31 March 1995

Dioxin inquiry

is squashed

MAFF has again turned down requests for a public inquiry into dioxin contamination of farmland in the Bolsover area of Derbyshire.

But junior farm minister Angela Browning has promised further tests will be taken in the area this year. She even invited Dennis Skinner, Bolsovers Labour MP, to call on her at MAFF to discuss the problem in more detail.

Mr Skinner told the Commons that in several years high levels of dioxins had occurred not only in milk but in the River Doe Lea – about 1000 times above the safety level – and in the atmosphere.

There was now alarming news that dioxin had been found in the blood of some workers at the Coalite plant, he said. "In view of those facts, will the ministry now hold the public inquiry that was refused years ago?" he asked.

Mrs Browning said she could not give Mr Skinner an assurance of a public inquiry "this afternoon" but she was keen to hear his further views on the matter he had rightly brought often to the attention of the Commons. &#42