26 November 2001
More counties declared disease-free

By Alistair Driver

THREE more counties which were infected heavily by foot-and-mouth disease will be given the official all-clear on Tuesday (27 November).

Lancashire, Devon and Herefordshire will be declared disease-free, said a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This will let farmers move animals to and from most other parts of the country, although licences will still be required.

Ken Baxter, chairman of the National Farmers Union in Lancashire, said it was a great relief that his county had finally achieved disease-free status.

“It has been a long battle,” he said.

The move will leave just South Powys and Northumberland, and small authorities bordering them, as designated “at-risk” counties.

South Powys could be declared disease-free soon, although Northumberland will have to wait until 28 December at the earliest.

Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Durham will remain “high-risk” counties.

But farmers in those counties will be boosted by a relaxation of animal movement controls also expected on Tuesday.

This will allow animals to move under licence from most at-risk or disease-free counties into high-risk counties.

Animals will still not be allowed to move into infected areas, and sheep will not be permitted to move out of at-risk counties or high-risk counties.

Controls on pigs and cattle in disease-free counties will also be eased.

From 4 December, pigs and cattle will have to be inspected by a vet before moving unless they are going to slaughter for export.

Plans are also in the pipeline to allow multiple pick-ups from farms in foot-and-mouth-free countries for movements to a single slaughterhouse.

Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty said they moves would be an important step towards normality.

“Im very pleased that weve made sufficient progress to be able to announce these relaxations,” he said.

“Of course, there could still be disease out there, and no-one should drop their guard.”

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage
Recovery plan – Full coverage