Footpaths

"..as the foot and mouth outbreak has been brought under control nationally, " Councillor Michael Davey, writing, in England, on July 5th

Lynne's follow up letter contains a copy of the veterinary risk assessment

July 24 -Northumberland footpaths:

The reply to Lynn from Mr Crossley - and her patient reply back...which was followed the same day by a reply from Mr Crossley showing markedly more concern. The relevant Yorkshire Post article.

July 26 - Sadly, another letter has to be sent to Mr Crossley. Meanwhile there is growing rebellion from the Nidderdale area (See today's papers)


July 11 See page from Council website "Although there are still cases of Foot and Mouth Disease occurring

in the area around Skipton and Clitheroe, Calderdale remains outside the Infected Area and therefore the Council will start re-opening all rights of way from today."

July 11th Foot and Mouth Disease and Footpath Re-openingDerbyshire County Council

This page updated July 5th 2001
Here you will find the latest information about the foot and mouth situation in Derbyshire. Almost all footpaths and bridleways - around 99.9% - are now open in Derbyshire. Out of 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways in the county, the only sections still closed are a few hundred metres through infected premises.

June 7th Hot Air Ballooning "What we as a group are keen to see is maintaining the voluntary ban..a return to flying while FMD is still out there would very quickly destroy all the hard work put in by both farmers and balloonists to maintain workable relationships over the years."

Opening footpaths 'is irresponsible' July 5
Telegraph

Yesterday in Parliament - During a debate at Westminster Hall, the Commons parallel chamber, Anne McIntosh (C, Vale of York) said there had been no cases of foot and mouth while the blanket ban operated in Yorkshire - yet there had been 92 cases since some paths had been re-opened.

More footpaths to be re-opened for summer Yesterday in PARLIAMENT 29th June


"They think it's all over!"

With footpaths opening again all over the country, most with no controls beyond an official notice causing nothing but mild irritation to our nation of strollers and walkers, farmers with the safety of their animals at heart are naturally worried sick.

Sunday July 1 A measure of the lack of understanding to be expected can be seen in this exchange between Lawrence Wright in Ilfracombe and Mr Edward Chorlton, County Environment Director in Exeter
Again warmwell.com would emphasise -

It is not the walkers who are the enemy; it is our government policy

N.B. Printable example of Polite Notice designed by Lawrence

Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK Dismay over Dartmoor delayWalkers will have to wait to return to the moors..... (but this is because of antibodies not FMD infectious sheep. When will it occur to the media (or even Defra) that we should NOT be killing sheep with antibodies?)

This letter from Lawrence to County Hall (Exeter) seems a good model. But note the reply received June 26th

The enemy is not the public but the policy.

Educating the population is very difficult while the Media are so silent and while local councils shift responsibility to Defra.

The paradox of insistence on "bio-security" on one hand and a free-for-all on the other

does not seem to have registered in official circles. See story in Northumberland paper.."A farmer fears for the health of his livestock because of plans to re-open a path across his land to ramblers - while members of his own family remain banned from entering..."

June 25 email to warmwell on Defra advice

about biosecurity for farmers (not given to walkers/ramblers however!)...Now, on this fine Monday morning (June 25th) when Shropshire CC intends to open up most of our footpaths, could all the scientists/virologists out there please tell me why my boots can carry the disease but a rambler's cannot? I can see there is more of a risk in farmers having the disease on their boots but at least they do not go onto other farmers' land - ramblers etc do. ...


Other ideas will be published here as soon as possible.


email to warmwell on biosecurity for farmers (not walkers/ramblers)

Hello,

I have been sent yet another raft of advice from DEFRA about biosecurity and disinfection. As a former scientist, I cannot fault the theoretical sense of it, although the measures would probably rival Pirbright's and in practical terms the disinfection of the underneath of most farm vehicles is somewhat unattainable!

Let me quote just two points at random :

Disinfect your footwear especially if you have come into contact with infective material during the journey, e.g. opening a gate.

Try to keep boots, clothes and overalls in a container at each site you visit to wear only at that site.

Now, on this fine Monday morning when Shropshire CC intends to open up most of our footpaths,

I can see there is more of a risk in farmers having the disease on their boots but at least they do not go onto other farmers' land - ramblers etc do.

I fully realise the importance of maintaining the tourist industry - I just object to the way farmers are made to feel that they are some kind of unclean pariahs when it is obviously the case that potentialy infected muck in a field could be picked up on any passing boot.

Perhaps I have missed something?

Regards,

Janet

TOP


The Journal June 23

A farmer fears for the health of his livestock because of plans to re-open a path across his land to ramblers - while members of his own family remain banned from entering.

Ali Grey, who farms Heugh Farm, near Craster in Northumberland, is dismayed that county council chiefs have given walkers the green light to trek through a field of sheep to reach Dunstanburgh Castle.

His concerns come as landowners fear foot-and-mouth could spread. Almost three-quarters of paths in the region are poised to be re-opened in an effort to draw visitors back into the countryside. Yesterday Mr Grey watched while a group of tourists gathered at the gate on the edge of Craster village as 80 of his sheep grazed on the other side.

His sister Ailsa Grahamslaw, who has been banned from entering her brother's farm since April 25 because her own farm at East Linkhall is next to affected North Charlton, was also there.

She spoke of their dissatisfaction at handling of the crisis. "What's to stop me from putting on a rucksack and walking along that path to Dunstanburgh?" Mrs Grahamslaw said.

