12 June 1998

Chernobyl watch

ANNUAL monitoring of the Cumbrian sheep farms still subject to post-Chernobyl restrictions has begun.

Radioactivity levels on six of the 10 farms still under restriction, 12 years since the nuclear accident, will be recorded by MAFF throughout the summer.

If tests show levels consistently below 1000 Bequerels/kg in all the sheep in the flock then controls may be lifted. Results are due in Jan 1999.

The remaining four farms are not being tested because MAFF believes they are unlikely to meet the derestriction criteria this year.

The survey will also involve two holdings where movement restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

The farms still subject to controls carry a total of 12,000 sheep.