Foot and mouth export restrictions lifted

The European Commission (EC) has lifted the remaining foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control measures in Great Britain.

Resumption of normal EU movements and trading, particularly exports within the European Union resumed on Friday.

The FMD restricted export area has now been lifted and the associated movement licensing requirements removed.

Great Britain is now divided into two areas:

* the FMD-free export area: This includes districts in Surrey and adjoining London boroughs. Meat and meat products may be exported but not live animals. However, livestock will be able to move out of this area to the rest of Great Britain provided they are not exported.

* the FMD-live export area: This is the remainder of Great Britain. Live exports are now permitted from all of this area.

All export health certification requirements for fresh meat and animal products will be lifted across all of Great Britain and exports will be able to take place under normal EC rules.

Acting chief veterinary officer Fred Landeg said: "The Commission decision is a welcome development, allowing most movements which were restricted due to the FMD outbreak within the EU to return to normal. Animal Health has worked hard to complete additional surveillance in time to allow this decision to be agreed.

"Our extensive surveillance demonstrates that the 2007 FMD outbreak has been effectively controlled. The final stage is to restore our international FMD-free status, which would allow third country exports to resume. We are working with third country authorities to achieve this."

This decision will expire on 31 December, when the established areas will be lifted and all of Great Britain will be able to export to EU member states under normal rules.

Bluetongue restrictions remain firmly in place and these movement rules must also be complied with when moving livestock.

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