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Stackyard News Nov 06

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Crucial Derogations Secured On Animal Transport

Discussions between NFUS, other industry bodies and the Scottish Executive have paid off with confirmation from Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie that he will take advantage of hugely important derogations for vehicles transporting animals.


sheep lorry

This will reduce the possible bill facing farming and haulage industries by around 90 per cent. Discussions are ongoing regarding the process for farmers to obtain both an authorisation and a certificate of competency.

In Parliament on Thursday (23 November), Mr Finnie confirmed the Executive’s intention to derogate vehicles in Scotland making journeys of between 8 and 12 hours within the UK from the following requirements:

· To install insulated roofs on existing vehicles
· To maintain a vehicle temperature of zero degrees or above while animals are being loaded
· To install forced ventilation, temperature monitoring, and warning and satellite navigation systems
· To have water constantly available to pigs.

The requirement for existing vehicles to alter ramp angles is still being discussed with the European Commission. It is expected that such requirements will have a five-year phase-in period. Whilst a phase-in period is preferable to immediate enforcement, NFUS is still questioning the cost-effectiveness and benefits of altered ramp angles.

The bill facing the farming and haulage industry was potentially as high as £40 million. The decision by the Executive will reduce that to around £4 million

NFUS Vice President Bob Howat said:

“A lot of work has gone into this and I give credit to the Minister for adopting this pragmatic approach to animal transport. Crucially, we will still maintain strict animal welfare laws and further enhance our reputation on that front but, at the same time, avoid huge and unnecessary expenditure.

“This is a common sense approach which is what our better regulation campaign has been all about. Scotland’s approach to dealing with new EU laws is critical to the sustainability of farming and all other industries. By adopting an approach like this, which focuses on the proportionality rather than the strictest implementation option that Brussels has on offer, we will end up with far more effective regulation.

“The ramp angles discussion is still ongoing. A five-year phase-in period, which takes us to 2012, is better but this must be a priority issue in the 2011 review of the Regulation given the doubts over its cost-effectiveness. All sides are now working to deliver a low-cost solution to the requirement for certificates of competency and it is vital for our farming members that the process is both low-cost and as efficient as possible. We are also discussing the authorisations process required for 2007.”

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National Farmers' Union
NFU Scotland