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Caithness News Bulletins March 2004

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Farming News    

New regulations affecting the disposal of animal by-products will come into effect in the Highlands on Thursday (1 April). Over the past few months, representatives of The Highland Council's Technical, Environment and Community Services have been contacting affected businesses to explain the impact of the regulations and offer advice as to alternative means of disposal.

The regulations target concerns about possible sources of diseases such as BSE, CJD, Salmonella, and Foot and Mouth Disease and aim to protect public health and animal health by controlling the treatment and disposal of animal by-products.

A wide range of businesses are affected by the Regulations including farms, slaughterhouses, rendering plants, knackers' yards, food manufacturers, catering outlets, butchers, fish processors/mongers and food retailers.

Animal by-products are the parts of slaughtered or fallen animals that are not directly consumed by humans, and the definition includes fallen stock on farms and also food produced from animals that is no longer intended for human consumption. The definition includes poultry and fish. Subject to limited exemptions, the only legitimate methods of disposing of animal by-products are by incineration, rendering, or disposal at an approved composting or bio-gas plant. Disposal to landfill is no longer permitted.

As all refuse collected by the Council's regular collection service is disposed of by landfill, the Council has agreed to stop the collection of animal by-products as part of the regular waste collection services. Businesses will be encouraged to use approved contractors instead.

A large area of the Highlands is covered by a 'remote area' exemption.  In this defined area farmers and crofters can still bury carcasses on their farms and food businesses can still dispose of animal by-products to landfill sites.  However, this exemption only applies where there is no collection service. Where a collection service is operating farms and businesses would be expected to use that service.

Councillors agreed that the Environmental Health team should enforce the regulations using a proportionate and prioritised approach concentrating on higher risk activities and complaints.

Councillor David Munro, vice chairman of TEC Services Committee with responsibility for Public Health and Consumer Protection, said: "We will be happy to provide advice to businesses on how to comply with these complex regulations. However, if there is evidence of reckless disregard for the regulations we will take the appropriate formal action.  Anyone with concerns is urged to contact the Environmental Health section of TEC Services on 01463 702500."

Further information on animal by-products can be found on the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department website:

Information is also available on the English Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs website:

Council Contact details:
Alistair Thomson, Head of Environmental Health or  Alan Yates, Principal Food Safety Officer, Highland Council TEC Services Environmental Health, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX,
Tel: 01463 702500 Fax: 01463 702606