DEFRA HAS announced the start of tighter cattle controls to reduce the risk of bovine tuberculosis spreading to low incidence areas.

Letters explaining the new measures have been sent to every producer in Great Britain.

The measures that are now in place include recalculating routine testing intervals to ensure TB testing complies with European legislation.

To support this, reviews of testing frequencies will be undertaken each year, with farmers being individually notified of the results.

The State Veterinary Service will also write to farmers with tests due from Feb 16 onwards to outline their testing window.

The letter will set out the date that movement restrictions will be applied if the tests are not completed on time. 

This is because from 16 Feb, 2005 herd movement restrictions will be applied immediately a test becomes overdue.

DEFRA has also said there will also be a more rigorous and systematic approach to identifying and dealing with potential new TB hotspots.

It is also introducing rigorous testing schedules for new and reformed herds.