Disease 'Had Short-Term Environmental Impact' FOOT-AND-MOUTH: Watchdog Says It Can't Be Sure about Long-Term Effects on Groundwater

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Byline: AMANDA BROWN

THE impact of foot-and-mouth disease in England and Wales has been "short-term and localised, " a pollution watchdog says today.

But the Environment Agency says it cannot be sure that there would be no longterm impact on groundwater from the burial of carcasses and pyre ash.

It will continue to monitor the impacts closely, the agency says in a report that provides an assessment of the environmental impact of foot-and-mouth disease up to late 2001.

The document highlights water pollution, odour from mass burial and licensed landfill sites, and smoke from pyres as the most frequent environmental problems.

The evidence, in the main, showed the impacts to have been short-lived, but the report recognises that at the time they nevertheless caused considerable anxiety for many communities. Some environmental effects, particularly impacts on groundwater from the burial of carcasses and ash, could take time to materialise.

The agency has mounted a highly-resourced exercise to assess risks from burial of carcasses and pyre ash and safeguard the quality of groundwater.

No serious or persistent impacts had been detected to date, the report said, but sites where large numbers of carcasses or ash were buried would need to remain the focus of long-term management and monitoring programmes. There would also have to be wider routine environmental monitoring and assessment. …