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Rendering Industry

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the cost per tonne for the collection, transport, administration and processing of high-risk material by the rendering industry for the next three years when the current scheme is phased out. [25096]

Dr. John Cunningham [holding answer 26 Janaury 1998]: This is a commercial matter for the rendering industry. However, it has been estimated that the average cost of rendering, including the collection, transport, administration costs, is £80/tonne.

Organophosphates

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if SEAC has investigated possible links between (a) Phosmet and (b) other organophosphate compounds and BSE; and if he will make a statement. [24696]

Dr. John Cunningham [holding answer 26 January 1998]: At a meeting on 24 October 1997, SEAC considered further papers relevant to the hypothesis that the organophosphate (OP), Phosmet, is in some way causally linked to the BSE epidemic. It was noted that the epidemiological evidence is better accounted for by the view that the BSE epidemic is due to the widespread use of animal feed contaminated with the transmissible agent of BSE than by the organophosphate theory. The Committee concluded that experimental evidence would be required to justify further consideration of a role for organophosphates in the epidemiology of BSE.

Specified Risk Material

Mr. Jack: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the actions planned by the EU Commission to adopt the decision 97/534/EC of 30 July 1997 on the exclusion of specified risk material. [25249]

Dr. John Cunningham [holding answer 26 January 1998]: I understand that the Commission intend to table an amended Decision to replace 97/534 before its planned coming into force date on 1 April 1998. As part of this process, the Commission have asked the Scientific Steering Committee for advice on a number of issues by the end of January. On the basis of past practice, I would expect the Commission to consider that advice and put proposals for an amended Decision to the Standing Veterinary Committee.

Green Pound Compensation

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the levels of green pound compensation claimed for production of (i) beef, (ii) cereals, (iii) milk and (iv) sugar by each of the other EU states, showing what percentage is nationally funded and indicating where appropriate which payments are subject to the Fontainebleau mechanism. [25241]

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Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Full figures are available for notifications made up to 1 July 1997. At this date, agrimonetary compensation notified by each of the other EU Member States was as follows:

MECUBeefCerealsMilkSugarNational funding (per cent.)
Belgium15.13.216.84.134
Luxembourg1.80.62.8--50
Netherlands18.33.152.55.3Nil
Austria12.9--16.81.5Nil
Ireland39.14.839.61.9Nil
Sweden6.56.319.12.2Nil

Germany and Denmark both paid aid for general measures beneficial to the agricultural industry.


The Fontainebleau mechanism affects the UK's contribution to the EU budget and will therefore reduce the UK's share of the cost of these measures.

High-risk Material (Disposal)

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what tonnage of fallen stock, animal waste and other tissue categorised as high risk by EU directive 90/667 has been produced in the United Kingdom over the last three years for which figures are available. [25083]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Figures are not available for the tonnage of high risk material produced in the United Kingdom although the Licensed Animal Slaughterers' and Salvage Association has estimated that around 300,000 tonnes are produced annually.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce interim financial support to enable those engaged in the collection and disposal of fallen stock in the United Kingdom to continue to operate on a nation-wide basis in the period before the implementation of United Kingdom legislation consistent with EU environmental health and commercial objectives. [25093]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: There is already UK legislation implementing EU legislation in this area. The livestock industry has a great deal to gain from maintaining public confidence in its ability to dispose of its waste in a sustainable manner. I expect it to meet the costs of disposing of fallen stock.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to legislate to control or proscribe on-farm burial. [25085]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: There is already legislation to control on-farm burial. The Animal By-Products Order 1992, as amended, permits the burial of fallen stock only in certain circumstances and requires burial to be at a depth beyond the reach of carnivorous animals. Under the Water Resources Act 1991, it is an offence to cause or knowingly permit a discharge of poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or solid waste matter into any controlled waters without the proper authority. The European Commission is reviewing the disposal options for fallen stock and may come forward with proposals for further EU legisation.

