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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Park urges foot-and-mouth rethink
Dead cows lying in field   PA
Thousands of animals throughout Cumbria were slaughtered
There should not be a "blanket ban" on public access to the countryside in any future foot-and-mouth outbreak, national park bosses in Cumbria say.

The recommendation is included in a report by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) into the effects of the devastating 2001 outbreak.

The authority is also urging the government to rethink how infected buildings are cleaned up.

The authority said valuable lessons needed to be learned from the outbreak.

The authority said rules enforced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) during the crisis resulted in massive damage to the county's tourism industry as well as traditional farm building.

Millions of pounds were lost to the area's agricultural and tourism industries during the outbreak in which tens of thousands of animals were culled.

The authority said it wanted to ensure any future outbreak was effectively controlled from an agricultural viewpoint, but in a way that maintained as much public access as possible to allow other parts of the rural economy to continue.

'Clear guidelines'

The authority's conservation manager, Andrew Herbert, said: "The effective blanket closure of public access to the countryside in 2001 was due to the additional powers given by the government to allow local authorities to close land and rights of way across wide areas.

"We now know how damaging this was to the rural economy, in particular tourism.

"If in any future outbreak the government only allowed closure of land within a three kilometres radius of infected premises, much more land in the national park would remain open for access.

"Another key area of impact during the 2001 outbreak was the damage caused to some traditional farm buildings by the cleansing and disinfection procedures used.

"We are keen to co-operate with Defra to formulate clear guidelines for dealing with any future outbreak.

"We would hope that our own building specialists would be able to offer specific recommendations in relation to caring for traditional Lake District buildings and following approved working practices."




SEE ALSO:
Farmers demand payment
21 Oct 03 |  Devon
Man 'still owed over outbreak'
04 Feb 05 |  Shropshire
New foot-and-mouth action urged
02 Feb 05 |  UK Politics


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