The governor of Luxembourg, Olivier Schmitz, and Wallonia’s Minister of Nature and Forests, Céline Tellier, on Tuesday outlined new measures introduced this year to manage the swine-fever crisis that has affected part of the province since September 2018.
Earlier on Tuesday the two officials participated in a meeting between the Department of Nature and Forests, the affected communes, and the forestry sector.
Under a police order issued by the governor on Tuesday, the presence of youth camps in the affected area will be limited this summer, as it was last year. The general idea is to limit and even ban such activities so as not to hamper local efforts to combat swine fever and also to protect the youths against measures taken to curb the spread of the illness, such as traps and intensive hunting.
“Contrary to last year, this order was predictable,” Schmitz said, adding that, “it was possible to relocate camps last year thanks to the joint efforts” of the various authorities.
This year, some exemptions are possible, depending on the areas concerned. In the infected area, exemptions can be issued for camps located in buildings. In the increased-observation zone, the exemptions may be given for both indoor and outdoor camps. Applications need to be submitted to the governor by 16 March and will be processed using a risk analysis based on criteria such as the age of the participants, the location of the proposed camp, and proximity to a forested area.
The communes affected by swine fever have indicated that they would like to be granted financial support given the outbreak’s impact on forestry, hunting licenses and tourism, for example.
“Personally, I am in favour of financial support and I’m going to propose to the Government to study the possibility of an intervention with a view to sending a clear message to the communes,” Minister Tellier said on Tuesday, adding, that some aspects of the support were the purview of other ministers.
Meanwhile, private forestry businesses have been calling for access to the forests to be reopened so that they can carry on their activities. Tellier said she would contact the Federal Minister concerned, Denis Ducarme, in order to have a new scientific opinion issued urgently.
“That independent scientific opinion will enable us to adapt the new ministerial decree on circulation in the forest,” she explained.