Stock scheme unveiling nears

PLANS ARE being drawn up for a revised national fallen stock collection scheme – one year after the on-farm burial ban was first introduced.

Details of the scheme will not be made public until May 13, but members of the fallen stock board presented revised proposals to stakeholders at a meeting last Thursday (Apr 29).

Industry insiders say the scheme being discussed is “quite different” from the one that farmers had expected to become operational earlier this year.

But they add it is a “great improvement”. It is hoped the scheme will start running in the autumn, possibly October.

“The aim of the scheme is still to collect fallen stock, but this is a different way of going about it,” said one commentator. “It is a step forward and something that is fairer.”

Meanwhile, Farmers For Action plans to lobby the government to apply for more derogations to the burial ban for fallen stock.

FFA representatives travelled to Brussels last Tuesday (Apr 27) to discuss the issue with EU Commission officials. They were joined in the meeting by MEPs James Nicholson and Neil Parish.

FFA spokesman for Northern Ireland William Taylor told FARMERS WEEKLY the meeting had been a success.

In Scotland, a derogation had been introduced because farmers were more than 100km from a disposal site. 

But the meeting had shown it was accessibility rather than distance that was the key issue, said Mr Taylor.

“The commission made it clear that derogations are an option if there is difficulty of access,” he said.

“If you can’t get an animal off a hill, or out of a forest, then that area can be designated as a special area.”

“All DEFRA has to do is map the areas and send the map to the commission. It has said no sensible submission will be refused.”

Mr Taylor said the map needed to be sent within the next couple of months as the commission was going to revisit the issue shortly.

At that meeting, FFA wants DEFRA/DARD to make a case for burial to be allowed where sensible.