The FUW has welcomed the recommendations outlined in the Welsh Government’s Quarantine Unit (QU) review following an announcement made on Monday 10 December by the Cabinet Secretary for energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.
QUs were introduced in Wales in September 2017 in an attempt to provide industry with an alternative to the six day standstill rule.
FUW senior policy officer Dr hazel Wright said: “At present, the cost and impractical nature of QU rules represent a major obstacle to uptake and the FUW is therefore pleased that the recommendations made by Welsh Government recognised these issues.”
The Welsh Government QU review identified nine recommendations for improvement, with seven of these to be given consideration in the New Year.
These include exploring the possibility of amending the 24 hour reporting rule, allowing greater discretion for QU inspectors when considering compliance with requirements and the possibility of a funding stream to aid livestock keepers in meeting the initial costs of QU certification.
“Over the last few years, the FUW has repeatedly highlighted that some of the operational requirements of QUs, such as the need for 24 hour reporting, would preclude many individuals from establishing such units. We are therefore pleased to see that many of the issues we highlighted are now listed for future review and we especially welcome moves which would see a grant scheme for QUs in order to help farmers meet the initial cost of certification.
“As part of our work in this area, the FUW recently conducted a survey of its membership on the barriers to establishing a QU and we will feed the results of this survey into future discussions with Welsh Government.
“The principle of isolating animals when they come on to a farm is one that should be followed wherever possible and we now have a second opportunity to develop a workable new system. It will now be imperative that the recommendations made as part of the QU review are translated into real changes in order to provide a genuine alternative to the 6 day standstill.
“We now look forward to continuing our work with Welsh Government on the recommendations made in order to develop a more cost-effective, less bureaucratic and more attractive system,” added Dr Wright.