Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Chairman

  When your Committee considered the above mentioned Explanatory Memorandum at their meeting of 24 May 2006, it was retained under a scrutiny reserve pending submission of a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). I am writing to update you on the progress of this work.

  We recently conducted a consultation with the industry in which we asked them to give us their views on the proposal and for information that we could use to draft a RIA. We had a very limited response, and most agreed with the line Government were taking. There are some concerns about our suggestion that the industry should pay for the risk assessment, and that the Regulation would be applied retrospectively. There is also concern about the classification of Rainbow Trout as an exotic species. This fish has been present in the UK for over 100 years, and is found and farmed extensively throughout the European Union. Clearly the imposition of a permit on each movement would be prohibitive on the industry. However, none of the responses gave us enough information to be able to draft a RIA.

  We are concerned about the bureaucracy of the proposal and we have mentioned this to the Commission. Following the consultation, we will write again to the Commission reiterating our view about this and repeat our suggestion that this should be recast as a Directive. We will also raise this when the proposal is discussed at Working Group. We continue to believe that it is proper for the industry to shoulder the costs of risk assessment. There are enough safeguards to ensure that the financial burden will not be too onerous. One key element will be to try and persuade the Commission that the Regulation should not be applied retrospectively. We accept that rainbow trout are widely farmed in the European Union but we cannot regard them as native to UK rivers and would therefore wish to see any new farms wishing to exploit this species kept within the scope of the Regulation.

  In conclusion, since it is hard to assess the full financial impact this proposal will have on the industry due to the lack of available information, we are not proposing to prepare a RIA at this stage. Should such information become available at a later date then we will re-examine this issue.

6 July 2007

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