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Over-30-Months Scheme

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of (a) the risk to human health and (b) costs of (i) direct incineration and (ii) rendering followed by incineration of carcases under the over-30-months scheme. [107814]

To assess the risk of over-30-months (slaughter) scheme (OTMS) operations the Environment Agency commissioned a number of studies from independent expert consultants to establish the risk from BSE to human health via different environmental pathways, based on the precautionary principle. These reports covered both the incineration of carcass material and the incineration of rendered products. They were produced in consultation with the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) and published in 1997. They showed that the risks are negligible compared to other risks in daily life and endorsed SEAC's advice to Government in 1996 that the current and proposed methods of dealing with animal waste material from the slaughter of cattle are safe.

The cost of rendering and subsequent incineration of rendered products is less expensive than that of the direct incineration of cattle carcasses. However there are some benefits to the direct incineration of carcases in terms of quicker re-imbursement of compensation sums to the Exchequer from the EU. Both methods of disposal are used under OTMS and each represent good value for money.