HC Deb 31 October 1995 vol 265 c224W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the present effects on farming in the United Kingdom of the Chernobyl disaster; and if he will make a statement. [39757]

Mrs. Browning

Following the Chernobyl accident, affected areas of the United Kingdom—parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland, North Wales and Cumbria—were subjected to statutory restrictions so as to prevent the sale of sheepmeat containing levels of radiocaesium in excess of 1,000 bq/kg. These restrictions were designed to protect the food chain and ensure that normal sheep marketing practices within restricted ares could continue with minimum disruption to farm businesses. They have since been reviewed on a regular basis, and have been progressively removed wherever the monitoring of sheep has revealed residual radioactivity to have declined to within acceptable levels. Further intensive monitoring in the affected areas is nearing completion and an announcement of the results and possible lifting of some restrictions can be expected early in the new year.

Emergency arrangements are in place to ensure that swift action can be taken to protect the food chain, should any accident of this nature occur in future.