Foot and Mouth

Hansard April 10th

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the conclusions of Professor Mercer's report on foot and mouth in Devon in respect of (a) the handling of the outbreak and (b) the lessons of the 1967 outbreak; [11725]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 1 November 2001]: The report of a committee of Devon County Counsellors chaired by Professor Mercer clearly provides a local perspective and reflects local views and conclusions. I am afraid I do not accept those conclusions. The recommendations of the Northumberland Committee were taken into account as appropriate during the 2001 outbreak. Inevitably, conditions have changed here and in Europe since the Northumberland Committee's report, and the 2001 outbreak was clearly different in nature and extent to the 196768 outbreak.

More generally, the Government's position is set out in its written response to Dr. Iain Anderson's independent Lessons Learned inquiry, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.