Press Release
NEWS RELEASE-- Epynt Action Group
18 April 2001


The Government doesn't care about public health in Wales was the conclusion
of the Epynt Action Group after a meeting with MAFF, the Environment Agency
and their solicitors yesterday following severe contamination at the Epynt
mass burial and burning site - a watershed for the Rivers Towy and Usk
which provide public and private drinking water for Brecon, Swansea,
Carmarthen and farms in and around the Epynt military range.

The Action Group called for a complete halt to burials and burnings at the
Epynt site based on public health and environmental anxieties and asked
them to repair the damage to the site and make it safe. MAFF confirmed they
were presently pumping out the pollution and repairing the site. However,
they insisted they would continue using the site for disposal because of
the national crisis, notwithstanding that the Epynt is totally unsuitable
given the government's own criteria because of the groundwater pollution

The meeting lasted three hours when the Group pointed out that all the
scientific evidence available, including a report commissioned by MAFF
itself, warns that the major long term risk from pyres is groundwater
pollution and that the diseases involved, which could include BSE, will be
in the water for tens of years if pollution occurs. The Group learnt that
the choice of the site had been made principally on logistical convenience
and ownership of the land - good road system and owned by the MOD. Public
health appears to have been of secondary importance when choosing the site.

The reaction of the Epynt Action Group was that the authorities had been
incompetent and reckless in their approach to the Epynt site. The
Environment Agency's role had been to make a rapid assessment of the site
and give permission for MAFF to proceed. The advice given on the site was
proved wrong in 3 days when the major contamination started. As a result of
this meeting it is likely that legal action will be taken to stop the
burning and to ensure that burial will not restart. It is noted that a
number of burning sites have now been stopped either by legal action or the
threat of it based on public health issues. There is a growing groundswell
of scientific information which highlights the lack of research undertaken
by government on the long term pollution and health risks of large pyres.

The Group, which is made up of local businessmen, farmers and residents of
the area, have real fears for their health and that of their families and
for those further afield in places like Brecon, Swansea and Carmarthen who
might be affected by contaminated drinking water. Burial has stopped for
the present whilst MAFF attempts to pump out the pollution but burning has