asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action has been taken on the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the supply of animal waste; and if he will make a statement.
In his statement of 3 April 1985 my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Fletcher) the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for corporate and consumer affairs, set out the commission's findings and recommendations and said that the Government were arranging for discussions to be opened with Prosper De Mulder Limited about giving effect to the commission's recommendations.Following discussions with the Office of Fair Trading, Prosper De Mulder has given undertakings not to offer for or enter into gut-room contracts without having first established a reasonable expectation that the operation of any particular gut-room, taken on its own, would be carried on at a profit or to engage in cross-subsidisation between the gut-room business and other parts of the company's business or between any individual gut-room operations. The company has undertaken to provide the Director General of Fair Trading with financial information to enable him to monitor these undertakings. In addition, the company has given assurances that it will not pursue a policy of conditional buying and that it will notify the Director General of Fair Trading in advance of any proposal to acquire any other rendering business.The commission also expressed an interest in a suggestion made to it that a system of voluntary arbitration might be set up under which a member of the Institute of Environmental Health Officers and a member of the United Kingdom Renderers Associations would visit plants with odour problems and suggest remedies. My hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State for the Environment to consider the commission's suggestion, and I am pleased to say that, in response to this request, the commission's suggestion will be taken into account in a consultation paper discussing possible changes in the clean air legislation that the Government hope to publish in due course.I welcome the undertakings given by Prosper De Mulder and the action being taken by the Department of the Environment. I consider them sufficient to remedy and prevent the adverse effects specified in the commission's report.I have arranged for copies of the full text of the undertakings to be placed in the library of the House.