Water tests halt sheep burials

Special report: foot and mouth

David Ward
Saturday April 14, 2001
The Guardian

Transport of sheep carcasses to a burial trench 1,000ft up a Welsh mountain has been halted following the threat of an injunction from a group concerned about possible river pollution.

Truck movements to the site on the Epynt military range at Trecastle, near Brecon, will not begin again until Tuesday at the earliest.

More than 6,000 sheep carcasses have already been dumped in a huge burial trench. But tests carried out this week, just five days after the burials began, showed traces of ammonia.

The contamination was discussed at an emergency meeting of the Welsh assembly's agriculture committee which accepted the recommendation of agency officials that the trench be lined with a protective covering.

An assembly spokeswoman said sheep already buried would be "shuffled" round the trench. "It is not an insurmountable problem and will not stop the cull," she added. But local protesters, who have maintained a picket outside the community centre in Trecastle, threatened court action, fearing pollution of the Usk and the Towy.