Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Eighth Report





COM(02) 414

Draft Council Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No. 1255/97 as regards the use of staging points.

Legal base:

Article 37EC; consultation; qualified majority voting


Document originated:

19 July 2002

Deposited in Parliament:

1 August 2002


Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Basis of consideration:

EM of 20 August 2002

Previous Committee Report:


To be discussed in Council:

No date set

Committee's assessment:

Politically important

Committee's decision:

Not cleared; further information requested




    1. Council Directive 95/29/EC[7] requires that, after the completion of specified maximum journey times, farm livestock must be unloaded, fed, watered and rested for 24 hours at approved premises (staging posts) before any further period of travel. The criteria for such premises, together with measures to prevent the spread of disease and requirements for recording animal movements, are specified in Council Regulation (EC) No. 1255/97[8].
    2. The current proposal

    3. This proposal would make a number of changes to the detailed rules applying to staging posts. In particular:

    • operators would have to inform the competent authority within 24 hours of the animals' departure, and to keep records for at least three years;

    • staging points would have to be cleaned and disinfected within 24 hours, and to remain clear for a similar period before a new consignment of animals can enter;

    • staging points could only be used at any one time by animals from the same holding of origin, and that holding would have to comply with the health standards laid down for breeding animals.

The Government's view

    1. In his Explanatory Memorandum of 20 August 2002, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Commons) at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Elliot Morley) says that there are only six approved staging points in the UK, which have never been used because journey times within this country are relatively short. Consequently, he does not see the first two elements of the proposal as being contentious. However, the last aspect — which would make permanent the temporary controls introduced during last year's foot and mouth epidemic, and which would thus suspend the use of staging points for slaughter animals — would limit the time and distance of journeys, and hence affect the export of sheep for slaughter to Greece, Spain and the southern parts of Italy[9], since it would be necessary in future for the animals to establish residency in another Member State and be re-certified there.
    2. The Minister says that a Regulatory Impact Assessment will be prepared in discussion with UK staging point operators and industry representatives, and is expected to be available by mid-October.
    3. Conclusion

    4. Before taking a final view on this proposal, we will await the promised Regulatory Impact Assessment. In the meantime, we would welcome the Minister's comments on one point. The analysis in paragraph 4.3 above is of course based on the assumption that those responsible for the transport of animals in some of the countries referred to will abide by the new restrictions, and it is of course to be hoped that they will. Nevertheless, it seems to us that there will be an economic incentive either to allow slaughter animals to continue to use staging posts, or - more worryingly - to avoid using such posts altogether, thereby compromising the welfare of the animals concerned. We hope therefore that the Government will satisfy itself that the other Member States will be making adequate arrangements to enforce the new requirements.


7   OJ No. L.148, 30.6.95, p.52. Back

8   OJ No. L.174, 2.7.97, p.1. Back

9   According to, the Minister, this trade accounted for 89,000 animals in 2000, representing around 8% of UK exports of live sheep. Back

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