Giant sheep removed over safety fears

English meat bosses' bid to boost the industry, beleaguered by foot-and-mouth disease, have suffered a set back.

English meat bosses bids to boost the industry beleaguered by foot-and-mouth disease have suffered a set back.

Eblex has been told to remove a giant sheep from the side of a busy motorway after police and council leaders deemed it a safety risk.

The sheep, part of a nationwide campaign to encourage sales of Quality Standard lamb and beef, covered half an acre and was staked onto the side of a hill alongside a busy stretch of the M3 near Basingstoke.

Reports suggest that the police asked the Highways Agency to investigate the sheep because of fears it could distract passing motorists. The council also stepped in to demand the sheep's removal.

Nicky Linihan, head of transport at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, told the BBC: "There is a breach of the advertisement regulations.

"We have contacted the advertisers to advise them of this and they have agreed that it would be removed by close of business tomorrow."

A spokesman for EBLEX said: "The giant sheep was used to launch our nationwide promotional campaign for Autumn lamb, and was used very successfully for a week on a field site near the M62 in Bradford.

"Because it was a temporary structure, we understood planning permission was not required. However we complied with a request from the Council to take it down from the M3 site near Basingstoke as they believed it went against recently amended planning legislation.

"But the reaction to the giant sheep's appearance on both motorway sites has been tremendous, with excellent media coverage highlighting our efforts to encourage consumers to buy Quality Standard Mark lamb to show their support

for farmers in the wake of the current Foot and Mouth outbreak."

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