Overview of costs and benefits associated with regulation in Scottish agriculture

Research providing an overview of the regulations in Scottish agriculture and exploring 12 case studies in further detail.

12. Scottish Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 606 The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006


The Welfare of Animals (transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 make provision for the administration and enforcement of Council Regulation ( EC) No. 1/2005. The Regulation aims to improve animal welfare through raising transportation standards, and provides for greater enforcement capability in respect of all species. The new rules were generally supported by farming industry and welfare groups. However, several are potentially burdensome on farmers and commercial transporters. The Scottish Regulation attempted to strike a balance between animal welfare benefits, cost and ease of compliance/enforcement, primarily through the use of derogations. Key areas unchanged by the Regulation - journey time, rest periods and space allowances - will be review by the EC by 2011. The EC launched a public discussion on these areas which closed on 7 August 2008.


According to the Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives, "No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way that is likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them".

A Commission report in 2000 highlighted problems with the animal transport rules introduced in 1997. Consultation with industry and the public was carried out in 2002 and the results showed support for change in a number of areas.

However the proposals put forward for amending the Directive in 2003 (journey times, rest periods and space allowances) were too radical for Member States. Discussions collapsed in early 2004. Talks were subsequently revived avoiding the key contentious issues of journey time and space allowance. The EC is required to review maximum journey times and space allowances in 2011.

The UK welcomed the chance to get agreement on the bulk of the proposals. However the compromise did mean that some less welcome changes had to be accepted. The Regulation was adopted in December 2004.

The Scottish Executive did not enforce certain provisions from the Welfare of Animals in Transport Regulations which would have a very limited affect on animal welfare but would have imposed a considerable burden on the industry.

The derogations mean that for road journeys within the UK of between eight and 12 hours, there will not be a requirement to:

  • Have water constantly available to pigs
  • Install insulated roofs on existing vehicles
  • Maintain a vehicle temperature of 0°C or above when animals are being loaded
  • Install forced ventilation, temperature monitoring and warning and satellite navigation systems.

No changes to the current rules on maximum journey times (other than new restrictions on moving young animals), feeding, watering and rest periods during a journey and space allowances resulted from the implementation of the regulation. However some new provisions did come into force, including:

  • Those transporting animals for commercial purposes (in connection with an "economic activity") on journeys over 65km (approx 40 miles) will need to have a specific authorisation
  • Stricter vehicle standards apply
  • Those transporting animals over 8 hours will need a vehicle approval
  • Operators of assembly centres and markets must comply with the technical rules as set out in the regulation
  • For exports, route plans are replaced by journey logs; and stricter rules apply at assembly centres, and control posts
  • Anyone commercially transporting farmed livestock, poultry or horses on journeys of over 65km must hold a certificate of competence (from January 2008)
  • Transporters moving unregistered horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats over 8 hours must use a navigation system for their journeys and keep records for at least 3 years (from January 2009)

Anyone transporting livestock for 65km or eight hours (round journey) must, as of January this year, obtain a Certificate of Competence. Stockmen, hauliers and owners will be required to sit a written test in a bid to gain a Certificate. Registration alone, excluding any training needing to be given, costs from £17 per species and farmers could pay nearer £47 per species to comply. Some have questioned the benefit of undertaking competency tests, suggesting that the test was common sense and just added another unnecessary hoop to jump through.

Defra had signalled that enforcement would be moderate until April 30 in acknowledgement of the difficulty recent disease outbreaks such as foot-and-mouth and bluetongue have caused the farming sector. However many moving stock may still be in breach of the rules.


Aim of the regulation

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Scotland Regulations 2006 aims to introduce administration and enforcement arrangements to ensure compliance with the EU Regulations. Without such Orders, the UK could be liable to infraction proceedings.

New EU Regulations came into force in January 2006 following an investigation into live transport on behalf of the European Commission initiated in December 2000. The report acknowledged that the current rules were not being observed.

Effectiveness of the regulation

The Scottish Government completed a regulatory impact statement looking at the risks, costs and benefits of various options. The English RIA came to similar conclusions.

Approximately 6,200 businesses will be affected by the new Regulations in Scotland. However a possibly disproportionate impact on the transport of species other than the farmed species and horses was revealed. This included the impact on hobby farmers and vehicle and container inspection requirements for other species. Further consideration of the legal interpretation of the regulation allayed some of these concerns.

