14 May 2001
South-east England ‘disease-free’

By FWI staff

EAST Anglia and south-east England are now free of foot-and-mouth infected-area restrictions after controls were lifted in Essex on Monday (14 May).

Restrictions were removed in an area of north Essex around Colchester, freeing up another 614 farms in the area.

In total across the country, 16,957 farms have now had infected-area restrictions lifted.

These farmers can take animals to any slaughterhouse willing to accept them in an uninterrupted journey taking less than four-and-a-half hours.

It also now means they can apply for licences to move their livestock to more areas under the livestock movement schemes.

They will no longer be restricted to licensed movements in their own infected area, but will not be allowed to move to any farm in a provisionally free area.

Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has sought to reassure farmers that it did not take risks in re-opening public footpaths.

Foot-and-mouth was confirmed on Thomas Lords farm at Langcliffe, near Settle, North Yorkshire, days after a public footpath was re-opened.

This is one of five cases of foot-and-mouth around Settle in the past few days – 15 miles from previous outbreaks in the county.

This has aroused fears that walkers could have spread the disease, although Ministry of Agriculture officials are still working to confirm the source.

But a spokesman for the national park said 20km of the parks 2000km of footpaths were only re-opened after the strictest risk assessment.

“We are taking a very cautious approach”, insisted the spokesman.

Meanwhile, farmers in Northern Ireland farmers were relieved to hear that blood tests on a farm in Ballycastle have proved negative for foot-and-mouth.

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