Concern has been raised over the slow uptake to renew livestock and poultry haulage licences, which are required for certain journeys as part of welfare in transport laws in England, Scotland and Wales.
More than 8,800 licences are due for renewal in 2022, according to data seen by Farmers Weekly, and there are more than 2,400 licences that expired in January and February but have not yet been renewed – raising fears of unlicensed loads on the road.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) has asked farmers and hauliers to check the expiry date of their licence and apply for renewal as soon as possible.
The transporter authorisations, type one and type two, are valid for five years.
Type one is required for journeys more than 65km and up to eight hours in duration. Type 2 is required for those transporting animals for journeys more than eight hours.
This applies to journeys within, from, to and through Great Britain.
John Royle, chief livestock adviser at the NFU, urged farmers to check their licence and stay legal.
“I don’t necessarily think it makes anybody suddenly unsafe [if their licence has expired], it is just a procedure farmers need to do,” he told Farmers Weekly.
“Make some time to do it and stay legal. Don’t risk being told off or investigated by your local authority.”
Mr Royle suggested Apha should be more proactive to make farmers aware they need to renew their transport licence every five years.
“While take-up is really low, I am not surprised. Farmers are hard to reach, especially online or on social media. It would be good to have some roadshow messages – at livestock markets, perhaps.”
Mr Royle said following the rules was important for the reputation of the livestock industry.
“We want to be seen as a professional industry that transports animals and makes sure the welfare is the best it can be.
“We want to portray an industry where people are appropriately trained, or we run the risk of tighter regulations and more burden on the industry.”
An Apha spokesperson said: “In order to comply with current welfare in transport regulations, animal transporters must submit an application to renew their authorisation.
“Failure to do so risks heavy penalties if transporters are found to be operating without valid authorisation.”
Farmers and hauliers should contact Apha’s Welfare in Transport team for a renewal application pack or to discuss any queries. Phone: 03000 200 301 or email: WIT@apha.gov.uk