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£230 million boost to UK beef industry and Toddbrook reservoir review

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Our announcement that British beef producers will have full access to the Chinese market for the first time in over 20 years has been picked up by outlets such as Farmers Guardian, Global Meat News and Farming UK.

Following a ban on UK beef exports imposed in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996, on Friday (18 October) the Chinese government finalised details of a historic UK-China agreement to allow access to resume.

The agreement – which industry estimate is worth £230 million to British beef producers – follows extensive inspections by the Chinese authorities, who have confirmed that UK beef meets the standards needed to export to their market, and marks the final step in securing access.

The first exports are expected to be shipped to China in the next few months.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

“Sealing this landmark agreement with China is huge news for our world-renowned food and farming industry, meaning more people across the globe can enjoy British beef.

“Today’s milestone marks another step towards unlocking the industry’s full potential, and reflects our ambition to maximise trading opportunities for British produce across the world as the UK leaves the EU.”

China is currently the UK’s eight largest export market for food and drink, with more than £610 million worth of products bought by Chinese consumers last year.

Government publishes terms for Toddbrook reservoir review

An image of a RAF Chinook and water whaley bridge

There has been media coverage this morning in ITV News, Buxton Advertiser, The Construction Index and Infrastructure Intelligence following publication of the Terms of Reference for the independent review into the Toddbrook reservoir incident, announced by the Environment Secretary in September.

Led by the former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Professor David Balmforth, the review will look into the events that took place in Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire from 1 August this year and consider what lessons can be learned by the wider industry to ensure ongoing reservoir safety.

Professor Balmforth will report back to the Environment Secretary with his findings on the incident by the end of the year, the details of which are expected to be made public early next year following consultation with all parties involved.

It follows the precautionary evacuation of residents of Whaley Bridge after high water levels damaged the spillway of Toddbrook reservoir.

The Canal and River Trust, which owns and operates the reservoir, worked with the Environment Agency, fire and rescue service, the RAF and others around the clock to reduce water levels and to repair damage to the spillway to make it safe for residents to move back in.

Since the summer the Environment Agency has ensured that water levels at Toddbrook Reservoir are monitored and remain at a safe level until full repairs are completed. The Canal and River Trust has also been assessing the damage and identifying how the reservoir can be permanently repaired in the longer term.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

“I’m pleased that the independent review into the incident at Toddbrook reservoir, which I commissioned last month, is now well underway.

“I expect this review to provide valuable insight into how this incident came about, and I hope it will also offer peace of mind to local residents. The outcome of the review will help inform how we can further improve this country’s excellent reservoir safety record.”

Professor David Balmforth said:

“England has an excellent reservoir safety record and the speedy action of many organisations helped keep the community around Toddbrook reservoir safe during the highly unusual incident earlier this year.

“However, it is important that we uncover the causes of the damage to the dam and identify any lessons which can be learned, and I look forward to taking that work forward.”

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