ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY pyres used to burn foot and mouth carcasses were being distributed across the country this week in a bid to cut down on atmospheric pollution risks.
The pyres, designed by contractor Carillion, are re-usable and do not involve the use of timber railway sleepers, said Carillion project manager Dave Beaumont. Timber sleepers are often used to support oxygen inlet passages at the base of pyres.
Health experts have warned that burning timber sleepers may release toxic carcinogens into the atmosphere because they contain oil and chemical preservatives.
Beaumont said the materials used in the new 'barbeque' type pyres, made from steel beams and reinforcement bars, were environmentally superior (NCE 5 April).
'In the barbeques we don't use railway sleepers and treated timber. We also use imported coal that has 0.5% sulphur, not 20% like some local coals, ' he said, 'All this has cut burn time down to 24 hours - previously it was three days minimum.'
He added that the pyres were originally developed for use only in Cumbria, but fears over carcinogens last week led North Cumbria Health Authority to place a temporary ban on burning carcasses in the region.
A forklift truck driver in Cumbria developed foot and mouth symptoms this week after his vehicle dropped a cow which then sprayed fluid over him.