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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the current requirements to charge for processing high-risk material; and what estimate he has made of the value of dead stock which will in future be buried in-farm when the charges commence. [25084]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: It is a commercial matter for renderers whether to charge for processing high risk material. State Veterinary Service staff have been asked to report incidents of unlawful disposal of dead stock on farm.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the cost per tonne of the disposal of high-risk material via landfill in each of the next three years. [25097]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Since 1 January 1998, the Animal By-Products (Amendment) Order 1997 has restricted the use of landfill for the disposal of unprocessed animal by-products. Where landfill is permitted, the cost of disposal is a commercial matter for individual waste suppliers to negotiate with the landfill sites concerned.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts about the potential increased use of dead animal pits on United Kingdom farms. [25088]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: No such discussions have taken place.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to review the Code of Good Animal Practice as it relates to on-farm burial. [25086]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water, which provides advice on burial on-farm, has recently been reviewed and it will be issued soon.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the likely effect on the negotiations currently under way to lift the EU export ban on beef of increased use of dead pits on UK farms as a route of disposal for fallen stock. [25091]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: EU Directive 90/667, which permits the burial on-farm of fallen stock only in certain circumstances, applies to all Member States. GB legislation reflects the provisions in the Directive. This subject is also addressed by the Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water. This issue of fallen stock has not been raised in the course of negotiations on our proposals for lifting the beef export ban.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those EU countries which currently allow an on-farm disposal route for fallen stock. [25090]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: An accurate list is not available but it is believed that most Member States permit on-farm burial of fallen stock, although in a number of countries it is allowed only in limited circumstances.

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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will review the effectiveness of the Rendering Industry Support Scheme as a means of allowing the knacker/fallen stock trade to provide a low-cost disposal service to the farmer and livestock producers; [25095]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The objective of the support to the rendering industry was to avoid the disorderly collapse of the meat chain in the immediate aftermath of the BSE crisis. This was achieved. Support of £97 million was first paid under the rendering industry support arrangements in 1996-97 and up to £59 million has been available in 1997-98. The conditions in the spring of 1996 which gave rise to the threat of collapse of the meat chain no longer exist and there are no plans to continue to support for the disposal of animal waste in 1998-99.

Following the election, the Government carefully considered representations made by a wide range of interested bodies before confirming the phasing out of support in 1997-98. There are no plans to review the position again. The livestock industry has a great deal to gain from maintaining public confidence in its ability to dispose of its waste in a sustainable manner. I therefore expect it to meet the cost of disposing of fallen stock.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the impact black-market disposal of fallen stock on-farm would have on the traceability measures currently planned to enable the EU to sanction the lifting of the beef export ban. [25089]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 December 1998]: Fallen stock must be disposed of so that they do not enter the human foodchain and there are already measures to prevent such entry from taking place. The computerised database which will be introduced later this year will improve tracing of cattle, including those which die on farm.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what assessment he has made of the implications of a dead pit disposal route for fallen stock on the authorities charged with monitoring the quality of private water supplies in rural areas; [25094]

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Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: I would expect local authorities to continue monitoring private water supplies in areas where burial pits are used to dispose of fallen stock. The use of burial pits, and other methods of on-farm burial, is controlled by legislation and reinforced by the Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of the Water to avoid contaminating the environment or posing a disease risk.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many businesses operating in the United Kingdom currently offer a fallen stock collection service to the livestock sectors in each country. [25081]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Many knackers' yards and hunt kennels offer a collection service for fallen stock. The total number of these businesses in counties where they exist is as follows:

Number
Borders\Lothian6
Cambridgeshire9
Cardiff17
Carmarthenshire26
Cheshire2
Co. Antrim5
Co. Down1
Co. Londonderry2
Cornwall24
Cumbria16
Devon32
Dorset9
Dumfries and Galloway4
Essex12
Gloucestershire11
Grampian1
Gwynedd11
Hampshire14
Kent11
Lancashire7
Humberside3
Lincolnshire10
Norfolk8
Nottingham12
Oxfordshire17
Powys8
Shropshire10
Somerset21
Staffordshire4
Suffolk12
Surrey10
Tayside1
Tyne and Wear15
Wiltshire6
Worcester11
Yorkshire31

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what representations he has received on the proposed arrangements for the collection, treatment and disposal of fallen stock and other high-risk animal waste; [25079]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The Government consider that it is the responsibility of the livestock industry to ensure that there are suitable

27 Jan 1998 : Column: 215

arrangements for the collection and disposal of fallen stock. I have discussed the current position with the Licensed Animal Slaughterers' and Salvage Association (LASSA) and my officials are discussing future arrangements with LASSA, the Meat and Livestock Commission and the farming industry.


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