GOVERNMENT MUST HEED WARNING ON FMD INQUIRY

Commenting on the decision of the High Court not to force the Government to hold a public inquiry into last year's foot and mouth epidemic, President of the Country Land and Business Association, Sir Edward Greenwell, said:

"The message from this case is that the court has supported the Anderson Inquiry for holding its inquiry in public. The public must know what really happened and be reassured that it will not happen again.

"All indications are that the public's concern for the countryside remains strong and widespread and so the Government must listen and act to answer concerns, and restore confidence. The recovery of the rural economy depends upon it.

"An ICM poll commissioned by the CLA last week found that over two thirds of people (68%) do not believe that the rural economy has recovered from the impact of Foot and Mouth disease and nearly two thirds of people across Britain (62%) believe that the Government should do more to help rural communities to recover after the Foot and Mouth epidemic. Most crucially, there was little difference in opinion between urban and rural dwellers responding to the survey, and almost everyone polled had an firm opinion."