Post-Chernobyl controls on sheep lifted in parts of Scotland

The Scottish Executive has announced the lifting of controls imposed on farms in certain parts of the Stirling Council area in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

From the 8 January, two farms in the area which stock approximately 5,850 sheep have had the movement and slaughter of their sheep de-restricted as they no longer pose a potential threat to the food chain, says the Scottish Executive. Eighteen holdings, with 34,500 sheep, in East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire and Stirling are still subject to the controls, though, in 1986, restrictions were originally imposed on 2000 Scottish sheep farms.

Last year, scientists revealed that effects of the nuclear accident in the UK could last as much as 100 times longer than originally expected, due to the method of absorption of the radiocaesium into clay soil particles, though it has also been found that sheep can rid themselves of radiocaesium when moved onto unpolluted pastures. The element has a biological half life of between 10 and 30 days in sheep.

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