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Agriculture: Waste Disposal

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why farmers are not permitted to bury fallen stock; and what regard has been given to the environmental effects of such a ban. (187975)

The ban on burying fallen stock on-farm was introduced by the EU Animal By-Products Regulation 1774/2002. The Regulation aims to protect public and animal health from any potential risks associated with the burial of fallen stock. It was introduced on a precautionary basis, influenced by evidence provided in a number of scientific opinions from the EU's scientific steering committee.

The environmental effects of such a ban have not been assessed. However, the voluntary National Fallen Stock scheme, run by the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo), operates in a way that encourages as many local operators as possible to collect fallen stock and limits the “carcase miles” travelled.

The EU Animal By-Products Regulation that imposed the burial ban also provides for the approval of new disposal methods once their effectiveness has been assessed by the European Food Safety Authority. One potential method undergoing research, and in which the NFSCo has taken an interest, is the use of bioreducers. Subject to this research eventually being submitted for, and passing, such an assessment, these may provide a route for on-farm disposal of some fallen stock in the future.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will reduce restrictions on farmers burying fallen stock. (187976)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1342W.