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 Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Radioactive Waste: Dalgety Bay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what radiation remediation works have so far been carried out at Dalgety Bay; what further works are planned ;and when the works are expected to be complete.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Ministry of Defence, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Fife Council continue to work together to implement the agreed Management Strategy for the long-term management of radium contamination at Dalgety Bay.

Remediation is due to physically begin in April 2020 and be completed in September of the same year. The second phase of work is planned to begin in April 2021 and be completed in September 2021. Work cannot take place outside of these periods due to the disturbance that may be caused to wintering birds.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many nuclear-powered submarines have been dismantled under the Submarine Dismantling Project.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 11 April 2019

The National Audit Office published a report on 3 April 2019, following their investigation into submarine defueling and dismantling. The report acknowledges the complex nature of activities to defuel and dismantle our decommissioned submarines and includes the most recent information on the status of the submarines and projects involved.

The details can be found in Figure 5 of the report which is available at the following link:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Investigation-into-submarine-defueling-and-dismantling.pdf

We remain committed to the safe, secure and cost-effective defuelling and dismantling of our nuclear submarines as soon as is practically possible. This commitment is illustrated by the recent success with commencement of the initial dismantling of the submarine Swiftsure, which has been followed immediately by commencement of the initial dismantling of Resolution.

Grouped Questions: 240573 | 240574
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Rosyth Dockyard: Nuclear Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish which submarines are laid up in afloat storage at Rosyth waiting for dismantlng under the Submarine Dismantling Project; and on what date each of those submarines was laid up.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 11 April 2019

The National Audit Office published a report on 3 April 2019, following their investigation into submarine defueling and dismantling. The report acknowledges the complex nature of activities to defuel and dismantle our decommissioned submarines and includes the most recent information on the status of the submarines and projects involved.

The details can be found in Figure 5 of the report which is available at the following link:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Investigation-into-submarine-defueling-and-dismantling.pdf

We remain committed to the safe, secure and cost-effective defuelling and dismantling of our nuclear submarines as soon as is practically possible. This commitment is illustrated by the recent success with commencement of the initial dismantling of the submarine Swiftsure, which has been followed immediately by commencement of the initial dismantling of Resolution.

Grouped Questions: 240572 | 240574
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Devonport Dockyard: Nuclear Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which submarines are laid up in afloat storage at Devonport waiting for dismantlement under the Submarine Dismantling Project; and on what date each of those submarines was laid up.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 11 April 2019

The National Audit Office published a report on 3 April 2019, following their investigation into submarine defueling and dismantling. The report acknowledges the complex nature of activities to defuel and dismantle our decommissioned submarines and includes the most recent information on the status of the submarines and projects involved.

The details can be found in Figure 5 of the report which is available at the following link:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Investigation-into-submarine-defueling-and-dismantling.pdf

We remain committed to the safe, secure and cost-effective defuelling and dismantling of our nuclear submarines as soon as is practically possible. This commitment is illustrated by the recent success with commencement of the initial dismantling of the submarine Swiftsure, which has been followed immediately by commencement of the initial dismantling of Resolution.

Grouped Questions: 240572 | 240573
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Dounreay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Defence on 6 March 2014, Official Report column 1085, corrected on 11 March 2014, whether there had been a measurable change in the radiation discharge other than the alpha-emitting particulate discharge.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 10 April 2019

There was no measurable change in the alpha emitting particulate discharge from the Naval Reactor Test Establishment (NRTE). There was a measurable increase in the already very low levels of radioactive noble gases discharged; however, all discharges remained well below the levels authorised by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. The Shore Test Facility reactor at the NRTE ceased operations in July 2015.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Dounreay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many nuclear safety incidents were recorded in each of the last ten years of operation of the naval reactor test establishment at Dounreay.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 10 April 2019

In each of the last ten years of operation (from 2006 to 2015), no nuclear safety incidents have been recorded at the nuclear reactor test establishment at Dounreay.

The Ministry of Defence is using the definition of an "incident" as that meeting Level 1 of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INRS). The International Atomic Energy Agency established the INRS as an international standard to define the severity of nuclear accidents.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the impact assessments on the UK leaving the EU that he instructed NHS trusts to carry out in October 2018.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 10 April 2019

The self-assessment exercise referred to related only to non-clinical goods and services received by National Health Service trusts from external suppliers. The Department does not intend to publish the details of this impact assessment, as it contains supplier specific information that is considered to be commercially confidential.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Rosyth Dockyard: Nuclear Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many nuclear safety incidents were recorded at Rosyth in each of the last 20 years.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 10 April 2019

The information requested will take time to collate and I will write to the hon. Member when this has been completed.

Grouped Questions: 240576
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Devonport Dockyard: Nuclear Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many nuclear safety incidents were recorded at Devonport in each of the last 20 years.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 10 April 2019

The information requested will take time to collate and I will write to the hon. Member when this has been completed.

Grouped Questions: 240575
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Military Exercises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what notices his Department issues to civilian transport operators on potential interruptions to schedules as a result of military training exercises; how many notices were issued in each of the last five years; and what the locations were in relation to those notices.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The information on how many notices were issued and their locations is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Notice to Mariners can be found on The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office website at the following link:

https://www.ukho.gov.uk/nmwebsearch/.

