The swill feeders’ fight for compensation is continuing, five years after swill feeding was banned at the height of the F&M crisis.

The government forced the closure of swill-feeding businesses on the basis that the farm at the centre of the outbreak, Burnside Farm, Northumberland, was also a swill unit.

The ban was made even though no other swill unit succumbed to foot-and-mouth.

The 63 farmers, who make up the campaign group – the Association of Swill Users – have called for 18m compensation for loss of earnings as they claim they were not to blame for the outbreak.

Last year hopes were raised that the government would at last compensate when DEFRA’s accounts showed 18m had been put aside specifically for that purpose.

But that money is yet to be released.