§ Mr. Edwards
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the restrictions on the movement of livestock will be further relaxed. 
§ Margaret Beckett
I welcome the fact that we have not had a confirmed case of FMD since the end of September, and that the programme of testing has enabled us to reduce the risk status of all the counties affected, so considerably easing the movement of livestock within the present control regime. I hope that it will not be long before the country can, with reasonable confidence, be regarded as free of disease. We still need to maintain precautions against the recurrence of the disease. This will need to be recognised in an interim animal movement regime which, assuming all continues to go well, we hope to introduce in mid-February. My Department has been142W discussing the terms of such a regime with the livestock industry over recent weeks. My noble Friend Lord Whitty plans to publish tomorrow the general principles of such a regime.