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Lord Whitty: Groundwater regulations authorisations ("permits") are required for the disposal of listed substances at a specified site. Carcasses and ashes contain listed substances and so authorisations are required for the burial of slaughtered animals. The requirements of the regulations have been implemented throughout the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
Lord Whitty: Under the Groundwater Regulations 1998, before authorising disposals of carcasses, a risk assessment ("prior investigation") must be undertaken to ensure that the proposed disposal will not cause pollution of controlled waters. In the majority of cases, the Environment Agency undertook this risk assessment within three hours of being asked to do so by MAFF/DEFRA. Larger and more complex disposal sites may have taken longer to risk assess in order to ensure risks posed to ground and surface waters were fully considered.
Existing published guidance on risk assessment and tools to determine groundwater vulnerability, available prior to the foot and mouth disease outbreak, were used as part of the assessment to determine suitable areas for on-farm burials of carcasses.
Lord Whitty: Ministers are currently considering valuation issues. My right honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Commons) (Mr Elliot Morley) will be meeting interested parties in the coming weeks to discuss the question of backdating standard values.
What contingency plans they have prepared to deal with the estimated 250,000 backlog of cattle that would have been disposed of under the Over Thirty Months Scheme but for the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.[HL365]
Lord Whitty: The Over Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS) has been suspended in most of the UK since the first outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in February. The only exceptions have been in Northern Ireland and the Orkney Islands together with the arrangements for eligible OTMS casualty animals slaughtered on farm.
The Government have kept the situation under constant review and have been very much aware of industry concerns that a backlog of animals was developing on farms. However, the fight against foot-and-mouth disease remains the overriding priority and therefore has first call on processing capacity whenever it is needed.
As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs predicted last week, the Rural Payments Agency has now advised Agriculture Ministers that there is sufficient disposal capacity to restart the OTMS in Great Britain. OTMS started again in Scotland on 23 July, and we hope that it will be possible to restart it in England on 30 July.
Lord Whitty: The Government have announced that they are considering relaxing the criteria for livestock movements outside infected areas this autumn but for now the current restrictions in place on the general movement of livestock remain. However, tighter movement controls are being imposed in the 10km areas around new cases of the disease thereby reducing movements to an absolute minimum for 30 days.
Lord Whitty: Following the confirmation of foot and mouth disease in the UK in February, the EU Commission immediately restricted the export of susceptible livestock and animal products from the UK. The UK's foot and mouth disease situation is regularly reviewed by the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) which agreed to lift export restrictions from Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man from 7 June. At the meeting on 10/11 July, the SVC agreed to extend the current trade restrictions applying to Great Britain until 30 September 2001 but to review the situation on 11/12 September. The restrictions which currently apply are set out in Commission Decision 2001/356/EC as amended.
In considering whether to lift these trade restrictions, the EU Commission will take into account the recommendations of the Office International des Epizooties, the international animal health organisation.
Lord Whitty: The Government recognise that there needs to be a balance between the need to achieve the waste strategy and recycling targets through increased composting, and the need to protect animal health. Existing controls on the disposal of catering waste containing meat have been extended as a result of foot and mouth disease and have in effect prohibited the spreading on land of compost derived from catering waste from premises which handle meat. The Government are commissioning urgently an independent risk assessment to see if these controls can
Lord Whitty: The Department is currently funding several research projects to bring a test for animal proteins up to the standard required for EU validation. The outcome is not, however, expected for several months.
|County||First reported case||Most recent case|
|Dumfries & Galloway||01/03/2001||23/05/2001|
|Hereford & Worcester||27/02/2001||25/04/2001|
|Tyne & Wear||23/02/2001||24/03/2001|
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