Cleansing And Disinfection Resumes

The NFU said it was pleased that cleansing and disinfection will resume on farms hit by foot and mouth from today - although operations should never have been halted in the first place.

NFU President Ben Gill said it was good news that farmers will be been given first option to tender to conduct cleansing work on their own farms.

He said: "We have suspected all along that costs given by farmers who were conducting the work on their own farms were much lower than the £100,000 figure being quoted by DEFRA. This has quite rightly been recognised.

"Carrying out work on their own farms will also give farmers the opportunity to gain some valuable income and support their families and workers while their business is on hold."

However, Mr Gill said the NFU was concerned that DEFRA will reserve the right to withhold payments in some circumstances.

He said: "We are very worried about the ability of the Government to withhold payment where farm buildings are deemed to be in an "unreasonable" state.

"We will be seeking urgent clarification on this as it may have far-reaching consequences. Farmers on average earn £5,200 a year and have not in recent years had the money to invest in new buildings. They should not be penalised for this."

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Updated: October 2005.