HL Deb 18 December 2001 vol 630 cc42-3WA
Lord Bragg

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the restrictions on the movement of livestock will be further relaxed. [HL2070]

Lord Whitty

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State welcomes the fact that we have not had a confirmed case of foot and mouth disease 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. We 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. The department has been discussing the terms of such a regime with the livestock industry over recent weeks. I plan to publish tomorrow the general principles of such a regime.