29 November 2001
Last virus infected area given all-clear
By Johann Tasker
THE last remaining foot-and-mouth infected areas has been lifted, signalling the end of the nine-month epidemic which devastated British farms.
Infected-area status was lifted across the counties of Durham, North Yorkshire, and Cumbria at midnight on Thursday (29 November).
About 1500 farms within Cumbria, the county which had 843 confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth, will be affected by the move.
National Farmers Union president Ben Gill, who farms in North Yorkshire, said farmers would be extremely pleased to see the restrictions lifted.
He added: “It will be seen as a further significant development in what was formerly a disease stronghold.”
The three counties will remain high-risk areas until Tuesday (4 December) when they will be down-graded to “at risk” status.
The easing of restrictions will allow farmers greater flexibility to move their animals, although livestock movement licences will still be needed.
Three other counties at the heart of the epidemic were given the official all-clear earlier on Tuesday (27 November).
Lancashire, Devon and Herefordshire were declared disease-free by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.