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Written Statement - County Parish Holdings (CPH) Project – part of the Working Smarter Programme

Alun Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

The County Parish Holding (CPH) reference number is important as it underpins a number of livestock control systems used to identify farmed holdings and therefore it is fundamental in identifying and tracing the location of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs as required by European Regulation.

Recommendation 32 of Gareth Williams’ Working Smarter report states that “The Welsh Government must rapidly progress the CPH transfer project to derive a sensible, credible, simplified, easily understood and implemented system of movement controls.  The project must aim to remove multiple CPH, Sole Occupancy Authority (SOA), Cattle Tracing System (CTS) links and the multitude of existing variations which add unnecessary complexity at present.”

In response to Gareth’s recommendation and the widely held view within the industry that a solution must be found to this issue, I have decided that the Welsh Government should proceed with the introduction of improvements to the CPH system in Wales.  My officials have been working closely with stakeholders and partners in order to define what a new improved system should look like.

My decision to rationalise the CPH system involves the removal of Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs) and CTS links. The implementation of a 10 mile rule will allow livestock keepers to improve the efficiency of their business by giving them the opportunity to control all land parcels under their management within 10 miles of the main holding; and to do this under one CPH reference. In light of the importance of the move to a 10 mile rule, I intend undertaking a full consultation on this aspect in the Spring.

Land parcels within a CPH will be linked to the land parcel identification system (LPIS) which will give the Welsh Government and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) a much improved record of a holding. This will provide a quicker and more effective response to any animal disease outbreak.

My decision represents a significant investment by Government on behalf of the farming industry in Wales. It will help to simplify the current system, establish consistent rules across species, and reduce the administrative burden on farmers in line with our Working Smarter objectives.

What will follow is a period of system development to existing Welsh Government computer systems. My officials will continue to work with key stakeholders and partner agencies such as AHVLA and British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). I expect the roll out of the new CPH business systems to commence in 2015.  What this means in the interim, is that no new SOA applications or requests for the addition of new holdings to existing SOAs will be accepted.

Alongside the work on the new systems, my officials will start work on the important communications around this issue to ensure that individual farmers understand how these changes will impact on and benefit them.