Westmorland Gazette 8 March:

Vaccination issues on the agenda

RENEWED calls for vaccination to be used to tackle any future outbreaks of the foot-and-mouth have been made by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Collins.

Mr Collins urged government ministers to make ready vaccination plans should the disease revisit these shores.

"The frightening spectre of a new foot-and-mouth outbreak in North Yorkshire seems, we must hope and pray, to have been a false alarm.

"However, experts are still of the view that a renewed outbreak of the disease in the UK is likely within five years, near certain within 10 years and a clear possibility from any time from now.

"Many of those devastated last year rightly question what the Government policy will be when, not if, the disease returns.

There was no contingency plan last year and disaster resulted - we must not allow the same mistake to be made twice." he said.

Mr Collins said the government should consult all affected industries, not just farming, and draw up and publish a contingency plan.

"I do not believe that government would wish, or would be allowed to repeat its scorched earth policy," he said.

"It is their duty to produce a clear and sensible alternative and I will continue to press hard for them to do so."