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Chernobyl 25 years on – farmers still paying the price

April 26, 2011 11:40 AM

TF ruralTwenty-five years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, farmers in the South Lakes are still paying the price after radiation rained down on their farms in the wake of the catastrophe.

Restrictions remain in place which stop farmers whose land is still affected by the radiation from freely selling their animals or products. Each animal has to be individually checked and cleared by the government before it can be sold. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has the authority to take the sheep away to do tests. In these cases the farmers are given compensation of £1.30 per animal - the same amount they were given in 1986.

Tim has expressed his concern about unfairly penalising hill farmers by the FSA continuing to insist on the tests 25 years later, as well as the FSA continuously failing to increase the rate of compensation. However the FSA finally appear to listening as they are preparing to open a consultation period this autumn to assess whether these measures should be abandoned once and for all.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"When dealing with the long-term effects of a disaster like Chernobyl, it's vital that the proper safety precautions are taken.

"But given that the crisis happened over 25 years ago, it's about time we removed this massive imposition that we are causing in our farmers lives, which are hard enough as it is.

"Hill farmers in South Lakeland earn on average less than £6,000 a year. They don't need another needlessly bureaucratic obstacle that will leave many of them further out of pocket.

"That is why I am asking as many people as possible to take part in the consultation this coming autumn and speak up on behalf of our farmers."