A public meeting in the North-East will form part of the Government's Lessons to be Learned inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Chairman of the inquiry Dr Ian Anderson will visit County Durham and Northumberland between March 5 and 6 to see how badly the region had been affected.

It will be the fourth visit in a series around Britain in an attempt to see first hand what has happened. Visits have already been made to the South West of England, Wales and Scotland.

Dr Anderson said: "It is very clear as we travel around the country the extent to which foot and mouth has affected a huge number and range of businesses.

"I am determined to hear the facts of this suffering to inform my report fully and properly so that I can present the lessons to be learned for the future. That is the purpose of this visit."

People are invited to a public meeting on Tuesday, March 5, at 7.30pm, at Newcastle Civic Centre where members of Dr Anderson's inquiry team will listen to what people have to say.

The meeting is limited to 220 people so members of the public who wish to attend should contact Samantha Doolet at COI Conference Services, Rm 115, Hercules Road, London, SE1 7DU. Telephone 020 7261 8400/8385, fax: 020 7261 8588.

Tickets will be allocated and distributed after the closing date of 5pm on Wednesday, February 27.