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Sheep Farmers (Chernobyl Restrictions)

Volume 116: debated on Friday 15 May 1987

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in considering the case for further compensation for sheep farmers affected by the Chernobyl restrictions.

As I announced on 2 May, in the light of recent detailed information presented by the industry Agriculture Ministers have concluded that a further element of compensation is justified in relation to the additional costs of handling sheep before they can be released from the restricted areas. Accordingly, it has been agreed that a payment of £1·30 per sheep will be made in respect of sheep moved under consent from restricted areas. This will apply to movements taking place on and after 29 September 1986.A case has also been put to us that, while most producers have been adequately compensated, for a small number of farmers the existing arrangements are considered not to have provided fair compensation. This matter has been considered with great care in discussion with representatives of the farmers; but we have been unable to find a sound basis for avoiding the rough justice which we always agreed would inevitably be a feature of the compensation arrangements. However, I have told the farmers' representatives that if they were able to find workable criteria which properly identified a small number of farmers whose cases might justify further consideration I would be ready to study the matter again.