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Animal Experiments: Licensing

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans she has to (a) reduce information requirements and (b) streamline transaction processes for applications for project licences for scientific procedures on animals; (167696)

(2) what estimate her Department has made of the costs to animal research businesses and other organisations of applications for project licences for scientific procedures on animals.

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Home Office Simplification Plan published in December 2006 includes a target to reduce the compliance costs arising from the regulation of animal experiments by 25 per cent. by 2010, whilst maintaining proper provision for animal welfare. Work towards the target is being taken forward in a dedicated better regulation programme. This work includes looking at how we might reduce information requirements and streamline transaction processes for applications for project licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Since January 2007, we have delivered a number of quick wins involving improvements to forms and processes and we have also completed preliminary work, including consultation with practitioners, to identify potential options for longer term improvements to our regulatory processes. Amongst other things, we are now working on the development of a new, shorter project licence application form and project licence templates and worked examples.

We have not separately estimated the costs to the scientific community associated with applications for project licences. However, an administrative burden on business, excluding the academic sector, has been identified and priced at £6.95 million per annum. These costs include those arising from all aspects of regulation under the 1986 Act, including personal and project licences, certificates of designation, local ethical review processes and training.