2 April 2001
Villagers hit out over mass burial
by Wendy Owen, north-west correspondent
VILLAGERS in County Durham have complained that a burial site for 150,000 sheep slaughtered because of foot-and-mouth is too close to their houses.
Local farmer, David Barron, whose dairy farm borders the dumping ground, said it was only about six miles away from the nearest case of the disease.
I understand they have to bury the carcasses somewhere but I would have thought they could have found a place closer to a confirmed case, he said.
Instead they will be bringing the disease to a relatively clean area. I feel very vulnerable, especially when the wind is blowing from that direction.
Chapmans Well, a former open cast mine between Quaking Houses and Annfield Plain, Consett, was previously used for household waste.
Local council officials had refused permission for the site which villages complained is just 350 metres away from their houses.
But the Ministry of Agriculture over-ruled the decision.
MAFF foot-and-mouth operations director John Bainton said the site posed no threat to human health and would be used until an alternative was found.
Strict safety measures would be employed and that all vehicles entering and leaving the site would be disinfected, he added.
Cattle would not be buried at Chapmans Well but are to be sent to an as yet unnamed site, said Mr Bainton.
MAFF is currently said to be considering the building of new disposal sites at Teeside, West Rainton, near Durham and Port Clarence.