Fifth Freedom Charter Flights
Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have completed their review of policy on fifth freedom passenger charter flights.
Viscount Goschen: On 10th January this year I announced a package of measures relating to the safety of foreign registered aircraft, one of which was a review of policy on charter flights from the UK by airlines from countries other than those they are serving, known as fifth freedom charters. We have now completed the review of passenger charter flights, following consultation with UK airlines, tour operators and brokers and other interested bodies. We intend to make a number of changes aimed at ensuring that fifth freedom charter services continue to be the exception to the normal rule that UK holidaymakers travelling by charter airline should be carried either on UK carriers or on carriers from the country of destination. The changed procedures will give UK airlines more opportunity to offer services, while continuing to allow some flexibility, in the interests of passengers, where they are not able to do so.
The changes are as follows:
(a) the number of fifth freedom flights which any one foreign carrier can operate from the UK in any one season (apart from flights which are permitted under EC legislation or other international agreements) will be limited to 10 return flights;
(b) applications for permission to operate fifth freedom flights must normally be made at least six weeks in advance of the flight. Late applications will in certain circumstances be permitted provided they are made at least five working days in advance of the flight;
(c) applications will be published in the Civil Aviation Authority's official record in order that any UK airline may object if it has a suitable aircraft available. Late applications will be circulated to airlines by telex for objections. All decisions on applications will be published subsequently.
Fifth freedom flights will be permitted only where no UK airline is able to offer a suitable aircraft, and provided that the authorities of the foreign airline are prepared to offer similar opportunities to UK carriers and that the necessary certificates are presented to my department.
The changes to the timetable for applications and the introduction of the published procedure will come into effect from the beginning of the winter season. The limit to the numbers of flights will be applied from 1st August this year. Applications received before this date will not count towards the limit for the current season.
BSE: Selective Culling
Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:
With regard to the selective culling of up to 80,000 cattle at particularly high risk of BSE, in which three
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year-classes they expect the risk of disease to be highest; and which cattle they consider to have been most exposed to contaminated feed.
Lord Lucas: The greatest incidence of clinical disease in 1996 will be in animals of five to seven years of age. The basis of the selective culling strategy is that it can be shown that if an animal born on a farm goes on to develop BSE, then other animals born on the same farm at the same time have a greater chance of developing the disease than other cattle because they are likely to have been exposed to the same feed as calves.
BSE: Ban on MBM in Feedstuffs
Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the letter sent to Lord Marlesford on 4th June by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mrs. Browning) in which it is stated that the introduction in 1988 of the ruminant feed ban has not been totally effective in reducing the number of BSE cases that have occurred probably due to cross-contamination of ruminant feed with meat and bonemeal from other animal feeds, on which date they introduced regulations to require all feed manufacturers to keep production lines dedicated solely for the production of feedstuffs from which meat and bonemeal has, since 29th March 1996, been excluded.
Lord Lucas: The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Amendment) Order 1996, which came into effect on 29th March, prohibits the incorporation of mammalian meat and bonemeal (MBM) into feed for farmed animals, including poultry, horses and farmed fish. The order also made it an offence, from 4th April, to use any MBM, or feed containing it, for feeding to farmed animals.
MBM may be incorporated into pet food, but its preparation cannot take place at premises where farmed animal feed is produced. On 10th June the Government went to public consultation on proposals which would make it illegal from 1st August for MBM or farmed animal feed containing MBM to be present at feed mills, feed merchants and on farms.
Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:
For which domestic animals it is still legal to incorporate in manufactured feed ruminant protein such as meat and bonemeal; on which date it became illegal to manufacture such feedstuffs on the same premises as feed for all farmed livestock; and whether they are satisfied that these regulations are now being fully complied with.
Lord Lucas: The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Amendment) Order 1996, which came into effect on 29th March, prohibits the incorporation of mammalian meat and bonemeal (MBM) into feed for farmed animals, including poultry, horses and farmed fish. The order also made it an offence, from 4th April, to use any mammalian meat and bonemeal, or feed
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containing it, for feeding to farmed animals. Within the context of these measures, the use of this material for pet food is not prohibited, but as from 29th March pet food cannot be produced at the same premises as feed for farmed animals.
These measures are being reinforced by a programme of inspection and sampling on farms and at feed mills.
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This programme is due shortly to be widened in scope and intensity to increase the current rate of sampling. Based on the evidence of the inspection and sampling programmes, I am satisfied that the regulations are being properly complied with. All carcasses from the 30-month slaughter scheme are being rendered and the resulting processed material stored pending incineration.