The Army works in conjunction with Highways England to ensure that traffic disruption caused by military activity is kept to a minimum. If members of the public wish to check their route to identify any traffic disruptions they can do so via Traffic England: http://www.trafficengland.com, Traffic Scotland: http://www.trafficscotland.org or Traffic Wales: https://traffic.wales/

Notice to Airmen procedures are well established and details can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website at the following link:

http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php%3Foption=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=166&Itemid=4.html.

It should be noted that a user name and password is required to allow access.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation regularly put out newsletters and guidance on when exercises are taking place, and when the public can and cannot access the training estate. these can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/search/advanced?group=guidance_and_regulation&page=1&topic=%2Fdefence%2Fdefence-armed-forces-ministry-of-defence-estate-public-access

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Freedom of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance he has provided to local authorities on responding to freedom of information requests on preparations for the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Government has not issued guidance to local authorities on freedom of information (FOI) requests on preparations for leaving the European Union. It has provided guidance to members of local resilience forums who had received FOI queries on no deal planning.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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: 02 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has provided to health service organisations on responding to freedom of information requests on preparations for the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public sector organisations, including Government departments, public bodies, health trusts, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.

The Parliamentary and Public Accountability Agreements Protocols in place between the Department and its arm’s length bodies covers best practice for responding to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. This includes consulting with the Department where necessary and sets out that the Department’s FOI team will provide informal, impartial advice on relevant legislation and duties.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 28 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many financial mitigation payments have been made to MoD personnel based in Scotland in relation to the Scottish rate of income tax; and at what salary level those payments began.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 04 April 2019

No financial mitigation payments have yet been made to Ministry of Defence personnel resident in Scotland in relation to higher rates of Scottish income tax. Mitigation payments for Tax Year 2018-19 will be made in June 2019 to those with taxable earnings of £27,200 or more. Mitigation payments for Tax Year 2019-20 will be made in June 2020 to those with taxable earnings of £28,193 or more. It is estimated that up to 8,000 payments will be made in June 2019 and up to 7,000 payments in June 2020.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Church Commissioners
Church of England: Forests
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to her oral contribution of 28 March 2019, Official Report on the Archbishop's Council's Strategic Development Fund, if she will publish the forestry holdings of the Church of England.
A
Answered by: Dame Caroline Spelman
Answered on: 01 April 2019

As of December 2018 the forestry holdings of the Church Commissioners amounted to 103,138 acres across the United Kingdom, United States of America and Australia. The Church Commissioners most recent Annual Report sets out in more detail its timberland investments: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/Church%20Commissioners%20Annual%20Report%202017.pdf

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Church Commissioners
Forests: Scotland
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to her oral contribution of 28 March 2019, Official Report on the Archbishop's Council's Strategic Development Fund, whether it follows Scottish Natural Heritage's Biodiversity Duty Guidance and Advice in its forestry estates in Scotland.
A
Answered by: Dame Caroline Spelman
Answered on: 01 April 2019

All forests managed by the Church Commissioners conform to the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) and the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS), and have Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. The FSC is recognised by WWF as the “hallmark of responsible forest management”. The Church Commissioners are not required to report under the Scottish Natural Heritage's ‘Biodiversity Duty Guidance and Advice in its forestry estates in Scotland’, as this applies only to public bodies.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Church Commissioners
Forests: Scotland
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to the oral contribution of the Rt. hon. Member for Meriden, what steps the church takes to ensure that its forestry plantations in Scotland avoid monoculture plantings.
A
Answered by: Dame Caroline Spelman
Answered on: 01 April 2019

In order to comply with the Forestry Stewardship Council, UK Woodland Assurance Scheme and UK Forestry Standards, forests must contain a maximum of 75% primary species. Latest figures for forests in Scotland managed by the Church Commissioners show that they contain around 65% Sitka spruce, though that percentage was higher when the forests were first planted in the 1960s and 1970s. The remainder comprises native broadleaves and other conifer species such as Scots pine, Norway spruce, Douglas fir and open ground. Open ground makes up approximatley 19% of the area under management and mostly comprises native grasses, water (ponds, streams and rivers), heather and rock outcrops. The Church Commissioners will achieve at least 5% native broadleaves by the end of the first rotation.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 20 March 2019
Cabinet Office
Public Bodies
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to publish the Public Bodies 2018 report.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 28 March 2019

The Public Bodies 2018-19 report was published on Friday 22 March 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-bodies-2018-19-report

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 21 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Cambridge Analytica
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what meetings were held between (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department and Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica in December 2016.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 28 March 2019

I met Alexander Nix on 7 December 2016. The Foreign Secretary met Alexander Nix on 8 December 2016. FCO officials in London, Washington and New York occasionally met Alexander Nix and representatives from Cambridge Analytica starting in 2016. These meetings were part of normal diplomatic business aimed at understanding the 2016 presidential election in the US, the ensuing political environment, and the Trump Presidential campaign and transition team.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for International Trade
Food: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on food imports from the US of the United States-European Union Negotiations: Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives, published by the Office of the United States Trade representative in February 2019.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 19 March 2019

The US published its negotiating objectives for the EU in January 2019. These take a similar form to their objectives for other trade partners. As with all international negotiations, the publication of these objectives marks the beginning of the negotiating process and not the end.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Cabinet Office
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department has spent on social media advertising related to the UK leaving the EU in each of the last 24 months.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 18 March 2019

Cabinet Office spending on social media advertising related to the UK leaving the EU is available to November 2018. Spend for November 2018 onwards will be published in due course in line with normal data releases. Spend to November 2018 has been made public in previous data releases. This can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-spend-data.

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