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Monday, 8 October, 2001, 05:24 GMT 06:24 UK
Disease inquiry examines Devon's future
Pyres burning
There were 173 confirmed cases in Devon
An inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis in Devon starts on Monday.

The Devon investigation is the only local inquiry in which the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has agreed to take part.

The inquiry committee will conduct a series of public hearings at County Hall, Exeter, from 8-12 October.

Evidence will be invited from various agencies and special interest groups involved in responding to the outbreak.

Outbreak 'lessons'

Devon County Council launched their investigation in August, saying it would complement the government's three independent inquiries into the transmission, prevention and control of epidemics, and the future of farming and food.

Dartmoor sign
The inquiry could help Devon's economy recover
There were 173 confirmed cases of the disease in the county during the crisis.

The inquiry will be chaired by Professor Ian Mercer, a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies who has lived in Devon since 1959.

The inquiry will hear 50 pieces of oral evidence and 350 written submissions.

The authority said the inquiry "with the people's participation" was being held in partnership with the county's district councils.

Council leader Brian Greenslade said: "It is important that, together with our district councils, we learn the lessons of this outbreak and what conclusions we should draw for the future well-being of the rural economy."

The government has promised to give written answers to every question put forward in the inquiry in Devon.

The inquiry's findings will be used to support funding bids for the county's economic recovery plan.

See also:

04 Oct 01 | England
Council inquiry to be webcast
03 Oct 01 | England
Public respond to disease inquiry
20 Aug 01 | UK
Cattle back on sale
20 Aug 01 | UK
Six months of farm misery
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