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Meat and Livestock Exports

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Tables showing the countries to which British Livestock, genetic material and meat and meat products can be exported have been placed in the Library of the House.

Most third countries stopped import of live animals of susceptible species and their products when foot and mouth disease (FMD) was confirmed in February 2001. Since January 2002 when the OIE declared the UK free of FMD, MAFF/Defra has been working hard to reinstate these export markets. Significant progress has been made in respect of meat and meat products, but it has proven more difficult to persuade countries to reopen markets to live animals and genetic material.

Defra is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Trade International and the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) to target the key markets that have been identified by industry and encourage those governments that have a ban in place to lift it and also agree the necessary certification.

In addition to the import ban imposed as a result of FMD, a significant number of countries are still refusing to accept imports of UK animals, meat and products for other disease-related reasons.

The despatch of goods containing bovine material is subject to strict requirements, as laid down in the Bovines and Bovine Products (Trade) Regulations 1999, as amended. It is currently illegal to export cattle, beef or beef products from the UK unless they

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have been produced under either the date-based export scheme (DBES) (for beef from cattle reared and slaughtered in the UK) or the XAP scheme (using foreign origin beef). Tables 3-6 detail the latest information on other countries' bans on British beef.

A top priority for the UK is to secure moderate BSE risk status (and the abolition of DBES), which will then enable the UK to trade on a level playing field with other member states. Now that the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) has amended the thresholds for categorising countries according to BSE risks we are looking to secure the benefits of moderate risk status as early as possible in 2004. We have written to the Commission to outline our proposals, stressing the great importance the UK attaches to this issue, and have been encouraged by the Commission's positive reception.

Defra publishes lists of available export health certificates by country for specific meat and meat products on its website ( The website also includes details of the restrictions imposed by third countries.

Defra continues in active liaison with the industry to press all these remaining countries at all levels to lift their restrictions. Defra is unable to state when this will be successful.


Viscount Goschen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that the performance of the Environment Agency has been adequate in combating fly-tipping.[HL3358]

Lord Whitty: The Environment Agency's performance in dealing with fly-tipping has been adequate to date, considering the resources and legislative powers that have been made available to it.

Levels of fly-tipping are however growing due to a variety of reasons. This is why the Government are considering a range of measures to help the Environment Agency and local authorities to deal more effectively with the problem. Some of these measures have been included in the Anti-social Behaviour Bill currently before Parliament. We will publish details of others which we will bring forward at the next legislative opportunity.

Viscount Goschen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the ratio of prosecutions to offences in connection with fly-tipping.[HL3359]

Lord Whitty: National data on the number of incidents of fly-tipping are not available. However, in 2002 the Environment Agency recorded 967 incidents of fly-tipping. Prosecution action was recommended in 212 of those cases. 137 formal warning letters were issued in other cases.

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The Environment Agency took 99 prosecutions for fly-tipping in England and Wales in 2002, but the date the offence occurred may pre-date 2002.

More accurate data on fly-tipping incidents will be available from 2004 following the introduction of a new national enforcement database, which will record incidents and actions taken by both the Environment Agency and local authorities.

Horse Passports (England) Order 2003

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed to fund the £500,000 required to set up the database to implement the Horse Passports (England) Order 2003.[HL3383]

Lord Whitty: The Government have agreed to support the establishment of a database of all equines in Great Britain though this is not a direct obligation arising from the horse passports legislation. We are working closely with the equine industry to develop a database which meets the requirements of both government and industry. The Government have agreed in principle to fund the start-up costs of a database, subject to the further detailed work on costs and benefits that is now being undertaken.

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Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed to provide staff to manage or assist the management of the database required for the Horse Passports (England) Order 2003.[HL3384]

Lord Whitty: Arrangements for the ownership, management and staffing of the proposed national equine database are currently being discussed with representatives of the equine industry.

National Parks

Lord Clark of Windermere asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Circular 84/50 dated 15th March 1950, regarding National Park boundaries, is "extant".[HL3436]

Lord Whitty: Our research has been inconclusive. We have found no evidence that the circular is still in force but equally no evidence of its cancellation. As the circular dealt mainly with the immediate tasks of the then National Parks Commission, it was probably cancelled long ago. It does not appear in the main current reference works and, even if still technically extant, it should certainly be regarded as defunct.

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