34. The port health authorities are funded through
local authorities. They therefore have to compete for funding
with the whole range of services provided by local government.
The Association of Port Health Authorities said that, despite
finding passengers with illegal meat on every flight checked at
Gatwick in the last year, more checks were not undertaken because
of the "question of resources".
Those checks that had taken place relied on overtime being paid
to allow officers to work "outside their normal jobs".
The Chartered Institute for Environmental Health called for an
increase in resources.
The Association of Port Health Authorities convened a meeting
in April which concluded that the suggestion should be put to
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the
Department "should control the funding", and that "teams
of six qualified officers should be based at the major sea and
airports across the country".
35. Lord Whitty acknowledged that "in this area
there is a resource issue",
but that debate about the matter would be better informed following
the completion of the risk assessment. He also acknowledged that
there was an argument for funding the system nationally - but
suggested that this would be influenced by the review of the role
of agencies that is taking place. We accept that resources
currently allocated to dealing with the problem of illegal meat
imports are not adequate, and are not secure at port level. We
recommend that, once the risk assessment and the review of the
roles of the agencies involved in dealing with illegal food imports
have been completed, the Government provide adequate funds to
meet their recommendations, and consider how they can be secured
to the functions required.
99 Evidence taken on 2 July 2002, Q.117. Back
Evidence taken on 2 July 2002, Q.117. Back
Evidence taken on 18 June 2002, Q.1. Back
Memorandum submitted by the London Port Health Authority, Ev 27,
para 13. Back
Evidence taken on 2 July 2002, Q.247. Back