§ Lord Fearn
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether all public footpaths, including those along coastal areas and closed during the foot and mouth crisis, are now open. [HL6106170WA
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty):
Restrictions on most footpaths in England were lifted progressively in accordance with the successively revised veterinary risk assessment during the period from March 2001 to February 2002. Action to reopen footpaths was a matter for local authorities in the affected areas, most of which acted to reopen footpaths as soon as it was safe to do so in the light of the damage caused by closure to the rural economy locally. Blanket closures in a small number of areas were revoked by ministerial declaration in July 2001. As a result, by February 2002 99,9 per cent of footpaths were open. The only remaining restrictions related to a small number of paths crossing farms that had suffered infection and full cleansing and disinfection had not been carried out, where veterinary advice was that closure for 12 months from the date of infection was required. The last of these restrictions was lifted on 30 September 2002. There is no reason for any local authority not to have lifted all restrictions some time ago and I am not aware of any outstanding restrictions in any part of England.