County-based testing intervals

The risk-based testing system, which divided areas into parishes, has been scrapped and replaced with a county system.

England has now been divided into two cattle TB-testing frequency areas:

  • An annual testing area in the south-west and west of England (up to Cheshire) and in East Sussex. This includes both areas where the disease is endemic and the adjoining counties where TB incidence is currently low, but the risk of geographical spread of the disease in the short to medium term is highest.
  • A four-yearly testing area for the rest of England – in most counties in the south-east and east and north of the country, where the disease is less prevalent.

Testing frequency

  • From now on, there are no two-and three-yearly tested areas or herds.
  • TB surveillance around Officially TB Free Withdrawn (OTFW) breakdowns in the four-yearly testing area will be enhanced and extended beyond the immediately adjacent herds to better determine whether there has been any localised spread of disease.

Herds within a 3km radius of the case that is initially identified will require an immediate skin test and then follow-up tests six months later and, if results are negative, 12 months thereafter. During this time, these herds will require pre-movement testing.

Movement control changes

  • Farms with TB cases will not be allowed to bring new cattle in until the rest of the herd has been tested for TB.
  • Farmers will have 30 days – down from 60 – to move cattle that test negative for TB from a TB breakdown farm.
  • Approved quarantine units (AQUs) will be phased out. This will end the movement of clean calves from TB breakdown farms to the market via AQUs.
  • Approved finishing units (AFUs) handling cattle from TB-infected farms for fattening will face closer monitoring. Some operators could even see their licences removed for serious breaches.

 You can find more information about changes to controls at

View 2013 TB Testing Intervals in a full screen map