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APRIL 23, 2001

Silverstone gets foot and mouth all clear

THE British Grand Prix will be unaffected by the foot and mouth epidemic, as the counties of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire have been pronounced Ôfoot and mouth free' by the British government's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

The 800-acre Silverstone site, which sits on the border of Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, has had only one case of the virulent cattle disease within 10 miles of its borders on a farm in the Northamptonshire village of Wooton.

Northamptonshire Countryside Minister Elliot Morley said: "Whilst our number one priority remains combating the disease in the most heavily infected areas, it is right that in areas where there have been few or no cases we do what we can to lift restrictions."

The all clear is a great relief to Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, and the leaseholders of the site, Octagon Motorsport. Provision to stage the event under threat of foot and mouth has included running the Grand Prix Ôbehind close doors' with the public unable to attend but now the 2001 British Grand Prix will go ahead as normal.

The government has now stated that it has the spread of the disease under control and is implementing a clean-up operation. This leaves Octagon and the BRDC free to answer to a new governmental enquiry by its Office of Fair Trading over Britain's motor sport promotion as a whole.