§ Mr. Paterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the legal basis for the current closure of livestock markets; and when that legal basis has to be reviewed. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 4 December 2001]: The Foot-and-Mouth Disease Declaratory (Controlled Area) (England and Wales) (No.3) Order 2001, as amended, was made under section 17 of the Animal Health Act 1981 and declares the whole of England and Wales to be an infected area to which the provisions of Part IV of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Order 1983 as amended apply (a controlled area). Part IV imposes certain restrictions on the area, including the provisions of article 35 which prohibit the use of premises for a fair, market, show or other gathering of animals.
When the chief veterinary officer is of the opinion that England and Wales is no longer infected with foot and mouth disease, consideration will be given to revoking the Declaratory Order. Once this order is revoked, the restrictions in article 35 on the holding of livestock markets will no longer apply. There are other powers available to Ministers under the Animal Health Act 1981 to regulate markets even in the absence of an FMD controlled area. However, the Government are minded to permit the resumption of cattle and some sheep markets in the new year, provided no further cases of FMD come to light. The Government are in close consultation with representatives of auctioneers and farmers abut the biosecurity rules to apply when markets resume.