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Farron welcomes news that Chernobyl rules on Cumbrian farmers could be lifted

November 21, 2011 10:57 AM

TF ruralSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is consulting on whether to remove all post-​Chernobyl controls and associated regulation on sheep farms in the UK.

Twenty-​five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, controls remain on a relatively small number of sheep farms. The controls were put in place because some radioactive contamination was deposited on some upland areas.

Restrictions were originally placed on farms to prevent sheep with unacceptable levels of radioactivity from entering the food chain. Food safety concerns are now very low and, as a result, restrictions have been removed from the majority of the 9,800 UK holdings originally affected.

334 farms in North Wales and eight farms in Cumbria remain under some form of restriction.

Tim has long pressed the government and the FSA to act to end the controls.

Tim commented: "Hill farmers in South Lakeland earn on average between £5,000-£10,000. They don't need another needlessly bureaucratic obstacle that leaves many of them further out of pocket. So I am delighted that the Food Standards Agency have listened to our concerns and now will be asking farmers for their views.

"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 on local farmers who have a hard enough time as it is."