§ Mr. Colin Shepherd
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements he makes to ensure that transfers of milk quota comply with national and European Community legislation.
§ Mr. MacGregor
Milk quota may be transferred from one producer to another only as a consequence of a transfer of land, and in proportion to the areas used for milk production. The agricultural Departments investigate cases in which unduly large amounts of quota a re transferred in relation to the area of land concerned; and where disputes occur, the agricultural Departments may. before confirming a change to the quota register, ask the parties to the transaction concerned for further evidence to demonstrate that an appropriate transfer of land has in fact taken place.
It is in the interest of producers in general that transfer, of quota should not be open to question in the future and I am aware of concern in the industry about some transfers. In response to this, my colleagues and I propose to put the monitoring of quota transfers onto a more systematic basis. Producers whose quota transfer requests are selected for examination may be asked to provide evidence that there has been a genuine transfer of the land in question before amendments are made to the quota registers.
My colleagues and I have now received a number of responses from industry bodies to the consultation document on the mobility of milk quotas which my predecessor announced on 14 May. My officials will now be considering the next steps with representatives of the industry.