There were also concerns about inspection requirements for the farmed livestock and horse sectors where no proportionate welfare benefit was seen. Some of these were dealt with under certain limited derogations which apply in particular to road vehicles undertaking journeys of a maximum of 12 hours in order to reach the final destination. This covers the majority of journeys in the UK (bar some from Scottish islands). The following derogations were taken-up:

  • have water constantly available to pigs: the industry consider this to be bad for welfare because pigs do not drink in a moving vehicle but play with the drinkers resulting in water flooding the vehicles. It is however a requirement that water can be made available to pigs when necessary.
  • have insulated roofs in existing vehicles: there is no technical specification for the insulation, therefore enforcement would be difficult; also this is not considered a major welfare benefit for the cost of installation
  • maintain vehicle temperatures at 0°C or more: this particularly affects journeys starting in Scotland - the rationale is that sheep are not housed indoors and are therefore accustomed to sub zero temperatures. However young animals (who are more likely to be housed) should not be included in any derogation.
  • install ventilation, temperature monitoring, and warning systems: expensive, specification lacks practical precision, limited welfare benefits in UK climate
  • install navigation systems: expensive, the rules are unclear, and the EU are considering a more detailed future specification anyway

New ramp angles are not covered by the derogation provisions. Vehicles and trailers built and in use before 5 January 2007 may continue to be used within the UK until 4 January 2012 if it is impractical or uneconomic to convert or alter to comply with the new rules. This also allows for any changes as a result of the EC review of the Regulation.


On the cost side, the RIA done by the Scottish Government estimated that costs would be incurred as follows:

Measures giving rise to costs

Option 2

Full application of Regulation (allows full use of maximum journey times set for each species)

Option 3

Full take up of derogations

(limits journeys to 12 hours)

Option 4

Selected use of derogations from long distance vehicle standards; derogation from vehicle approval for species other than non-farm livestock and horses; deferred implementation of new ramp angles.

Transporter authorisation (cost every 5 years once charging is in place after year 1 )

£0 (£38k)

£0 (£38k)

£0 (£38k)

Training and competence certificates




New ramp angles

- all vehicles




Vehicle standards

- long distance vehicles




Vehicle Inspection & Approval




Total costs

£5,052.5k (£5,090.5k)

£2,340k (£2,378k)

£902.5k (£940.5k)

Source: Regulatory Impact Assessment (Scotland)

The largest elements of the proposals relate to vehicle specifications and are one-off costs. Derogations will defer some vehicle costs until vehicles need to be replaced anyway. Certification of competence is also a one-off cost apart from new entrants into the industry. Authorisations and vehicle inspection approval would be required every 5 years.


It is extremely difficult to quantify the benefits of a public good such as animal welfare. However public perceptions are an important aspect of the benefits of this Regulation, though this might not translate into substantial market benefits.

The Regulation aims to improve the quality of life for the animals. Limited research in this area and difficulties in assessing the impacts will have contributed to the breakdown of discussions in 2004 about journey time and space allocation. As with measuring public goods, it is difficult to measure animal welfare benefits. This regulation does however allow for improved enforceability of the legislation in areas that were assessed as having a significant affect on the animals.

Carcass and meat quality could be affected by transport conditions but it is hard to pin-point when any damage may have occurred, and often hard to identify a problem except in more extreme cases. Mortality is a very crude measure and there are no obvious, practical indices for assessing the welfare of animals during transport when they reach the holding pens or at slaughter. Because the new regulations did not represent significant across the board changes in terms of transport requirements, it is also hard to gauge the any changes to animal welfare as a result of the regulations. Again, difficulties in assessing the extent of any problem in this area, and what improvements might be seen as a result of the Regulations, makes allocating a figure to any benefits difficult.

The main costs of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 29


Scale of cost


Transporter authorisation


Training and competence certificates


Vehicle specifications


Vehicle Inspection & Approval


Record keeping





The main benefits of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006


Scale of benefit


Improved animal welfare

Positive benefit, but uncertain monetary valuation


Improved animal welfare

Positive benefit, but uncertain monetary valuation

Industry views

The Scottish Agricultural College ( SAC) was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise ( HIE) and a coalition of organisations, including NFU Scotland to report on the impact of the EU animal transport regulation on the Highlands and Islands region.

The report concluded that, if the EU proposals were fully implemented, the outlook for the livestock sector in the Highlands and Islands was bleak. The report highlights that the sheep industry would be hit hardest, putting further pressure on profit margins and accelerating the decline in the production base. The cost of compliance would have rested largely with producers in the area, but there were likely to be sizeable impacts on livestock hauliers, ferry companies and markets which could have led to the closure of businesses.

NFUS raised this issue with the Scottish Executive and in Brussels and argued for a sensible derogation to allow the viable movement of animals from Scotland's remote areas to their traditional destinations, many of which are south of the border. NFUS also commented on the issue of enforcement and compliance in other countries and the impact on competitiveness. The frequency of changes in this area was also a concern as time is needed to bed-down new regulations and allow for meaningful assessment of the impact on animal welfare.

