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National Craft Butchers News

NCB Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers Acting President John Mettrick Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers are expecting proposals this week from FSA Operations on the future of meat inspection.

John Mettrick said, “The NCB team have been engaging positively with FSA and other government departments for some time now . They are listening and are sympathetic to our cause. However now is the time for the FSA to come forward with a firm declaration of intent.”

William Lloyd Williams, Policy director at NCB added, “We have all seen over the last 12 months how much the British public value their local butcher and farm shop. Without a thriving network of small and medium abattoirs the future of high quality, known provenance and low-carbon meat could be lost forever.

NCB Policy and Technical Manager pointed out that, “The UK authorities could do so much to help smaller abattoirs by introducing flexible, risk-based, less bureaucratic and IT savvy practices. It is particularly ironic that the EU has already moved in this direction but due to the timing of Brexit the UK has not been able to take advantage. It is imperative that Minister’s put meat inspection reform at the top of the agenda for post-Brexit legislation”.

John Mettrick concluded, “Craft Butchers are urging the FSA to bite the bullet and use this once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the prospects of the local abattoir sector.”

National Craft Butchers were founding members of the Campaign for Local Abattoirs and more recently the Abattoir Sector Group. The aim of these groups is to ensure the future of small abattoirs UK wide.

NCB hold regular Zoom meetings with abattoir members. These have been informal and popular events and members have been keen to feed in views and comments, which has informed NCB policy.

Local Abattoirs

Local Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers supports several of the conclusions in February’s Review of WATOK, we were especially glad to see the recognition the APGAW Small Abattoir report and the unique challenges faced by Local Abattoirs throughout the country.

The review identified a small number of instances where burdens might be reduced on businesses, including possible extension of the period of a Temporary Certificate of Competence for training purposes, currently this can only be extended for exceptional circumstances and this can be a challenge for those who are training at Local Abattoirs who offer discontinuous slaughter.  

To read the full post implementation review of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 please click here -

For more information on National Craft Butchers work supporting Small & Local Abattoirs then please see the following:

Craft Butcher Magazine:

Campaign for Local Abattoirs:

Abattoir Sector Group:

Industry bodies warn Secretary of State: uncontrolled conversions to residential will damage high streets.

Industry bodies warn Secretary of State: uncontrolled conversions to residential will damage high streets.


11 February 2021, London:

Leading industry bodies have issued a joint letter today to The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP – Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – to urge the Government to recognise that its proposals for a blanket permitted development right on our high streets, enabling conversions to residential without planning permission, puts the future of our town centres at serious risk.

The coalition of industry bodies – comprising 27 leaders from across the property, retail, leisure, hospitality and planning sectors – believes strongly that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside businesses and the community.

While the residential sector will play a vital role in future town centre recovery, the Government’s proposed new PDR will encourage delivery of new homes in an uncoordinated manner on our high streets, threatening the existence of community services, education, healthcare and leisure, among others.



The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

2 Marsham Street



11 February 2021

Dear Secretary of State,

Proposed new Permitted Development Right

As representatives from across the economy and society, we believe passionately that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside business and the community.

It is well-recognised by your department that the best town centres do not just happen but require active co-ordination at a local level. The NPPF policies support this approach, as do the objectives of the High Streets Task Force and the guidance for both the Towns Fund and the Future High Streets Fund. Blanket permitted development rights for E Use Class to residential would damage these objectives for relatively minimal returns on additional housing stock. 

We welcome Government recognition that our town centres must change, but an all-embracing permitted development right that allows most commercial buildings to be converted to housing risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus.

Putting ground floor housing in a random and uncontrolled manner within high streets does not draw footfall, does not support new businesses, reduces the potential for business growth and will undermine the viability of existing retail, cultural and commercial activities on the high street and remove convenience stores from local neighbourhoods. This will create a vicious circle whereby the reduced viability of the remaining commercial uses in turn threatens their existence and incentivises their conversion to residential.

At the neighbourhood level, we consider that local centres would be particularly at risk. The loss of local shops and services could precipitate their decline at a time when we are putting greater emphasis on the need for walkable neighbourhoods which provide a range of day-to-day needs in local centres. A change of use to housing is a one-way trip.

The policy puts the premises of small businesses at risk of redevelopment, will impact the real diversification of the high street and could threaten the existence of E Use classes uses such as financial and legal services, health centres, GP surgeries, Post Offices, community centres and hubs, gyms, leisure facilities, education, co-working spaces, and life sciences and deter other innovations coming into town centres.

