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FOOT AND MOUTH CRISIS - UPDATED 4:24PM

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COUNTY COUNCIL ACTS QUICKLY IN RESPONSE TO FOOT AND MOUTH OUTBREAK ...
COUNTY COUNCIL ACTS QUICKLY IN RESPONSE TO FOOT AND MOUTH OUTBREAK
Northumberland County Council took urgent action as soon as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease was confirmed at Burnside Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall, on Friday February 23.
In responding quickly to the crisis the authority was able to continue to deliver services and inform the public with all the latest information.
An emergency centre was set up within hours of the outbreak and to date has received over 6000 calls. It is now open from 7am to 10pm daily - 01670 517313
As soon as central government announced new powers for local authorities to close public footpaths the county council began issuing 25,000 notices to be displayed by all livestock farms in the county.
Staff and pupils living on farms in affected areas or who had been in recent contact with livestock were asked to stay away from school until further notice. Three first schools (Belsay, Stamfordham and Whitfield) had to close because teachers fell into this category and were unable to get to work.
Essential social services - those to the vulnerable people - including home helps , have been maintained at all times with personnel involved asked to follow the national MAFF guidelines of disinfecting footwear and car tyres if visiting farms.
Country parks at Plessey Woods, Bolam Lake, and Tyne Riverside have all closed as yet another example of how the county council is doing everything possible to prevent the spread of foot and mouth.
Special information bulletins with foot and mouth and school closure updates are available on the county council website www.northumberland.gov.uk.
The county council has acted in a supporting role throughout. The lead responsibility is with MAFF.
Staff and members of the authority have been fully updated with regular daily bulletin boards and notices.
NOTE
Northumberland County Council can confirm that a complaint was received in late December from the RSPCA about Burnside Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall concerning unburied carcasses.
Trading standards regularly receive complaints from individuals and organisations with a shared interest in animal welfare. We welcome their involvement and always respond promptly and thoroughly to complaints.
Trading Standards receives one or two complaints of a similar nature every week. Northumberland has approximately 2000 livestock farms.
This particular complaint was followed up according to normal procedure and an animal health inspector, accompanied by a MAFF vet, visited the farm on December 22. Trading standards inspectors rely on MAFF vets to advise us on the health and welfare of livestock.
A programmed re-visit, again in line with routine procedure and accompanied by a MAFF vet, was made to the farm on January 24.
No unburied carcasses were found on the premises and we were advised by the MAFF vet that the animals were of a satisfactory condition on both occasions.
Trading standards are not involved in the licensing of farms that process or feed swill.
Northumberland Schools do not supply catering waste for processing as pig swill. All food and kitchen waste is collected along with all other school waste by the district councils and their contractors.
FOOT AND MOUTH MEASURES AFFECTING BOLTON
Bolton is bracing itself to battle the threat of foot and mouth.
Measures are now being put into place to prevent the possible spread of the
disease following the announcements of outbreaks of the disease in Lancashire.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has declared a 16km
infected area centred on Ollerton Farm near Withnell, Chorley . The Smithills, Egerton, Horwich, Lostock and Blackrod areas in the northern part of the borough all fall within this zone.
Working with MAFF, Bolton Council is closing all footpaths within the borough which lead directly through farmland and countryside areas or are adjacent to such areas. This will affect Smithills Country Park, the West Pennine Moors, Jumbles Country Park, Moses Gate Country Park and other countryside areas.
If instructed by MAFF, the council will also issue Form D notices to farms which will restrict movements and put into place disinfection treatments.
Animal World, the council's family zoo, has also been closed as a precaution.
A council spokesman said that they were working with MAFF. 'All possible measures for preventing the spread of the disease are being put into place and we are being extremely cautious.
'Even outside the declared infected area we're taking measures and asking people to be careful and sensible. It will affect some leisure activities but we would hope that people will recognise the necessity of the restrictions.'
FOOT AND MOUTH PRECAUTIONS
County Council Closes Footpaths
Oxfordshire County Council is to exercise new emergency powers to close public footpaths and rights of way where there is a risk of spreading Foot and Mouth disease.
The Trading Standards Service, is today in conjunction with the Council's Countryside and Emergency Planning Officers sending official notices to landowners and occupiers of agricultural land authorising them in appropriate circumstances, to post those notices at strategic points where farmland is normally accessed by the public.
Public entry can be prevented to:
- land (including common land) used by cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer;
- footpaths and rights of way near any of these animals;
- land (including woodland) used by wild deer.
Breach of a notice or the removal of a notice is a criminal offence enforced by the Council's Trading Standards Service.
David Sibbert, Chief Trading Standards Officer, said 'There are at present, no confirmed cases of foot and mouth disease in Oxfordshire. After careful consideration, the County Council has decided it is prudent to take these unprecedented steps in an attempt to help the farming community and stop the disease invading the Oxfordshire countryside. I am sure the general public will understand the need for this action'.
