Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10700
10700. It is just loading bays?
(Mr Lawrence) Yes.
10701. And you comment on pollution in paragraph
20 of your statement. Can you deal with the question of rodent
population? What is the effect of any rodent infestation?
(Mr Lawrence) Well, if there would be any rodent infestation
it would be an absolute disaster, imagewise as well as for customers.
It would be an absolute disaster.
10702. You mention in paragraphs 23-25 refrigeration
and other services, and you have noted that the Promoter stated
that it will require the nominated undertaker to ensure essential
supplies are not interrupted and, indeed, obviously if the escalator
does not go ahead in the market basement car park, that will make
things easier. Can you indicate the importance of the refrigeration
to the market?
(Mr Lawrence) We are not allowed to trade without refrigeration.
In the cutting plants, what we call the cutting rooms have to
be below 7 degrees and the meat has to be below 7 degrees before
we are allowed to start cutting the meat. It is absolutely vital
to the running of the businesses.
10703. And then in paragraphs 28 and 29 can
I identify what you consider to be the losses that market traders
are likely to sustain?
(Mr Lawrence) Sorry, in what way?
10704. You have identified in your witness statement
the two types of losses that you think market traders are most
likely to sustain.
(Mr Lawrence) Yes. For the carcass trade more so than the
boxed trade the contamination of meat and the traffic issue is
absolutely vital to the running of the market.
10705. MR DINGEMANS: Thank you very much.
Examined by THE
10706. LORD BROOKE OF ALVETHORPE: Could
I just ask a question? What is the ratio between the traders who
are dealing in carcasses and those dealing with boxes?
(Mr Lawrence) 50:50
10707. And on paragraph 25 in your witness statement,
on the issue of failure of the refrigeration system, do you have
insurance to cover you for loss arising from that? For instance,
I have personal insurance and if my deep freeze collapses I get
compensation from my insurance company.
(Mr Lawrence) Yes, we do. There has been a problem in the
past when the summer months come obviously, but the answer is
yes, we do have insurance.
10708. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: I
have two questions. In relation to the point that was asked about
the trading time, again for me to get a sense of perspective of
trading in the market, does the majority of trading take place
during night hours, finishing approximately I think you said nine
o'clock? If I said 90 per cent of trading finishes at nine o'clock
would I be exaggerating? Could you give me the right figures?
(Mr Lawrence) No. You would be fairly correct.
10709. So it would be fair to describe it as
principally a night-time operation, but with some extension?
(Mr Lawrence) Yes, it would, and in the last two, three,
four years, because of the dreaded congestion charge, we have
had to start earlier and earlier, and now the hours are more horrific
than they have ever been. But the cutting carcass shops start
approximately at ten o'clock and finish round about nine o'clock.
The box shops start round about midnight, between midnight and
one, and some of them do go on longer than nine o'clock in the
10710. And in relation to paragraph 22, I can
understand your concern about vermin but you know what they say
in London, I forget what it is, every one of us is no more than
six feet away from a ratpresent company excepted, of course!
But, seriously, reading the paragraph: "For that reason it
is essential that proper and effective mitigation measures are
put in place to control the spread of pollution and vermin,"
presumably you have mitigation measures on-going in relation to
(Mr Lawrence) On-going, yes. Every tenant has a contract.
10711. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: Thank
10712. CHAIRMAN: Mr Mould?
Cross-examined by MR
10713. MR MOULD: And the reason for that,
of course, is perfectly straightforward: it is clearly in your
economic interest and those of your members to keep to the absolute
minimum the amount of meat you have to put to waste?
(Mr Lawrence) Absolutely.
10714. Insofar as insurance is concerned, you
were asked a question about insurance and a damaged refrigeration
unit. Do you also have insurance in relation to meat that is wasted
due to failure to meet pollution control standards?
(Mr Lawrence) No.
10715. Why is that? Because such insurance is
not available because your members do not regard it as a sufficiently
likely risk that it is worth seeking insurance on?
(Mr Lawrence) Could you just clarify what you mean about
10716. Yes. You have explained in paragraphs
20-22 of your statement, put simply, that you have to meet exacting
hygiene standards, and clearly there is a risk that from time
to time, for whatever reason, meat is inspected and found not
to meet those standards and has to be put to waste. That is right,
is it not?
(Mr Lawrence) On the fresh carcass side meat would never
be accepted if it was not in the proper condition. That is the
first point. On the second part, the box shops, if the vacuum
busts or whatever, when it comes in vacuum-packed, then it would
not have so much life on it.
10717. So there are two risks there, and if
those risks are realised from time to time then obviously the
income that would otherwise be obtained from those goods would
(Mr Lawrence) Yes.
10718. My question is, I think you have said
you do not insure against those particular risks and nor do your
members, is that right?
(Mr Lawrence) Yes.
10719. Is the reason for that either because
insurance is not available for those risks, albeit that you have
asked for it, or because your members have chosen not to pursue
any insurance arrangements in relation to those particular risks
because they do not regard them as sufficiently realistic to merit
(Mr Lawrence) As the market stands there is not too much
meat that does get condemned anyway.