Deadline approaches for changes to SOAs in Wales

The clock is ticking for Welsh livestock farmers seeking to unite separate parcels of land under licence as a single unit.

On Friday 1 November, applications for new Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs) or requests for additions to existing SOAs will no longer be accepted in Wales.

This move will unify Wales with the system already in place in England and is aimed at reducing the risk of TB spreading across Wales. Existing SOAs allow animals to be moved from one piece of land to another without the need for pre-movement TB testing or a six-day standstill.

The Welsh government said this unrestricted movement of animals across Wales increased the risk of the disease spreading.

Although existing SOAs will remain unchanged, the Welsh government may abolish them in the longer term.

Wales’ farming minister Alun Davies said there was no quick fix to eradicating TB. It required a long-term approach that included a number of different measures.

“By ending the creation of new SOAs, we are reducing the risk of TB spreading across Wales by tightening up this loophole, which can see animals being moved between two pieces of land that, in some cases, can be miles apart,” he said.

In addition to this new measure, the Welsh government will also regularly review exemptions to pre-movement TB testing.

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