9 May 2001
Scots focus on rebuilding countryside

By Shelley Wright, Scotland correspondent

SCOTLAND is over the worst of foot-and-mouth and the focus must now switch to rebuilding the rural economy, said Scottish rural development minister Ross Finnie.

“We must, of course, remain vigilant. But, as we turn more to local mopping-up, we can begin to concentrate on planning for recovery,” Mr Finnie said.

“There is no room for complacency. But by sticking doggedly to our policy for ridding Scotland of this terrible disease I can now say that the worst is over.”

The Scottish Executive has already committed more than 13.5 million to immediate relief and support schemes for affected businesses throughout Scotland.

The money is addition to some 150m in compensation to farmers who had livestock slaughtered in an effort to bring the disease under control.

Figures from Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway show half of the businesses in the area lost an average of 22,000 in turnover due to the outbreak.

Norma Hart of Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board said Easter bookings were 20% down on last year, and there was little evidence of an improvement this summer.

To date, almost 1300 farms – 62% of the regions holdings – have had animals slaughtered, with 60,700 cattle and more than 520,000 sheep being culled.

With the 3km firebreak cull of sheep now completed, Brigadier Hughie Monro said numbers of soldiers in Dumfries and Galloway would now be cut to about 70.

There were 470 soldiers on the ground at the peak of the disease outbreak.

A company of soldiers from the Highlanders regiment in 10 teams would stay in the area and would be mobilised if they were needed.

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage