Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultation has been undertaken, and with whom, over the content of Statutory Instrument 843 on TSEs. [56039]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 May 2002]: My Department consulted more than 700 key stakeholders on draft proposals for the TSE (England) Regulations 2002, representing renderers, slaughterhouses, farmers, knackers, hunt kennels, veterinary, consumer and medical interests and enforcement authorities. That is, the people who are actually affected or need to know. The consultation package was distributed in February 2002. It was posted on the Department's website and a copy placed in the Library of the House. It included a Regulatory Impact Assessment. Parallel legislation is being introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with additional and broadly equivalent consultation there.

These Regulations implement current Community legislation on TSEs as set out in Council Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001. My Department twice consulted on the Community measures, giving fair warning of likely new arrangements. First, in January 1999 and again in November 2000. Community measures in relation to animal feeding were implemented under the Processed Animal Protein (England) Regulations 2001, introduced last August; there was a separate consultation exercise specifically for this legislation.