Farmers still feeling the effects of Chernobyl
FARMERS who were saddled with restrictions on livestock in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster have made fresh calls for them to be lifted.
This week marks 25 years since the nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union exploded, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe.
Hundreds of British sheep farmers are still feeling the effects, with close monitoring and strict rules a daily bind.
Emlyn Roberts whose farm in Dolgellau, is one of 330 affected in Wales, still has to obtain a licence every time he wants to move sheep, which he said can make his business less competitive.
“We were told by a MAFF official the restrictions would only last three weeks – three months at the most – and here we are a quarter of a century on,” said Mr Roberts.
“Before anything moves off the farm it has to be inspected and scanned with a Geiger counter but this all takes time.
“We have to give the assembly office a week’s notice which means we can’t react very quickly and take advantage of a good market. We have to plan ahead.”
Mr Roberts said ultimately, the scanning was for the good of the consumer.
“We are doing this to safeguard the product and our consumers, which is the main thing,” he added.
“If it means scanning for another 25 years we will do, because this is our livelihood, but it is an extra chore we could do without.”
He said farmers were now closely watching the effects of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
“This country is still willing to dabble in nuclear energy but we need to look closer at the side effects and the costs.”
Mr Roberts said he struggled to see why a new reactor was planned for the Wylfa power station in Anglesey, when the country already had a wealth of natural resources such as wind, tidal and hydro.