HC Deb 28 March 2003 vol 402 cc461-2W
Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the most recent change in allowing animal movements; and what effect she estimates the change has had on the risk of the spread of animal diseases. [104767]

Mr. Morley

The recent change—which reduced the standstill from 20 to six days for cattle, sheep and goats—took account of the emerging findings from the risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis of animal movement standstill. A report of those findings, and a supporting document explaining our decision to reduce the standstill, have been placed in the Library and published on the Defra website.

The emerging findings from the risk assessment indicated that in some circumstances a 20-day standstill would be more effective that a six-day standstill in limiting the size of an outbreak but that in the majority of scenarios the differential benefit between a six and a 20-day standstill is relatively small. In cost benefit terms a six day standstill gave a positive net benefit in almost all of the scenarios studied. To counter-balance the increased risk created by the reduction in the standstill period to six days, we have removed most of the exemptions which applied when the 20-day standstill was the general rule and we are consulting on a number of proposals aimed at improving biosecurity and disease detection, for possible introduction later this year.

The second phase of the analysis is now under way and is due to report at the end of May. We will take account of the final reports—and any other new evidence—when deciding what rules should apply from 1 August and beyond.

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