HL Deb 08 October 2003 vol 653 c56WA
Lord Plumb

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps have been taken towards meeting the requirements in the European Union foot and mouth disease directive to create "a permanently operational expert group to maintain expertise and assist the relevant authority in qualitative disease preparation"; whether the composition will include international expertise in foot and mouth disease diagnosis, vaccination and relevant new technologies; and whether appointments will be undertaken in an open and transparent manner. [HL4398]

Lord Whitty

The Government already have in place arrangements to call on expertise on disease control in the event of an outbreak and this is covered in the foot and mouth contingency plan which has been laid before the House. In October 2002, Defra's chief scientific adviser also established the Science Advisory Group to provide independent advice to the department, including the Animal Disease Policy Group and the Civil Contingencies Committee; and to challenge strategic assumptions.

A new EU directive on measures to control foot and mouth disease has been agreed in principle and is expected to be adopted later this month. It is required to be transposed into domestic legislation by 30 June 2004. We shall consider what further steps may be required to implement the directive in full over the coming months.