7 November 2001
Vehicle virus rules under review

By James Garner

THE government is reviewing foot-and-mouth biosecurity measures governing the movement of vehicles on to and off farms.

Food and farming minister Lord Whitty said he hoped controls would be eased in disease-free counties soon.

Vehicles entering farms to pick up produce, such as milk and grain and deliver feed, are subject to costly cleansing and disinfectant controls.

Without committing to a timetable, Lord Whitty said changes in disease-free counties would occur in the next few months, probably in the New Year.

But he outlined that restrictions must be “proportionate to the risk”.

He said: “Stringent biosecurity precautions are the key to finally beating this disease. This is our clear and constant message.

“People and vehicles entering and leaving farms must be clean.”

He also reinforced the governments determined stance on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy.

“Certainly at present the CAP is failing to deliver for any of us.

“At a fiscal cost of Euro40 billion [25bn] a year and a massive environmental cost, it is failing the taxpayer.”

It also fell short of providing consumers with value for money, costing EU shoppers Euro48bn a year more than if food prices were at world market levels.

Lord Whitty said that the CAP short-changed farmers too, by constraining business decisions and focusing on subsidies.

He was speaking at the annual Dairy Industry Federation dinner in London on Tuesday (6 November).

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage
Recovery plan – Full coverage