HC Deb 21 October 1982 vol 29 cc493-4
9. Mr. Colin Shepherd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made in maintaining health standards of the United Kingdom poultry flock.

Mrs. Fenner

The health status of the national flock remains at a very high level. In particular, the freedom from Newcastle disease, which the measures introduced about a year ago were designed to protect, has been maintained. Following the recent judgment of the European Court on the import rules, introduced at the same time, revised measures have now been notified to the Commission and the other member States. Those measures, which will be implemented shortly, will ensure that our health standards are maintained.

Mr. Shepherd

In view of the immense importance of sustaining the health of the United Kingdom poultry flock, can my hon. Friend give an assurance that nothing will enter Britain from abroad until the rules are fully defined and all are aware of what is required of them? How can we be sure that there will be proper enforcement of the rules, bearing in mind that the work on the enforcement—for example, the certification—will probably be carried out abroad? What time scale does she envisage in bringing all that into effect?

Mrs. Fenner

The revised import rules are extremely detailed. In broad terms they are designed to safeguard the stock, but would permit imports subject to certification. The press notice issued by my right hon. Friend shows that details of such certification are being sent to each of the member States, which will be asked to let us have specimens of their export documents. My hon. Friend asked how we could be sure that the rules would be properly enforced. We shall make the necessary administrative arrangements to implement the new measures and ensure that the rules are properly enforced. The time scale will be as soon as the countries have provided us with the certification requirements.