NFU officials, while pointing out that the regulations are not something the NFU wanted in the first place, concede that the sector has to abide by the Brussels-inspired regulation.

Two key processors commented that they did not currently see animal welfare issues relating to transport. One commented that the regulation was "short-sighted" in that it did not look at the status of haulage fleets in relation to the scale of investment required. Both suggested that many hauliers were going out of business and this limited farmers access to markets. A high degree of regulation was seen to be a key factor in the decline of slaughter capacity. Together with reduced haulage options, this means that farmers are less able to sell where and when they want.

For hauliers, the cost of upgrading vehicles for longer journeys is a key concern and also raises competitiveness issues where improvements are not made equally across the industry, both within Scotland and in other countries. A lack of enforcement was also raised as a concern. Inadequate lead-time given the scale of the investment required was again mentioned. A question was also posed about the investment losing value if trip times are decreased in the future.

The National Sheep Association ( NSA) expressed concern that updated Regulations were introduced so soon after the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 ( WATO) and also suggested ways in which implementation of new regulations could better targeted to the industry. This included simplified information packages. The NSA also suggested that alternatives to increased regulation should be explored - ie replacing enforced controls with encouragement and persuasion towards achieving desired results.

There are concerns within the pig industry over potential extra costs and rising levels of bureaucracy that these EU regulations will cause. Most UK pig herds are already in Farm Assurance Schemes which also require high standards of welfare and competence by approved hauliers.

The Scottish Crofting Foundation ( SCF) are concerned about the requirements of driver testing and the added levels of complication. The SCF points out that the transport situation in the more remote areas is already complex, and that there could be difficulties pulling together enough animals for a float. The SCF suggest that exemptions for the Highlands and Islands, small farms/crofts and for small numbers of animals should be available.

The Tenant Farmers Association of Scotland ( STFA) do not currently view regulation in this area as a big issue, but note that it does require some organisation of trailer licenses and that it is expensive for hauliers. Again, the issue of exemptions was highlighted in terms of both smaller producers and area waivers.

The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association ( SRPBA) gave this regulation a high burden rating.

The Scottish SPCA believes that the ultimate solution to the problems posed by the transportation of food animals for slaughter is transport on the hook rather than on the hoof. This would mean that animals would be slaughtered as close as possible to their point of rearing. In Scotland, a decline in rural abattoirs has meant an increase in journey times to slaughter for Scotland's farmed animals. The comment was made that although the regulations were very stringent, enforcement varied across Scotland. Overall the UK had good levels of enforcement however, compared to other countries. The point was also made that there is a fine balance between travel time and the requirement for rest periods. As loading and unloading are the most stressful parts, a slightly longer journey may be preferable to a split journey where animals have to be off-loaded.

Compassion in World Farming would like to see a maximum travel time of eight hours in total with no rest period.

Ability of the Scottish Government to influence

Without the implementing Regulations, the UK could be liable to infraction proceedings. However the Scottish government did have some ability to influence the regulation at the implementation stage by taking up derogations and looking at the degree of enforcement.

The options presented in the RIA looked at full take up of the derogations (option 3), or partial take up (option 4) with provisions for ramps. It was concluded that if non-farmed animals are transported in a container which is separate to the vehicle that they are outside the scope for inspection and approval and so do not need derogation. For those animals other than farm livestock and horses that are not excluded from the scope, a derogation was applied for vehicle inspection and approval. The use of the derogations has led to cost savings and deferrals for the industry.

Road vehicles carrying animals for more than eight hours require inspection and approval. The vehicle inspection and approval scheme builds on existing voluntary industry schemes, thus reducing the number of inspections transporters would have been subject to.

Interpretation of the legislation also had an important impact on hobby farmers and requirements for vehicle and container inspections for 'other' species. For example, in defining the term 'economic' use in more detail, some are excluded from the requirements, which led to cost savings for some groups.

The ease of implementation could also be influenced by the government. This could include tailoring information towards the farming community, as well as publicity around new requirements as they come into force. While details of the new transport regulations have been made public for well over a year, producer' representatives have commented that Defra has not done enough to publicise the impact and practicalities. While the Scottish Government have made a large effort to disseminate information, there still appears to be a somewhat hostile attitude towards the regulations amongst farmers. Further, confusion remains about the bounds of the regulations and application. There is also resistance to the certificates of competence from those who have been in the industry for some time.

As well as industry concerns about the proliferation of regulations, concerns about duplication of requirements are likely to be common within the livestock industry. Where possible, taking into account and incorporating existing industry standards, for example Farm Assurance Schemes, could ease transition issues and help to avoid unnecessary additional requirements.

