Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-First Report


APPENDIX 2

Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

IMPORT AND EXPORT RESTRICTIONS (FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE) (NO. 3) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/119)

1. These Regulations were made on 25 January 2002 and came into force at 8.00 pm that day. This Memorandum explains why the 21 day rule was not complied with for these Regulations.

2. The Foot-And-Mouth Disease (Marking Of Meat, Meat Preparations And Meat Products) Regulations 2002 implement 2002/49/EC amending for the second time Decision 2001/304/EC on marking and use of certain animal products in relation to Decision 2001/172/EC concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom (OJ No. L21, 24.1.2001, p.30). The Import and Export Restrictions (Foot-And-Mouth Disease (No. 3) Regulations 2002 implement Commission Decision 2002/48/EC amending for the seventh time Decision 2001/740/EC concerning certain protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom (OJ No. L21, 24.1.2002, p.29).

3. Both the Decisions were published in the Official Journal on 24 January 2002, and had to be implemented immediately so as to permit trade to re-start as soon as possible. In addition, failure to implement immediately would have been in breach of our Community obligations. In the circumstances it was not possible to comply with the 21 day rule.

4. The Import and Export Restrictions (Foot-And-Mouth Disease (No. 3) Regulations 2002 vary slightly from the Decision. The Decision purports to lift restrictions on trade from the territories in Annex III. Annex III had previously contained those counties free of foot-and-mouth disease. Now that the whole of Great Britain is free of foot-and-mouth disease, Annex III should have referred to Great Britain. Unfortunately, the Commission revoked Annex III, while continuing to refer to it in the body of the Order. As the clear intention was to permit trade from the whole of Great Britain, and as the Decision itself did not make sense in that it referred to a non-existent Annex, the Department implemented the Decision the way the Commission had intended, and permitted trade from Great Britain.

5. The Regulations were not laid before Parliament until 28 January, as the Votes and Proceedings Office was closed when the Regulations were taken there on 25 January. The Speaker and Lord Chancellor have been notified of the reason under the provisions of the Statutory Instruments Act 1947.

29 January 2002

Further Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

IMPORT AND EXPORT RESTRICTIONS (FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE) (NO. 3) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/119)

1. The Committee asked—

"Explain (a) why paragraph (1) of regulation 5 prohibits the dispatch of any live animal of the bovine or porcine species and paragraph (3) disapplies that prohibition, and (b) why paragraph (3) is expressed to be without prejudice to the Community legislation referred to in that paragraph, given that the latter is addressed to the Member States?"

2. These Regulations implement Commission Decision 2001/740/EEC (as amended) concerning protection measures with regard to foot and mouth disease. They reflect the wording, structure and various amendments that have been made to the Decision as far as possible. Thus, the basic prohibition on the dispatch of bovine, ovine, caprine or porcine animals or any other biungulates as set down in Commission Decision 2001/740/EEC was amended to allow live pigs and cattle to be exported subject to certain conditions. These conditions were set out in regulation 5(1)((3) of The Import and Export Restrictions (Foot-And-Mouth Disease) (No. 2) Regulations 2002.

3. The No. 3 Regulations implemented Commission Decision 2002/48/EEC which removed the export conditions for porcine and bovine animals and the wording in the Decision was followed as far as possible. This resulted in regulation 5(3) appearing to conflict with regulation 5(1) in relation to porcine animals. In the case of bovine animals, exports could not take place in any case because of the restriction contained in Council Decision 98/256/EC and mentioned in regulation 5(3).

4. The Department accepts that this could have been done more elegantly, but submits that this would have taken time. As the Committee is aware from the Voluntary Memorandum submitted by the Department, the Commission Decision being implemented was published in the Official Journal on 24 January 2002 (OJ No. L21, 24.1.2002, p. 29). These Regulations were made at 2.00 p.m. on 25 January 2002, and came into force at 8.00 p.m. on that day. The reason for the urgency was to permit trade to re-start without delay. The Department submits that the provisions are an accurate implementation of the amended Directive, and that in this case the urgency of resumption of trade was paramount.

5. So far as point (b) is concerned, as mentioned above, regulation 5(3) implements the most recent Commission Decision which allows porcine and bovine animals to resume without the previous conditions being attached. The regulation is without prejudice to the provisions of Council Directive 64/432/EEC because the panoply of animal health rules contained in that Directive needed to be applied to the resumption of porcine and bovine exports. Council Decision 98/256/EC is cited because exports of live bovine animals are, as mentioned above, still banned as a result of this Decision. The Department submits that the provision is unambiguous and incapable of misinterpretation, despite the fact that, as the Committee points out, the Community legislation is addressed to member States.

6. The Committee asked—

"Identify the Order referred to in paragraph (3)."

7. The Department accepts that the words "the Foot-And-Mouth Disease Order" should have read "the Foot-And-Mouth Disease Order 1983" as it is in the previous regulation. The Department would normally undertake to amend the Regulations at an early opportunity, but the Regulations will be revoked in the near future (probably next week).

15 February 2002


 
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