Scotland’s Chernobyl sheep no longer radioactive

THE last Scottish sheep farm affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster has been released from movement restrictions imposed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

For nearly a quarter of a century Scottish sheep farmers have been under restriction after an explosion at a nuclear power plant in the former USSR (now Ukraine) resulted in radioactivity being deposited on upland areas across the UK.

But tests last month revealed the levels of radioactivity in Scottish sheep have finally dropped below the safety limits allowing the FSA to lift all restrictions on the movement, sale and supply of sheep. 

Initially 73 areas in Scotland were under restriction. In April 2009 there were still 3,000 sheep at five farms in Stirling and Ayrshire under restriction but over time the radioactivity levels have continued to decline.

The final Scottish area was removed from restrictions on 21 June 2010 but England and Welsh sheep farmers remain affected.

In North Wales 330 holdings and approximately 180,000 sheep remain within a restricted area and a further eight holdings in Cumbria are also still under restriction.

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