New livestock transport rules set to be phased in from the start of next year could cost the Scottish industry £25m-£40m, says the Scottish Beef Cattle Association.

Speaking at the first committee meeting of the fledgling 300-member association in Perth this week, Keith Redpath, SBCA technical director, said implementation of the EU’s new Welfare of Animals During Transport rules could be particularly challenging for Scottish farmers.

The new rules, already approved by the EU, meant that from 5 January, 2007, licenses costing about £20 would be required by farmers and others wishing to move livestock more than 65km (40 miles), from a small trailer to a double-decker wagon, Mr Redpath said.

And from 5 January, 2008, 15,000-20,000 operators in Scotland would have to undergo training to legally move animals more than 65km.

This was likely to cost about £350 per delegate.

There would also be stricter vehicle specifications, including maximum loading ramp angles of 26 for cattle and sheep and 20 for pigs, Mr Redpath said.

He estimated altering a Hudson unit would cost £5000-£6000.

Forced ventilation would also be required to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the vehicle.

And by 2009 GPS equipment would have to be installed to allow vehicle movements to be tracked, he added.

Building a new truck complying with all the regulations would cost £120,000-£150,000, and converting a typical double-decker about £26,000, he calculated.

The SBCA and other industry organisations intend to call for derogations on several regulations.

fwbusiness@rbi.co.uk