An EC review of maximum journey times, resting periods and space allowance is to take place by 2011. In June 2008 the EC launched a public discussion on whether changes should be made to current legislation - including limiting journey times for animals to be slaughtered to eight hours, and specific time and space allowances. Both the EC and the European Parliament have expressed dissatisfaction with the current regulations governing the issue.

The Scottish Government will need to ensure that the discussion takes into account Scottish conditions and systems. In particular, the science behind any proposed changes will need to be closely examined - particularly the purported animal welfare benefits of any proposal.

Further developments will include a report on implementation of navigation systems and possibly proposals to define specifications to be used by 1 January 2010.

The European Food Standards Authority produced a report in 2004 on transport of poultry and other species for which there are no specific requirements in the Regulation. The European Commission may publish proposals based on these recommendations but there is no timetable for this at present.


Does the regulation originate from an EU Directive?

Yes - Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives

Has a Scottish RIA been completed?


Are the benefits adequately quantified?

The RIA concludes that the benefits are not financially quantifiable. As with measuring public goods, it is difficult to measure animal welfare benefits. This regulation does however improve the enforceability of the legislation in areas that were assessed as having a significant affect on the animals.

Are the administrative costs adequately quantified?


Are the policy costs adequately quantified?


What are the problems with the regulation?

While industry generally accepts that the sector has to abide by Brussels-inspired regulation, there are concerns about the number of changes to rules impacting on the rural community, and the frequency of changes which may not allow sufficient time for the regulations to bed-in. The industry pushed for the up-take of derogations and will be keen to see that any future changes proposed as part of the review are fully and scientifically justified in terms of the animal welfare benefits, and are also in balance with the cost of implementation along the chain.

What is the overall balance - cost or benefit?

This is difficult to assess given that benefits have not been quantified. Scotland introduced enabling legislation that made use of the derogations in areas where the cost to the industry outweighed the potential animal welfare benefits. Some derogations were not included where compliance was not considered to present difficulties for the industry. Through interpretation of the legislation, the Scottish government was also able to ensure flexibility in some areas relating to who was covered by the regulation and how strictly or quickly new rules were to be applied.

If the Scottish government had not used the derogations and a flexible approach, significant extra costs would have been incurred by the industry with questionable off-setting improvements in animal welfare.

Some in the industry have questioned the benefit of undertaking competency tests, suggesting that the test was common sense and just added another unnecessary hoop to jump through.

Suggestions for improvements

The government will need to take part in any discussions relating to the proposed review to ensure that the particular characteristics of the Scottish farming system are taken into account. Key focus areas will be rest times, journey length and space allowances. Close consultation with industry and research partners should draw out any differences between perceived and actual animal welfare benefits. This will ensure effective and meaningful regulation in the animal transport area within the context of EU level legislation.

Does it meet the Better Regulation guidelines?

Transparency: Medium. While details of the new transport regulations have been made public for well over a year and the Scottish Government made a concerted effort to inform the farming community (even writing to all livestock owners), there remains a feeling in the industry that more could have been done to publicise the impact and practicalities. Tailoring information towards the farming community in terms of access to information, the clearness and quantity of information, as well as publicity around new requirements as they come into force would assist in implementing the regulations effectively. A review of the approach used by the Scottish Government may highlight areas where the targeted audience is not being captured.

Accountability: Medium. The Scottish government is responsible for designing and implementing the regulation in accordance with the EC regulation. At the practical level, those involved with transporting animals are responsible for complying with the regulation. Primary enforcement remains with local authorities and with the state veterinary service. The medium accountability rating reflects the fact that some involved with the transportation of animals may not yet be aware of the requirements. Enforcement of new requirements as they come into force may also take some time to bed down.

Proportionality: Medium. The derogations and other measures used by the Scottish government in designing the regulation make the costs more proportional to the perceived benefits. While some have commented on the necessity of the competence tests, the cost and time required does not appear to be a big concern.

Consistency: Low. Different classes of animals, for different purposes, are treated differently. Current work by the EC in terms of poultry and other species may improve the coverage of the regulation. More evidence of the animal welfare benefits will also help to provide better rationale for differences in requirements across species, transport mode (eg container versus vehicle) and distance.

Targeted: Low. This rating reflects the issues with consistency set out above, and the lack of scientific justification for measures which would allow better quantification of the benefits.


Scottish Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 606 The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006

Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on Compliance with Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the Protection of Animals During Transport and Related Operations

Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives

Final Regulatory Impact Assessment on Compliance with Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the Protection of Animals During Transport and Related Operations

The impact of the EU animal transport regulation on the Highlands and Islands region ( SAC, 2003)

Animal Welfare During Transport ( EC)

Welfare of Animals During Transport (Defra, 2008)

Back to top