15 May 1998

Review live export ban, P&Ois urged

A SHEEP producer and P&O Ferries shareholder has called for a review of the companys ban on live exports at its annual general meeting in London.

Kent-based producer Geoffrey Homewood claimed that the company was costing UK sheep producers £5 a ewe, by denying producers access to markets in Europe.

"Government says that there is no crock of gold for us in subsidies from Brussels. But we could be making our own crock of gold without the support of the taxpayer, by selling our sheep just across the Channel," said Mr Homewood.

And he questioned the motives for P&Os ban on transporting sheep from the UK, when the company continued to support live exports from other EU countries such as southern Ireland, despite longer journey times.

Stop and go

"P&O stops us from exporting sheep on a one-and-a-half hour journey from Dover to Calais, while another arm of the company, Pandora, takes sheep from southern Ireland on 24 hour journeys.

"Surely with the improved wagons, tougher transport legislation and shorter journey times which have been introduced since P&O introduced the ban three years ago, it would be better all round for P&O to review the ban and transport British sheep again," he said.