24 August 2001

Not much time – Lord Haskins

LORD Haskins, the man asked by the government to devise a rural recovery plan after foot-and-mouth, has warned that problems faced by hill farmers must be addressed "within days rather than weeks".

During a visit to a Lake District farm, Lord Haskins 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 until late September, he said measures to help farmers must be prioritised.

"I will make my recommendations to the Prime Minister in three to four weeks but 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 who are caught up in livestock movement restrictions, particularly those with stock to move off hill farms."

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