Have your say on FMD

Journal, Saturday 1st December 2001  Page 35

People and organisations affected by foot-and-mouth have just two more weeks to register to give evidence at a public inquiry into the crisis. A plea for people in Northumberland to give evidence at the looming inquiry, organised by the county council, has prompted only a handful of replies it was revealed yesterday. As of yesterday only eight people had contacted the council to register their interest in giving evidence to the inquiry which is scheduled to be held next month. County council chiefs announced almost a month ago that they were holding the inquiry and had anticipated a flood of interest from individuals and businesses whose lives and livelihoods were blighted by the epidemic. Potential witnesses at the inquiry have another two weeks in which to make written submissions and yesterday they were urged to act quickly or risk losing the opportunity to have their say. A county council spokesman said: "It is fair to say we are surprised and a little disappointed at the response so far and we hope that many more people will come forward in the next two weeks. "We have written to scores or organisations like district and parish councils, the NFU, the Countryside Agency, Northumbria Water and other countryside groups and agencies but so far only eight people have made contact. "We appreciate that many people and organisations may need time to put together their written submissions but we would urge them to have them in by the deadline of Friday December 14".

The five day hearing will be held at County Hall in Morpeth in January, although the exact dates are still to be finalised. The county council has earmarked a leading expert in countryside affairs to chair the inquiry and hopes to announce the appointment next week.

A report on the inquiry's findings will be made public and used as a lobbying tool with the Government. The hearing will focus on the preparation of a recovery plan, examine the way key agencies dealt with the epidemic and look at ways of preventing another outbreak.

January date for county fmd inquiry

The Northumberland Gazette  22nd November 200l  page 16

Northumberland County Council has announced that a public inquiry into the foot and mouth outbreak in the county will take place in January.

The exact date for the five day public hearing a county Hall, Morpeth, is to be finalised but written submissions should be received by Friday December 14. The enquiry will focus on the preparation of a recovery plan, briefly examine the roles of the key agencies involved in dealing with the crisis and look at ways of preventing another outbreak.

An independent Chairman and an enquiry team are now in the process of being appointed.

Council Leader, Coun. Michael Davey, said: "Northumberland has been blighted by foot and mouth, especially farming and tourism, ad this is a unique opportunity to hear from as many individuals and organisations as possible to look at the lessons learned and plan the way ahead".

Further details and background information packs are available on the County Council website www.northumberland.gov.uk or by writing to Karon Stubbs, Democratic Services, Northumberland County Council, NE61 2EF.

Written submissions can be sent to the above or by e-mail to FMDinquiry@northumberland.gov.uk