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Manx Farmer's Union calls for public rights of way to close

Move sought to protect the local food supply

The Manx National Farmers' Union has asked government to close public rights of way which go through farmsteads, in an effort to protect the local food supply during the coronavirus pandemic.

Manx NFU President Tim Johnston has written to the Department of Infrastructure and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and requested a temporary closure notice is put in place.

In addition, the organisation is asking members of the public to help the Island's farmers achieve this voluntarily by not walking the public rights of way which go directly through farmyards, past milking parlours, vegetable processing units, lambing sheds, calving sheds, or in front of farmhouses or farm buildings.

The MNFU says farmers will offer alternative routes wherever possible, and they've been advised to keep all gates closed and put sanitising points at them, along with signs with a contact number for the relevant farm.

Farmers are also being told to insist any essential tradespeople or delivery drivers who visit them announce themselves before entry, and to have a designated drop-off point for deliveries.

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