CRISIS - HOLD A PUBLIC INQUIRY

This is Gloucestershire

10:30 - 30 March 2002

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council has criticised the government's leadership during the foot and mouth crisis.

It says a quicker response is needed and the Army should be called in immediately to get rid of carcasses.

The council also calls for a national public inquiry and the drawing up of a national contingency plan.

It wants strict import controls on animal feed from countries where the disease is endemic.

The role of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is also questioned.

The authority says this should be made "more explicit".

Coun Mark Hendry (Lab, Brockworth and Hucclecote), the council's cabinet member with responsibility for economic development, said: "Gloucestershire was the sixth worst affected county in the UK.

"It is more than 10 months since the last foot and mouth outbreak here but the disease's legacy and impact are still being felt."

More than 200 county farms were affected with more than 79,000 animals slaughtered.

The report will be passed to Gloucestershire's MPs and MEPs and to Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State at Defra.