Farmers and all those who care for the countryside, not as a museum piece, but as a part of our economy and of our way of life, will be justly enraged at the admission that the Foot & Mouth Virus most probably escaped from the Pirbright IHA/Merial facility as a result of damaged pipes which allowed infected water to reach the surface from where it may well have been spread to the first infection site by contractors vehicles which were able to go about the site without adequate precautions.

See the BBC (HERE) and The Daily Mail (HERE).

The BBC’s report says this:

The BBC understands that the reports, one by the Health and Safety Executive and the other by Professor Brian Spratt of Imperial College, include photographs of the pipe showing clear signs of damage from tree roots and of some joints being misaligned.

The investigators reportedly found records indicating that for several years there had been concerns about the state of the pipe, but that no repairs were carried out, possibly because funds were not made available.

It is vital that, if inadequate funding is at any way at fault, we discover who it was that denied adequate funds to this facility for maintenance. In particular we must be told which Ministers have been responsible for the issue of adequately funding this facility and which of them (and DEFRA has been plagued for several years by a string of deeply incompetent Ministers) had any responsibility for failing to ensure that this site was properly maintained IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST.

So, four questions which Mr. Benn, now the unhappy individual who received the latest DEFRA Hospital pass, must answer:

  1. What did his predecessors know about this?
  2. When did they know it?
  3. If they did not know, why did they not know? and
  4. Why did they fail to ensure they were informed about it?