"It seems that anyone, even if they have travelled from an infected area, will be able to walk right through with no checks at all.

"Next week Ali is going to clip his sheep, but he has been told that if he wants to drive the flock along the path through Dunstan, which is a right of way, he has to have them checked out by a vet first and get the appropriate licence.

"Yet tourists, on the other hand, can walk through regardless."

County council bosses say they are following Government guidance.

TOP


footpath closure: reply from Exeter

Mr L Wright

Your ref:Date:26 June 2001Phone: Enquiries:Exeter 01392 382000My ref:CED
F(49) ref 68Please ask for:Mr D AndrewDirect line: Exeter 01392 382175Fax: 01392 382135
Dear Mr Wright,
Re-opening of Public Rights of Way
Mortehoe Footpath 16, Ilfracombe Footpath 24 & 34

Further to your e-mails regarding the above, you are aware from conversation with Council Officers that the decision has been made for Morthoe Footpath 16 to remain closed at the present time and Ilfracombe Footpaths 24 and 34 to reopen this Saturday, 30 June. The formal decision letter will be issued this week, at the same time as those to other landowners who have applied for an exemption.

As stated in my previous correspondence we are working to the latest DEFRA Guidelines, which are being applied across the County and these lead to the conclusion that the two paths should not remain closed.

Yours sincerely,

David Andrew
Assistant Director

****************************************************************************** ***************************************************************************** ************************************************
Edward Chorlton
County Environment Director
Lucombe House
County Hall
Topsham Road
Exeter
Devon
EX2 4QW

Your ref: CED F(49) ref 68

Dear Sir,

Re-opening of Public Rights of Way

The letter which I received today, by e-mail from Mr Andrew is misinformed and completely unacceptable.

I should be grateful for the courtesy of a reply to the points which I have raised. I should also be grateful to be informed, urgently in view of the precipitate action you seem to be imposing, why it has been necessary to deal with the re-opening of footpaths in this part of the infected area with such haste as to prevent proper consultation: and to know whether you are working to a decision by the elected members of Devon County Council or a diktat from central government.

The points which I have been making apply generally to the footpaths in this area. With regard to Ilfracombe footpaths 24 and 34, I wish to know who, specifically, has taken the decision that they should be re-opened, their authority; and the reason for the decision.

I will wish to appeal against the decision, when I have received formal notification of it: and I should be grateful for confirmation that their opening will be suspended pending this appeal.

Yours faithfully,

Lawrence Wright

TOP More footpaths to be re-opened for summer

THE Government gave firm assurances yesterday that more footpaths will be opened again in a fortnight. The move is designed to give walkers and hikers more access to the countryside in time for the summer holidays.

Margaret Beckett, Rural Affairs Secretary, said there were some authorities that had been ultra-cautious following the foot and mouth outbreak. She said: "We did want to see how much progress could be made without revocation of the ban but officials are now in discussion with local authority representatives." Paddy Tipping (Lab, Sherwood) urged Mrs Beckett to do all she could to lift the ban as soon as possible and added that in Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and Hertfordshire there "had been so little progress in opening up" footpaths.

Mrs Beckett said the contribution made by ramblers to the countryside had been a "revelation" to many rural communities and told the House of Commons that no one had yet spread or contracted the disease since the outbreak.

Andrew Bennett (Lab, Denton and Reddish) said it was important that the public had as much information as possible about foot and mouth.

"With the coming of the school holidays and the holiday season in general, what's most important now is that clear and accurate information is available right across the country," he said.

On the question of an inquiry into foot and mouth, Tim Yeo, shadow agriculture spokesman, said: "I recognise that the last [Tory] Government was wrong to resist calls for an inquiry into BSE."

But, at the same time, he said that the current Government was equally mistaken to resist similar calls for a thorough examination into foot and mouth. He added that only an "independent and public" inquiry would restore the trust of the hard-hit rural community.

Speaking during the rural affairs debate, he asked Mrs Beckett: "When will you publish the proposals to rebuild the rural economy in the wake of foot and mouth disease? Many businesses are engaged in a daily and desperate struggle for survival. They need more action now."

Mrs Beckett promised a "thorough" inquiry when the outbreak was over and accused the Tories of pressing for a public inquiry to try to play "party political games" with the issue.

She said it was right that the issues surrounding the outbreak should be considered carefully but the question of whether there should be a public inquiry was for the Prime Minister.

She pointed out that the Government had committed itself to an independent Commission to look at the longer-term future of agriculture and the countryside. She added: "I think it is extremely important that we undertake that discussion and debate."

Colin Breed (Lib Dem, South East Cornwall) said: "It's quite clear that the scale of this disease does demand a full public, open and independent inquiry and I hope ministers will recognise that."

Derek Foster (Lab, Bishop Auckland) said that, with 44 cases confirmed in his area, it had been a "disastrous" time for Teesdale. He said: "May I add my voice to those calling for a public inquiry into the foot and mouth disease."

Michael Jack (C, Fylde) said: "If the Government has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear from holding a public inquiry." Steve Webb (Lib Dem, Northavon) said that some businesses affected by foot and mouth in his constituency had missed out on help because they were not defined as "rural".

David Heath (Lib Dem, Somerton and Frome) voiced the concerns of dairy farmers, saying that they were unable to gain a sustainable increase in the farm-gate price of milk.

James Paice, a Tory agriculture spokesman, demanded that the Government introduce a quarterly survey of retail prices and farm-gate prices, "so that consumers and farmers both know who is being taken for a ride by the manufacturers". TOP