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Chernobyl fallout still affecting upland farms
By Roger Highfield
THE restrictions placed on British farms after the world's worst nuclear accident may have to remain for another 15 years in some places - more than 100 times longer than first expected.
As a result of radioactive fallout from Chernobyl in 1986, restrictions were placed on 5,100 holdings in Wales, 2,144 in Scotland and 1,670 in Cumbria.
Restrictions remain on 389 upland farms - grazed by about 232,000 sheep - and will probably be in force for years to come, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.
Dr Jim Smith, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Dorchester, said vegetation, water and fish samples from Cumbria indicated that foodstuffs would be "contaminated for much longer than initially expected".
Dr Smith said: "The actual health risks of these contamination levels are very smal.
The restrictions are in place to protect people from these small health risks and ensure public confidence that food products are safe."
-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), May 11, 2000