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Carillion - the contractor s role

Construction contracts across the country face possible delays due to FMD restrictions on site access.

However, many contractors in Cumbria have been brought in to help the Army deal with the crisis.

Contractor Carillion has set up its own offices in Carlisle next to the Army headquarters and is now heavily involved in carcass burn and burial operations, using resources from its usual local supply chains.

The team is led by project managers Phil Callard and Dave Beaumont.

'We have five teams in Tyneside and about 25 here, ' says Callard, 'Each team has one or two 360 excavators, a JCB and two frontloaders.' Operatives for the machines, used to dig burial holes or build funeral pyres, are supplied with the plant.

Carillion also has to set up welfare arrangements at each site for the workers, such as cabins and showers, together with disinfectant washing facilities to guard against spreading the virus when the vehicles leave the site.

Callard explains he has produced method statements for each area of work being carried out, along with health and safety risk assessments. He adds that the whole burial or burn operation at a newly discovered infected site takes three to four days.

'We liase with the military and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food (MAFF) and pick up what infected premises (IP) have come in, ' he says. 'We then allocate teams, who move from one location to another.'

Carillion does not just provide the manpower. The contractor is also sourcing material to create the huge number of burning pyres.

'We are stockpiling here, ' says Callard of the Carillion yard, 'Kindling and straw has not been difficult to source, but railway sleepers and coal are a growing problem.'

To combat this problem, Carillion is working with the Territorial Army Royal Engineer Richard Lewis to design a more efficient burning pyre. Current pyre design is that traditionally used during the 1967 outbreak.

This design sees the carcasses laid on a bed of railway sleepers to keep them off the ground and allow better air circulation for combustion. The fire is fuelled initially with timber, kindling, straw and coal.

However, a new prototype pyre made of steel sections that when fitted together form a ladder formation, has been suggested.

Reinforcement mesh is then laid across the steel, on which carcasses, coal, timber and straw are added.

The new pyre, due to be tested this week, will dramatically reduce the number of sleepers used as these are already in short supply.

But faced with a lengthening crisis, engineers are now looking for longer term solutions - in this case steel sections can be reused, cutting down waste and resources.

'When we were first called up we thought we'd be here for a week, ' says Beaumont. 'Now it is more like two or three months.

The longer you stay, the more you search for a long term solution.'

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