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Secret State 14: incriminating sheep dip poisoning HSE report – officially destroyed – has now been revealed

Yet another scandalous instance of official bodies ‘losing’ important documents

On occasion, even contemporary documents have been lost by health service and police when charged with misconduct. Solihull Council said trust deeds proving gift of land to public were ‘lost or destroyed’ though they’d had no fire or flood – the valid causes for loss. That parkland was given to a developer to make an Asda-centred development ‘commercially viable’ – their own expression.

Johann Tasker recently reported in the Farmers Weekly that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has admitted that a 1990 report detailing concerns about farmers being poisoned by organophosphate (OP) sheep dip has been destroyed.

Tom - smallerLancashire farmer Tom Rigby, Sheep Dip Sufferers Support Group (read about this on another site) submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request asking for the HSE document to be released. “There is no legitimate reason for keeping it confidential this long,” he explained. “We must have recognition for all those who have been bravely battling against the effects of these chemicals for decades. These insecticides had a devastating impact and it is important those affected finally start to get the help and support they urgently need.”

HSE internal review

hse header

Mr Rigby said: “The information I want is HSE advice given to the government minister just before he decided to abandon compulsory dipping and the science behind and date of a government order that Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food inspectors must not go within 14ft of a sheep dip.”

But the HSE responded to the FoI request by telling Mr Rigby: “The information you requested is no longer held by the Health & Safety Executive, having been destroyed in accordance with HSE’s corporate retention policy.” One consequence of the FoI Act was that information was regularly catalogued and “weeded out” – other than older papers relating to high-profile incidents, significant policy changes or long latency risks.  The HSE has  agreed to conduct an internal review.

A well-wisher has now sent Mr Rigby a copy

He has removed the names of 18 HSE staff but the rest is as he received it. The comments in boxes are obviously not part of the original report and seem to have been written at least ten years ago.

Read this deeply significant document on the Sheep Dip Sufferers website here. We hope that another significant document (below), released recently, will be preserved and acted on.

op report cover