Farmers who do not have public footpaths or rights of way over their land can contact Trading Standards for copies of the notices for display on (01865) 815505. This line will be open between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm each day, including this coming Saturday and Sunday.
Notice to Editors
1. The power to close footpaths and to prevent entry onto premises in a controlled area is contained in The Foot and Mouth Disease (Amendment) (England) Order 2001, made on 27 February 2001.
2. The whole of Great Britain is designated a 'controlled area'
3. The maximum penalty for a breach of the Order is£5000 on conviction in the Magistrates Court.
4. For further information contact Brian Yendole, Tom Edwards or Ian Marriott on (01865) 815000 or 815603.
Powys County Council has established a foot and mouth helpline to offer
advice to people in the county on the council's services during the foot and
mouth crisis.
The helpline was launched at 10am today (March 1, 2001) and will operate
from 8am until 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and
Sundays.
The number is 01597 826926.
A spokesman for the authority explained: 'We are receiving hundreds of calls
from people worried about the foot and mouth crisis, seeking advice from our
officers and asking how our services are affected.'
'We have pulled in staff from a number of departments, including
Environmental Health, and Trading Standards so that we are able to pass on
to the public the information and advice that we have on a one stop-shop
basis,' he said.

SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE UPDATE
A possible case of foot and mouth disease is being investigated by the State Veterinary Service on a farm in the Falkirk Council area.
Movement restrictions have been applied and a stand-still notice is in effect for an eight kilometre radius around the farm. The effect of this is that there will be no movement of susceptible livestock into, out of or within this area.
Samples have been taken and submitted for laboratory diagnosis. Preliminary results are expected tomorrow.
SUFFOLK-WIDE CONTROLS ON FOOT AND MOUTH
The announcement by the prime minister and secretary of state for agriculture gave new powers to local authorities to help control the spread of foot and mouth disease. In response to this the public are being advised to avoid crossing agricultural land either by public footpath or any other means.
Whilst there has been no outbreak of the disease, as a precautionary measure Suffolk CC is posting warning notices across the county. These notices advise the public not to enter certain areas. Any member of the public seeing one of these notices should take the warning very seriously and not attempt to use the footpath.
Some premises however have been designated as 'higher risk' and public notices are being posted at these sites forbidding the public from entering these premises - this includes all public footpaths on the site. Any member of the public seeing one of these notices should not use the footpath and is liable for a£5,000 fine if they do.
Sites posing minimal risk to the spread of the disease remain open until further notice.
Steve Greenfield, senior assistant director of trading standards, said: 'We have adopted a sensible yet sensitive approach to this problem. People living and working in the county need to know how these restrictions effect them.
'We advise people to avoid travelling into the country and certainly to avoid crossing agricultural land at all costs. By using common sense and following the guidance we can support the farming community and reduce the risk of spreading the disease further.'
This situation is being monitored on a daily basis and changes will be made to public access to rural areas as necessary.
Farmers, landowners and those with public footpaths through their property should phone the county council if they believe that public access to their land poses a risk to the spread of the disease. The number for these enquiries is 01473 584145 or 584146.
NORTHANTS RESPONDS TO FOOT AND MOUTH OUTBREAK
For the first time since the second world war, rural footpaths and bridleways in Northamptonshire will be closed as the latest step in the fight to help prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease, following a confirmed outbreak at Wootton.
The county council is working with a range of different organisations to contain the disease and using new powers to close the 3,000 mile network of footpaths and bridleways across the county. Brampton Valley Way Country Park has also been closed.
All the agencies involved, which include the police, fire and rescue service, Two Shires Ambulance NHS Trust, district councils, National Farmers' Union and Country Landowners' Association, are appealing to local people to help contain the outbreak by avoiding walking on farm land and keeping their dogs on a lead in rural areas.
Notices will be posted on the footpath network and a letter is being sent from the county council to more than 1,300 farmers to ask for their co-operation, let them know about the precautions and how they can get notices to put on their land.
County councillor Mike Boss explains: 'We are very conscious of how quickly this disease can spread once a case has appeared and we are determined to take every step possible to try to contain it here in Northamptonshire.
'We need the co-operation of everyone, from farmers to dog walkers, to take basic precautions and help us all to ensure that people don't walk on farm land or in the countryside. We are appealing to anyone who lives in or uses the coutryside to help us in our fight to defeat foot and mouth here. Clearly any movement of animals is out of the question at this time.'
Notes
Other steps taken by the county council include:
Stopping farm visits and country walks by schools
Asking school bus drivers to avoid leaving the road when picking up or dropping off pupils
Closing Longtown Outdoor Residential Centre and Everden Field Centre
Stopping visits to the countryside by all staff and volunteer field workers
Advising local people not to use metal dectectors in rural areas
Closing all County Heritage sites on farmland, including the battlefield monument at Naseby, the dovecotes at Warmington, Furtho and Cranford, and the Pytchley Gates at Overstone.
Powys County Council has suspended a number of refuse collection rounds in a
bid to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease.
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