revenue has been raised from fines for fly-tipping in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

Over the last five years fines totalling £3,332,214 have been levied by the courts in England on offenders convicted of fly-tipping offences prosecuted by local authorities.

Further detailed data about fly-tipping, including fines, in England is publicly available at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england.

Q
Asked by Sandy Martin
(Ipswich)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nappies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support was available to re-useable nappy schemes in each year since 2005.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

The Department does not hold this information.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Waste Disposal
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on volumes of food waste collected in the event of local authorities introducing food waste collections separate to other waste collections.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

Our analysis shows that if all local authorities provide at least kerbside properties (as opposed to flats) with a separate food waste collection service, this would increase the amount of food waste collected by 1.35 million tonnes by 2029.

Q
Asked by Ben Lake
(Ceredigion)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection: UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on ensuring the UK Shared Prosperity Fund contributes to the achievement of the goals set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

The previous Secretary of State had regular discussions on a range of issues with those ministers. Officials are working closely together on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to ensure it supports a range of Government priorities.

Q
Asked by Chuka Umunna
(Streatham)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
LIFE Environment Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which parts of the Government’s plan for Funding for UK LIFE projects in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal (a) have and (b) have not been implemented.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the Government has guaranteed the EU LIFE Programme funding due to UK organisations, in line with the technical notice published on this issue. We have well developed contingency plans to implement this guarantee, if required. More information on the technical notices published by the Government on the guarantee and the funds covered by it can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-for-uk-life-projects-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/funding-for-uk-life-projects-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mining: Seas and Oceans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the (a) effect on and (b) risks to the environment of deep sea mining; and if he will make it his policy to pursue a moratorium.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

Defra is investigating the risks and environmental effects of deep sea mining through a cross Government working group including Cefas, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The working group is supported by input from the National Oceanography Centre, Natural History Museum and British Geological Survey who are involved in a number of ongoing academic projects considering the impacts of deep sea mining. In addition, FCO and Defra commissioned a workshop in February 2019 which brought together UK universities, industry and consultancies involved in the assessment of deep sea mining activities, to share information, progress and research findings. The outputs of these discussions are being used to inform the UK’s input into the development of regulations, standards and guidelines at the International Seabed Authority.

The UK is pushing for transparent, science-based and environmentally sound regulation of seabed mining by the International Seabed Authority to ensure effective protections of deep sea habitats and biodiversity while allowing UK businesses to realise the commercial opportunities.

We are using our influence to secure the adoption of a mining code in 2020 that provides for robust and accountable oversight of mining activity. This includes (i) enshrining the precautionary principle and an ecosystem approach in the mining code; (ii) ensuring that in addition to the core regulations, effective and binding standards and guidelines to ensure environmentally sound mining have been adopted before exploitation licences are granted, and that these reflect the different environmental and other features of the different mineral deposits; (iii) ensuring that Regional Environmental Management Plans (REMPs) with robust environmental objectives are established before exploitation licences can be granted and that there is a clear regulatory link between the REMPs and exploitation licences; and (iv) allowing for the suspension of mining activities when operators fail to adhere to environmental safeguards or where new evidence of risk of serious harm arises.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seabed: Mining
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral evidence given by his Department’s Chief Scientist Professor Gideon Henderson to the Environmental Audit Committee on 16 October 2018, what the implications are for his policies of the statement that deep sea mining will do substantial damage to that local environment on the seabed, and that is pretty much unavoidable; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 30 July 2019

The UK is pushing for transparent, science-based and environmentally sound regulation of seabed mining by the International Seabed Authority to ensure effective protections of deep sea habitats and biodiversity while allowing UK businesses to realise the commercial opportunities.

We are using our influence to secure the adoption of a mining code in 2020 that provides for robust and accountable oversight of mining activity. This includes (i) enshrining the precautionary principle and an ecosystem approach in the mining code; (ii) ensuring that in addition to the core regulations, effective and binding standards and guidelines to ensure environmentally sound mining have been adopted before exploitation licences are granted, and that these reflect the different environmental and other features of the different mineral deposits; (iii) ensuring that Regional Environmental Management Plans (REMPs) with robust environmental objectives are established before exploitation licences can be granted and that there is a clear regulatory link between the REMPs and exploitation licences; and (iv) allowing for the suspension of mining activities when operators fail to adhere to environmental safeguards or where new evidence of risk of serious harm arises.

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