HL Deb 04 April 2001 vol 624 c117WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of the current foot and mouth outbreak, what is their evaluation of the vulnerability of agriculture to agro-biological warfare; and what arrangements are they making in their defence policy to deal with any such vulnerability. [HL 1316]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman)

Her Majesty's Government are alert to the potential threat to the UK of all forms of chemical and biological warfare. Contingency plans are maintained to minimise the consequences in the event of an attack. The most effective defence against the terrorist threat is good intelligence, efficient procedures to contol the entry of people and materials into the UK, and the means to respond effectively to incidents.

This threat is being considered by an interdepartmental group led by the Home Office and including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Ministry of Defence with a remit to establish the vulnerabilities, threats and risk to the UK as a whole. Planning assumptions will be reconsidered in the light of the results of these considerations.