08 August 2002 | David Arminas
Emergency plans for Britain's road hauliers could help to avoid a repeat of the transport mismanagement seen in last year's foot and mouth epidemic.
The Road Haulage Association has welcomed recommendations contained in a report on the government's handling of the crisis. It calls for close co-operation now to set up contingency plans with all parties that could be needed in crises.
The report, by businessman Iain Anderson, appointed by prime minister Tony Blair, slammed the government, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, for being ill-prepared.
As the slaughter of up to six million cattle began, the government asked hauliers to come forward to help move carcasses to sites for burning.
Hauliers complained that departmental red tape slowed them down. The RHA also said problems with contaminated trucks dogged hauliers long after, losing them business.
"There was a lot of talk about tourism being hit hard through lost business," a spokeswoman said. "Truckers never received anything for their lost business."
A spokesman for the Freight Transport Association also welcomed the recommendation and said consultations could cut red tape for all parties when vehicles are needed in a hurry.