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DEFRA has announced that Kent, Essex, East Sussex, Southend, Thurrock, Medway, Brighton and Hove will be removed from the foot and mouth disease (FMD) risk area.

From midnight on Monday (1 October) these counties will fall within the FMD Low Risk Area and be subject to the movement controls that apply in this area.

This decision follows a veterinary risk assessment revealing no evidence of movements of FMD susceptible animals to, or have cause to suspect FMD in, those counties. Areas remaining within the FMD Risk Area are kept under constant review.

This decision means that livestock keepers in these areas will be able to move animals from farm to farm. Pigs will also be allowed to move an unlimited distance. The control measures in place within the Bluetongue Protection Zone remain unchanged.

Also, the latest epidemiology report published last week concludes that the risk of disease spread outside of the Surrey Protection and Surveillance Zones is very low.

Therefore, based on the overall assessment of risk, DEFRA is today standing down vaccination teams from their current level of alert. Teams could be remobilised again in five days, if needed.