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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
County 'unprepared for outbreak'
Cumbria could struggle if there is another outbreak of foot and mouth disease, says an independent expert.

Professor Phil Thomas, a scientific consultant with expertise in agriculture and epidemiology, said contingency plans had not been tested.

Addressing the county council on Thursday he said that although a national plan had been drawn up, a local action plan was untested.

Mr Thomas chaired the council's original disease inquiry in 2002.

He claims it is vital that there is a local exercise to make sure that everyone knows what they should do.

He said: "That would be the ideal situation to get to. There is a series of issues in relation to footpaths and rights of way.

"Cumbria is a very complicated place and therefore the plan needs to be out there in the public domain and tested through a proper exercise so any limits can be identified."

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