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Monday, 26 November, 2001, 17:05 GMT
Report on farm disease 'confusion'
Culling on the Brecon Beacons
Around 330,000 animals were culled in Wales
The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) is calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

A draft report claims the lack of a national contingency plan caused serious problems and that there was confusion over who was responsible for making decisions throughout the crisis.

Walkers on Snowdon
Snowdon was closed to walkers for months

The WLGA - which represents the 22 Welsh authorities - believes there were serious shortcomings in efforts to control the outbreak which resulted in around 333,000 animals being killed in Wales following the confirmation of 118 cases.

The report calls for the Welsh Assembly to be given full devolution of animal health legislation.

As well as a crippling impact on Wales's agricultural industry, the disease outbreak had a severe impact on another of the nation's leading industries - tourism.

Powys - home of the Brecon Beacons and many hotels, B&Bs and restaurants - was the worst-hit area in Wales during the crisis, with 78 of the 118 confirmed cases of the virus.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 2,030 - with 118 in Wales
Powys - 78 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 21 cases
Caerphilly - 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3

New figures suggest those working in the tourist trade will face losses of 280m by the end of the year.

The report, published on Monday, said situations such as this might have been eased if there had not been the confusion over the roles and responsibilities of different organisations - many of whom found the assembly's role unclear.

Now going out to consultation, the report goes onto criticises an apparent early lack of communication between the now defunct Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and the assembly.

A lack of appropriate advice and guidance in turn left councils feeling they were unable to solve problems.

Added to that, the study claimed, different assembly ministers were giving out conflicting advice on access to the countryside.

BBC Wales's Melanie Doel
"There was confusion over who was responsible for what during the foot and mouth crisis"
See also:

15 Nov 01 | Wales
Hunting with dogs ban lifted
02 Nov 01 | England
Foot-and-mouth fears fade
08 Nov 01 | Wales
Rural firms seek virus payouts
23 Oct 01 | Wales
Blessed urges return to Beacons
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