A second outbreak of foot and mouth disease has been confirmed on a farm in Surrey within the protection zone.

One hundred cows suspected of being infected with the disease were culled yesterday and tests overnight have proved positive.

The cows were on land owned by farmer Lawrence Matthews who rented grazing to a neighbouring producer.

He told the BBC: “Most farmers are very, very scared and all activity on farms has almost come to a standstill.”

In particular, he complained at the lack of information from DEFRA direct to farmers in the protection zone, the problem of fallen stock not being picked up from farms and the fact that footpaths had not been closed on the site of the latest outbreak.

Responding, DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn said footpaths were automatically closed on infected premises – elsewhere it was dependant on the level of risk. He would investigate this specific case immediately.

But it was important not to give the impression that the countryside was closed, he added.

 More as we get it…