The Scottish Government last night (Wednesday) announced its intention to allow movements of up to eight kilometres within farm businesses.

The timing of this will, however, depend on the completion of animal movement tracings from infected premises in Surrey.

The announcement followed a call by NFU Scotland for the Scottish Government to recognise the unprecedented anger and frustration currently being experienced by Scottish livestock farmers as a result of the fall out from foot and mouth.

“The combination of the restrictions currently in place, the previous shutdown forced by the FMD cases in August and a lack of information on when further relaxation will be delivered is starting to cause human health as well as animal health problems,” according to a Union statement.

Scottish cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, Richard Lochhead, said he fully shared the frustration and anger of Scotland’s farmers.

“I would like to thank them and the wider industry for their ongoing patience.

“Following previous relaxations I am keen to relax movements within farms as soon as I am able. But the number one priority must be to protect Scotland from this dreadful disease. We are at the early stages of this outbreak and it is constantly changing.

“We have to ensure that tracings are completed before further movements can be allowed. We will move as quickly as we can but only when it is safe to do so,” he said.

“We were able to quickly roll back restrictions in August ahead of the rest of Great Britain but only on the basis of sound veterinary risk assessment. That is what we will continue to do for the sake of our farmers and this critically important industry.

“I am sure that every farmer would rather be safe than sorry.  Once investigations are complete we will be in a position to consider further relaxations,” the minister added.