7 August 2001
Virus controls tightened in Cumbria

By Wendy Owen

RESTRICTIONS have been tightened across a 100-mile-square area in Cumbria to stop foot-and-mouth spreading back to areas free from the disease.

Feed lorries delivering to farms in the Penrith area will require special licenses and milk tankers will have to be accompanied by government officials.

Police patrols will be increased to check that farmers and other associated vehicles meet special cleansing and disinfection requirements.

Five designated points have also been set up, operating around the clock to disinfect vehicles using pressure-washers.

New controls have also been introduced to reduce the risk that farmers and contractors could spread foot-and-mouth during sheep-shearing.

Contract shearers must hold a “red licence” before they visit farms. Farmers must have licences to shear for other producers in an infected area.

The new measures are similar to which were imposed last week across an “intensive biosecurity zone” in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, foot-and-mouth restrictions have been eased in parts of Northumberland and County Durham in north-east England.

The move means that more than 300 farms in the area are now categorised as “at risk” rather than being in an infected area.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said tests were being conducted on livestock near previously infected farms.

“This will not involve any more restrictions but it is another vital step on the road to gaining foot-and-mouth freedom status,” he added.

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