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 Going onto Farmland Could Cost You £5,000

A ban has been imposed on people going onto agricultural land without permission as the threat of foot-and-mouth continues. Anybody who ignores the new rule made by Agriculture Minister Alex Downie could face a fine of up to £5,000.

The special order provides for only authorised people such as farmers and their families, agricultural workers and other people providing services to the rural community to have access to farmland. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has also issued a general authorisation which will enable a number of other people to have access to land, which includes members of the emergency, medical and postal services.

Mr Downie said: 'Foot-and-mouth disease has flared up again in the United Kingdom just when it appeared to be dying down. 'We have to protect the Island. The simplest way is to make sure that agricultural land is used only by the people who need to be there.'

Contravention of the order is an offence under the Animal Health Act 1996, and powers to execute and enforce the act and any orders made under it are vested in the police.

Mr Downie added: 'We have to keep our guard up against the threat of foot-and-mouth. 'Four weeks ago I made an order to approve camping at campsites only where there was no conflict with livestock interests. This new order continues that policy.

'Our visitors will know the reasons only too well. I welcome their help in joining with us to make sure that the Island stays clear of foot-and-mouth. 'They are welcome to use our plantations, beaches and most of our glens for recreation. 'But this year agricultural land must be for agriculture only.'

Any person not covered by the order or general authorisation must request specific authorisation from the DAFF. An authorisation may be granted subject to conditions and limitations.

The order will expire on September 30.

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