The Cattle Tracing System (CTS) was launched in September 1999 and is run by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). It supports our European and domestic obligations and provides for full traceability of cattle throughout their lives, enabling the livestock industry to provide the level of guarantees and assurances that their customers demand.
Since its launch, BCMS has issued in excess of 2.3 million passports, or over 11,500 per day. Of these, 90% are issued within 3 working days of an application being received. In addition, since last September, nearly 1.5 million cattle movements have been recorded on the CTS database, and nearly a quarter of a million calls have been handled by the BCMS call centre.
When the Government announced in February 1998 that it would pay for the set up costs of the CTS, and its running costs during the first full year of operation, it was also made clear that industry should expect to meet future running costs. It is therefore proposed to introduce charges from 27 September 1999 and a consultation document has today been issued seeking views on the level of charges, explaining what they cover and on methods of payment.
In line with earlier predictions, we propose that the fee should be £7 per cattle passport. This does not include the cost of checks carried out by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) at abattoirs which, it is further proposed, will be recovered directly. We estimate the cost to the abattoir sector is likely to be around £2m per annum.
There are no plans to charge for temporary passports, known also as calf passports, as it is recognised that these animals are less valuable than older animals. However, the fee will become payable if a temporary passport is submitted for conversion to a full cattle passport.
A copy of the consultation package, including a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, has been placed in the Library of the Parliament. Comments are sought by 9 August. There will be separate consultations by the administrations in England and Wales, but it is expected that the fee will be at the same rate in all three countries of Great Britain.