17 August 2001

Biosecurity measures are flouted

DOZENS of farmers and drivers have been caught breaking tough new biosecurity measures to control foot-and-mouth disease near the Thirsk hot-spot in Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire trading standards officers based in Northallerton said spot checks by trading standards officers and North Yorkshire police on 677 farms and 383 vehicles, revealed that a total of 46 farms and 43 vehicles were found to be breaking the new regulations.

Infringements ranged from farmers not providing disinfectant foot-baths at farm entrances, to vehicles leaving farm premises without having been properly cleaned and disinfected.

After reviewing the statistics, trading standards officers are now warning farmers and drivers who visit farms that they face prosecution if they fail to comply with biosecurity regulations again.

The stringent rules were introduced last week in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the F&M hotspot around Thirsk spreading into the Vale of York, where it would threaten the massive pig populations of East Yorks and North Lincolnshire.

The checks on farms and vehicles have been co-ordinated by North Yorkshire trading standards officers – assisted by colleagues from as far away as Norfolk and Cornwall – working with local police. They have been taken aback by the level of non-compliance.

"We are determined to make the operation a success. Farmers and drivers who fail to comply with the biosecurity arrangements now in place are likely to be reported for prosecution. By the end of 30 days we intend to ensure that there are absolutely no infringements within the area under patrol." &#42

A spokesman for the NFU said there would be "little sympathy" for any farmer caught failing to comply with the biosecurity crackdown in North Yorkshire.