The EU Commission has today approved the UK’s bovine TB Eradication Plan and agreed to provide €10m in funding for use in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This is a clear sign that the commission has recognised the eradication plan as a way forward in the fight against TB, said veterinary surgeon and TB Eradication Group member Andy Biggs.

The approved plan outlines the TB control policies which will be in operation from January 2010.

“The money is useful, but the positive message received from the commission is much more significant,” Mr Biggs added.

But he said that there was no guarantee the funding would be used directly for TB control.

“The money received will go into a central ‘pot’, so it is not simply a matter of assigning the funding to TB control – this is simply the nature of funding.”

The Commission’s decision to provide financial support to the UK’s TB eradication programmes in 2010 is a welcome boost, said Hilary Benn.

“We will continue to work with the commission, devolved administration and TB Eradication Group to deliver an effective programme to work to eradicate the disease.”

The EU funding can be used to contribute to the costs of TB testing and compensation for cattle slaughter, he said.

Scotland is not included in the plan, since it achieved recognition of its regional “Officially TB-Free” status on 8 September this year.