HL Deb 10 April 2001 vol 624 cc177-8WA
Lord Jopling

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their policy of opening up activities in the countryside during the current foot and mouth outbreak, where it is safe to do so, is compatible with the policy of the British Horseracing Board set out in its letter to racecourses stating that "Any racecourse which from this moment forward (10am, 14 March) itself elects not to stage a forthcoming fixture will have to be seen by us as having decided not to race for the duration of the outbreak". [HL1671]

Lord Whitty

Her Majesty's Government have issued guidance to help people responsible for events and attractions in the countryside decide how to operate during the foot and mouth outbreak. Expert veterinary advice provided to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is that most events may safely go ahead. It is for the organisers of events to decide what to do in the light of the guidance, and Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the British Horseracing Board's advice. In general, however, excessive caution in cancelling events and closing rights of way, even where the risks of spreading disease are very remote, is seriously damaging the economy of rural England.