The Welsh government has extended the derogation allowing on-farm livestock burials as the collection service cannot cope with the sheer number of carcasses awaiting pick-up.

The number of livestock that perished in last month’s snow was so great in Wales that there are not enough suitable lorries to collect the carcasses.

Wales’ farm minister Alun Davies extended the derogation in areas worst-hit by the snow until midnight on 30 April.

Mr Davies also announced extra measures for farmers who are outside the burial derogation areas because they, too, are struggling to get carcasses removed.

After reaching agreement with the National Fallen Stock Collection Company (NFSCo), Mr Davies said that farmers would be allowed to use a wider number of collectors to take dead stock. Under the scheme rules farmers have a designated list of collectors allocated according to their postcode. The temporary agreement allows them to contact collectors outside their normal list.

“Officials have urged NFSCo to ensure their members charge fairer prices for these alternative services. I will be monitoring this situation and will do everything I can to prevent any suggestion of undue gains being made in resolving this situation,” said Mr Davies.

“A significant part of the problem in relation to collections has been the availability of drivers and appropriate wagons for this type of work.”

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has agreed that, where hours of service remain an issue, fallen stock collection can be covered by a national exemption to the EU rules that cover vehicles used for carrying animal waste or carcasses that are not intended for human consumption.

This means that fallen stock disposal companies can extend their normal operating hours to prevent further delays to the collection of carcasses within Wales.

Mr Davies said this change would apply until midnight on 7 May, one week after the end of the derogation. He confirmed that he would meet managers from the banking sector today to discuss what support they can offer farming clients affected by the severe weather.

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