Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (F14(a))
Lord Whitty undertook to write to the Committee
with some further information about this work area.
As promised, we enclose a copy of the form template
for submission of data. This has been drawn up in discussion with
enforcement officers. Enforcement officers can submit the information
by whatever means suits them best, ie by fax, e-mail, etc. If
they already compile this information but in a slightly different
format we accept that rather than ask them to duplicate the work
As Lord Whitty and Jill Wordley explained on
2 July, the database has been established to hold a central (GB)
record of products seized from passengers, through the main postal
sorting offices, and those commercial consignments landed at ports
and airports without being presented to a border inspection post
in accordance with European rules.
Work is under way to develop a web-based electronic
system which will enable enforcement officers to record the data
direct and to access information on consolidated data to help
inform anti-smuggling measures. We are involving enforcement officers
to draw up the specifications and they will be involved during
the testing phases before the system is rolled out. We can not
be specific about timing for delivery: we first need to agree
the technical requirements.
The suggestion was made that more space could
be taken on the baggage carousel islands to draw passengers' attention
to our import rules and the need to declare prohibited goods to
Customs. Since 21 June we have, as the Committee noted when they
visited Heathrow, had some of the "meat" import posters
on display in the trilateral stands on the carousels.
The Committee might find it helpful if I expand
on what we have been doing in this area. Officials have had a
number of discussions over the past year with BAA and enforcement
agencies about our requirements. We do not have at our disposal
any statutory powers to compel specific solutions. You will know
that most airports are privately owned. Part of their business
is to maximise revenue from advertising space. They also look
to develop and protect their corporate image, and part of this
means they put in place rules on "signage", including
the use of advertising space. They and other enforcement agencies
also expect to have an input into decisions about how information
is conveyed to ensure an appropriate balance in getting the various
We have looked at taking paid advertising space.
The size and form of advertising, and which airport we are talking
about, all influence costs. At Heathrow the "trilateral"
displays cost about £40,000 per month. A year's advertising
package costs in the region of £250,000. The prime advertising
spaces, as well as being expensive, are booked months in advance
by private companies.
We have a budget of £500,000 for the peak
summer holiday advertising campaign and we believe this is best
spent on leaflets for travellers, a video and radio filler. Our
view was influenced by feedback from, among others, those responsible
for the New Zealand controls who have also found that posters,
etc in baggage arrival halls and points en route go largely ignored.
You also asked whether it was possible for the
Committee to see the UK's action plan drawn up in response to
the mission report last year. The final report itself, and the
UK's comments on the draft report sent to us before publication,
can be viewed on the Commission's website at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/inspections/vi/reports/united_kingdom/index_en.html.
Under the conditions of such inspections, we
had three months to correct procedural deficiencies and problems
with facilities. The three months were up on 1 July and I enclose
a copy of a letter the Chief Veterinary Officer sent to the FVO
on 4 July detailing the action taken to address those deficiencies.
Deficiencies involving structural changes must be completed to
a six-month timescale, ie by 1 October and we will be writing
again to the Commission when those are complete.
5 July 2002