24 August 2001
Hills need action now – Haskins

By Jeremy Hunt

LORD HASKINS, appointed to devise a foot-and-mouth recovery plan, believes problems faced by hill farmers must be addressed within days not weeks.

The Labour peer said he planned to start work next week on tackling the mounting crisis resulting from sheep movement restrictions.

Although not scheduled to make his final recommendations to Tony Blair until late September, he said measures to help farmers must be prioritised.

He said: “My immediate concern is farmers who have not had the disease, but are nevertheless suffering difficulties.

“We must try and find ways of easing movement restrictions to enable their businesses to function.”

Lord Haskins said he was aware of the seasonal problems being faced by hill farms with store and breeding stock that must be sold before the winter.

He added: “I shall be making noises to appropriate people within days rather than weeks over the problems faced by farmers.”

Lord Haskins said he was particularly concerned about farmers caught up in livestock movement restrictions, especially those with stock to move off hills.

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