FRUSTRATED RAMBLERS suffered another setback yesterday when reopened footpaths were suddenly closed again because of a renewed outbreak of foot and mouth disease in North Yorkshire.
Footpaths around Settle were closed after three cases of the disease were reported in a previously uninfected area.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) is investigating how the disease spread to three farms. It will cull the animals there and on 13 adjacent premises. "We are investigating the links," said a ministry spokeswoman.
According to figures from the Department of the Environment, just 18 per cent of footpaths are open. Footpaths remain shut in areas including Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire, where no foot and mouth cases were reported.
By contrast, 85 per cent of paths are open in Cambridgeshire, 75 per cent in Suffolk and 70 per cent in Surrey.
The Ministry of Agriculture has also been embarrassed by the revelation that dozens of Spanish vets imported to help in the crisis are being paid bus drivers' wages. It has prompted accusations, to be made in the High Court, that a British firm has been making thousands of pounds in commission from the vets' hard work. …