To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of qualified veterinary surgeons that would be required to sign off export health certificates for the export of animals and animal products in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
We have analysed expected demand for export health certificates (EHCs) if we leave the EU without a deal.
We have looked at the capacity within the current veterinary market, and taken into consideration a number of factors that will impact on the amount of time required by official vets to sign EHCs for EU-bound products.
We are also making it possible for the providers of certification services to employ new support officers to carry out certain administrative aspects of the EHC process, freeing up the time and capacity of official vets to provide the final assurances for the EHC.
We expect demand for EHCs will be at the lower end of estimates and expect efficiencies to be made by the larger exporters.
Therefore, we estimate the market will need increased capacity equivalent to about 50 full-time official vets and providers of certification services are confident they can meet the demand.