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Product title :

Environmental impacts of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain in 2001: the use of risk analysis to manage the risks in the countryside

Author(s) : K.C. Taylor

Summary :

Restrictions imposed for more than ten months throughout Great Britain in 2001 to control and eradicate foot and mouth disease (FMD) had a damaging effect on tourism and rural businesses. Risk assessment can play a valuable role in ensuring that the action taken is proportionate to the risk, and that countryside activities are allowed to resume when this can be done without compromising the objective of controlling and eradicating the disease. A risk assessment unit was established at the commencement of the epidemic to consider the risks posed by particular activities, to identify ways of managing those risks, and to make recommendations which could be used by policy makers when deciding what action to take. The assessments produced by the unit were published and the scientific rationale which supported policy and procedural changes was thereby exposed to public scrutiny and criticism. The author lists the activities subjected to veterinary risk assessments and describes how the process was used to consider public access to the countryside, leading to policy changes which within nine months resulted in the reopening of more than 96% of footpaths and bridleways without causing new outbreaks of FMD. A completed risk assessment is also included.

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