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COUNTRYSIDE AGENCY COMMENT ON LAUNCH OF INQUIRIES INTO FOOT AND MOUTH

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Welcoming the announcement of three independent inquiries into the lessons to be learned from the current foot and ...
Welcoming the announcement of three independent inquiries into the lessons to be learned from the current foot and mouth outbreak and the future of farming and the countryside (see LGCnet), Countryside Agency chief executive Richard Wakeford said: 'It is particularly important that the 'Lessons Learned' inquiry considers the broader impact of measures to handle any future major animal disease outbreak on all rural businesses.

'The wholesale closure of rights of way, while understandable as an initial precautionary measure, also had a devastating impact on other rural incomes because it gave the impression that the whole of the countryside was shut for business, even in areas well away from livestock or infection.

'We have called for fresh thinking on the future of farming and food. Our sustainable land management strategy calls for action to re-engage farmers in a new contract with the public. Consumers need to understand the relationship between the products they buy and the maintenance of an attractive economically viable countryside so they can make informed choices - while farmers are paid for producing what the public want - high quality reasonably priced food and a quality environment.

'We look forward to working with these inquiries to develop a reshaped agriculture within a sound rural economy.'

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