RYA on Foot and Mouth

The RYA lobbies government for reassessment of restrictions

Monday March 19th 2001, Author: Jon Challis, Location: United Kingdom
RYA welcomes the Secretary of State's comments on Foot and Mouth outbreak and recreational activity.

In a statement, Chris Smith the minister whose portfolio includes tourism and sport, said: "The Government is not recommending the cancellation of sports events. Any decisions will be for the governing bodies of sport, which should take a commonsense approach that is, above all, proportionate to a realistic appraisal of the risk involved"

The RYA, as the national governing body representing the recreational boat user, is concerned therefore that an accurate, consistent and authoritative picture of the Foot and Mouth infection is established. To date the extent of boating areas under closure has not been consistent with government-imposed restrictions. Many water authorities are now reviewing their right to impose restrictions and have lifted initial closures until guidance is received from the government.

Particularly badly affected is activity on the inland waterways. The RYA is in communication with British Waterways and the British Marine Industry Federation in asking government to reassess its initial approach and a British Waterways crisis management team is to carry out a risk assessment process in the coming week, with a view to deciding whether individual inland waterways can be reopened.

The RYA's Inland Waters Panel is encouraging all sensible efforts to reopen waterways where there is no perceived risk or where, with careful control measures, navigation can be permitted in inland waters, such as canals, lakes, reservoirs etc. Such measures might include the banning of casual mooring in the open countryside, with boaters on passage only permitted to come ashore at identified locations, and the introduction of a control regime in declared infected areas, with the disinfecting of footwear at locks and other locations.

Using a dedicated area on its website, the RYA will continue to monitor developments on the restrictions affecting boating activity across the UK.

The information can be accessed at www.rya.org.uk

Royal Yachting Association

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