Light industrial premises and the jobs and services they provide could be converted to residential, even though the locations could be far from the facilities and public transport residents need. 

Financially, the proposed permitted development right reduces local authorities’ ability to raise funds to mitigate the impact of conversions due to loss of planning gain, yet increases the pressure on local services, such as schools and other social infrastructure. In a relatively short time, it could also make a significant dent in local authority finances as council tax generally results in a lower contribution to local authority finances than business rates for the same size property.

You may be aware of concerns being raised about the lack of democratic oversight arising from the extensive use of permitted development rights. In the recent White Paper, you highlighted that the planning system has lost the public's trust. We are concerned that the extensive use of permitted development rights in the manner proposed without democratic oversight will lead to a further erosion of public trust and confidence in the planning system.

We therefore ask you to consider re-evaluating this policy. Instead, we believe more support should be given to local authorities to develop their own renewal plans, under clear direction in national policy. There is certainly the will and enthusiasm at a local level. What is often lacking is resource.

We all stand ready to support your aspirations for economic recovery, but we also all have an over-riding duty to our communities to build back better.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Harrison, Executive Director, ActSmart

James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores

Christopher Hall, Executive Director, Association of Cycle Traders

Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive, Association of Town and City Management

Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland

Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association


Melanie Leech CBE, Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

Jim Winship, Director, The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association

Karen Dear, Director of Operations, Craft Bakers Association

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, CPRE ‘the countryside charity’

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association

John Farrand, Managing Director, Guild of Fine Food

Mark Walmsley, Chair, Independent Retailers Confederation

Simon Quin, Co-Chair, Institute of Place Management

Bill Addy, Chief Executive, Liverpool BID Company

Peter Eversden MBE, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Corrine Stuart, Chief Executive, National Craft Butchers

Gary Wroe, Chair, National Association of Jewellers

Stuart Reddish, National President, National Federation of Independent Retailers

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, NMTF

Mike Kiely, Chair, Planning Officers Society

Prof. Alan M Jones, President, Royal Institute of British Architects

Matthew Howell, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, RICS

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association

ORFC Small Abattoir Highlights

Oxford Real Farming Conference Highlights for Small Abattoirs

The small abattoir sector will be encouraged by comments by speakers at the ORFC session on small abattoirs run by SFT. Comments by an American abattoir owner on using animal by-products in manufacture pet food products and composting were very interesting.

Emily Miles, FSA CEO, acknowledged that the one size fits all approach to abattoir regulation needed review and was being looked at under operational transformation. Emily also intimated that government agencies needed to coordinate more in data sharing and in respect of providing consumers with information about their food.

A Pasture Fed Livestock Association supported project on hides to leather from local farms and small abattoirs was encouraging.

Marisa Heath gave an outline of the new Abattoir Sector Group which NCB are members of and asked for interested parties to support the group and involve their local MP’s.

The sector group is looking to help develop an environment where small abattoirs are sustainable into the future so farmers have access to their services and the public have access to local meat.

Subscribe to NCB newsletter for updates -

Links to further Information


Campaign for Local Abattoirs -



Wild Game


Wild Game


The Food Standards Agency recently updated their guidance, “Supply of Game for Human Consumption”. It is mainly a cosmetic updating but could lead to greater regulatory activity with your EHO asking questions about your game handling on their next visit.

The requirement to be licensed to sell game has long gone (and sadly missed by many) but there are still a few procedures butchers need to remember, especially if you buy from local hunters and shoots etc.

The most important requirement is that you know who you are buying from. Ask them if they are registered with the local authority as a food business (they do not have to be an “approved game handling establishment”) if they are supplying small quantities on a local basis. This assumes that you are supplying the end consumer.

If you supply other businesses things can get more complicated- call me to discuss further or check out the guidance for yourself. The definition of local is generous; local means within the hunter’s own county plus the greater of either the neighbouring county or counties OR 30 miles from the supplying county boundary.

The other main legal requirements are to keep records. Ensure that your supplier gives you a proper detailed invoice for every supply. The recommended temperature control for wild game is below 70C for large game and 40C for small game.

Many EHO’s will be anxious about how you handle game especially if it is still in fur and feather and/or needs evisceration. Make sure you have a documented procedure and excellent separation followed by a thorough clean and disinfection. EHO’s will often expect separation to be a designated separate room. Where this is not possible enforcement officers will usually tolerate separation in time provided you have robust procedures in place. Call me if this becomes an issue for you.