The EU has agreed to a change in fallen stock regulations to allow on-farm containment prior to disposal.

The provisional agreement was made after Welsh Assembly and DEFRA officials visited Brussels to negotiate over the exisiting system.

Elin Jones, Welsh rural affairs minister, said the successful outcome went a long way to meeting concerns over biosecurity and costs of the current regulations.

If given final approval by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, the change could be part of revised animal by-product regulations that might be in place as early as mid-2010.

As well as leading negotiations for on-farm containment, Wales had been at the forefront of research into possible containment processes.

Scientists from Bangor University outlined a bio-reduction system to members of the European Parliament in Brussels the day before the changes were agreed (15 March).

Ms Jones said if the research proved successful, it was likely an application would be made to the European Food Safety Authority seeking approval for the inclusion of the bio-reducer as a containment method in the new regulations.

At negotiations to revise the regulations, which had been going on since June 2008, Wales had been leading efforts to get agreement on the secure on-farm storage of fallen stock pending disposal via incineration or rendering.

Now support for the Welsh proposal meant it would be included in the text to be voted on at the plenary session of the European Parliament in April.