The Government today published their interim response to the BSE Inquiry Report, ahead of a full Parliamentary debate on 15 February. The response will provide a basis for consultation and discussions, enabling all interested parties to put forward ideas about the Inquiry’s findings and the Government’s proposals, so as to contribute to the development of the final response.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:

“This response is intended to focus on the future. It sets out what has happened since March 1996 – which was the point to which we asked the Inquiry to take its examination. It gives full attention to the 167 specific findings and conclusions in the Inquiry Report, and to the major themes that emerge from it: management of scientific advisory committees and how scientific advice is used in developing policy; openness; risk and uncertainty; the structure of government and the legislative framework; and the need for rigour in the development and implementation of policy.

The response takes the opportunity to set out how the Government is taking the lessons and comments in the Report as a spur to developing the action already underway as a result of the Modernising Government agenda, the Office of Science and Technology’s work on the use of science in government and work on developing a Government Statement on Risk.”

Nick Brown also stressed the importance of effective consultation with stakeholders and the wider public:

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“The Government intends that this interim response should be the subject of positive action to seek the views of interested parties. Public debate on how the lessons in the Report can be most effectively applied and embedded across departments will help to ensure a comprehensive final Government Response to the BSE Inquiry Report.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The BSE Inquiry Report was published on 26 October 2000.

  2. Nick Brown announced on 21 December 2000 that the Government would be making an interim response to the BSE Inquiry Report as a basis for public consultation before finalising its full response.

  3. The Government’s interim response has been prepared with contributions from across Whitehall and the devolved administrations and seeks to present the actions being taken in all the legislatures.

  4. Comments on the Government’s response can be sent to Mark Filley, BSE Inquiry Liaison Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1A Page Street, London, SW1P 4PQ

  5. Comments can also be sent to the following contacts in the devolved administrations: for Wales, Gwyn Jones, Agriculture Policy Division , National Assembly for Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ (; for Scotland, Michael Garden, BSE Inquiry Liaison Unit, Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department, Room 358d, Pentland House, 47 Robb’s Loan, Edinburgh, EH14 1T (; for Northern Ireland, Wesley Shannon, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Room 714, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB (

  6. Comments should be submitted by 30 April 2001.

  7. The BSE Inquiry Report is available on the internet, at the following address:

  8. The Government’s interim response is also available on the internet at

  9. The Government’s substantive response to the BSE Inquiry Report will be published in the coming months.