Government News Network for Tuesday 27 May 1997 The Parliamentary Ombudsman
" MAFF undertook to make improvements in the licensing system ..... A group of residents complained that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) failed to act properly to control the activities of a waste food processing plant. MAFF inspectors' reports of 154 visits made by them to the plant over four years recorded many contraventions of MAFF's licence conditions eg: skips of unprocessed offal lying uncovered, infestation of rats, pigs in pens flooded with waste contaminated water. The Ombudsman found that MAFF persistently mishandled the complaints about conditions at the plant and that their decisions on licensing the premises were characterised by a lack of direction, inaction, inconsistency and an extravagant use of resources to no useful purpose. The license of the plant was finally revoked and MAFF undertook to make improvements in the licensing system and produced revised guidance.(C.851/92)"It would be interesting to know what improvements were made.
Ist November 2005 ~ Re Foot and Mouth 2001. Andrew George calls for an independent review of what happened in terms of Defra's responsibility
The Western Morning News today:
" .... In written evidence to the Commons public accounts committee the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it had been aware that Bobby Waugh had brought unprocessed catering waste on to his Northumberland pig farm just weeks before the disaster began, in clear breach of the regulations at the time..... The new evidence will reopen concerns about the role of government inspectors who renewed the farmer's licence to feed swill just weeks before the outbreak began in February 2001, despite signs that his farm was breaching regulations. The department's evidence claims that inspectors did not allow Mr Waugh to "store" unprocessed swill on his farm, but concedes that "some unprocessed catering waste was held temporarily". ...."Read in full.Whether or not FMD really started at Burnside Farm (and many, looking at the evidence, do not believe that it did) government inspection was woeful and the way the swill feeders subsequently had their livelihoods destroyed gives cause for great concern. The parallels between Defra's inspection failures at Burnside Farm and those at the Pegasus Birds quarantine centre where the H5N1 virus infected one or more imported wild birds last month seem inescapable.
Ist November 2005 ~ The Swill Feeders' faith in the Ombudsman
Robert Persey writes, "....The Parliamentary Ombudsman is aware of the Jim Dring confession. She is aware that MAFF officials knew that unprocessed swill was being stored at Burnside Farm, contrary to the 1999 ABPO. She has seen the video depicting the appalling conditions at Burnside Farm sanctioned by the MAFF. She is aware that MAFF ignored numerous complaints about Burnside Farm including complaints by Chris Mullins M.P, the RSPCA and various neighbours including two doctors. It has just been revealed that a previous Parliamentary Ombudsman identified serious maladministration by MAFF in the mid 1990's when they renewed a swill feeding licence on a farm, where the conditions should have prevented the renewal of the licence. (Case no.C 851/92). The circumstances of that investigation are identical to the present investigation..." Read in full