§ Sir Raymond Gower
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his latest information regarding the levels of radiocaesium in the parts of north Wales affected by the order made on 20 June prohibiting the movement and slaughter of sheep; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
[pursuant to his reply, 30 June 1986, c. 406]: Results of monitoring data up to Wednesday 2 July show an encouraging reduction in radiocaesium levels in lamb in certain parts of the designated area of north Wales which have been intensively sampled. The latest batch of results is being published today and a copy is being placed in the Library of the House.
On the basis of these results my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I have today made a new order to come into effect at midnight under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 to release certain areas, including south and west of the A5 in Anglesey and the Vale of Clwyd, from restrictions while retaining the remainder for a further 21 days.
A map showing the areas in Wales to be released has been placed in the Library of the House. It will free approximately 1,000 holdings in north Wales from restriction.
I am fully aware of the problems faced by those farmers still subject to restrictions and of the large numbers of lambs held on farms which are now ready to come to market. I hope to reduce further the size of the designated area in north Wales as soon as additional sampling results confirm the expected fall in radiocaesium levels in the area still subject to restriction.
I recognise that, now farmers in the newly released areas can market their lambs, there is a possibility that an abnormally high proportion of them may be rejected .for variable premium through having become over fat because the restrictions have delayed their being marketed.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in his statement on 20 June, said that if it should prove to be necessary the Government would be prepared to discuss cases of compensation for severe loss in particular circumstances to specific farmers.
I have invited representatives of the farmers' unions to meet me next Monday for discussions on the effect of restrictions and on compensation. Their views will be taken fully into account. We hope to be in a position to make an early statement.