The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has welcomed the news that Britain has finally been declared foot and mouth free.
The news that the last county, Northumberland, has been reclassified as FMD free is a major landmark in the fight against the disease and follows the reclassification at the start of the year of North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Durham. This means that all counties in Britain now have FMD free status so far as livestock movements are concerned.
“This is a welcome landmark, although not quite the end of the story,” said the OIA’s Andrew Maxted.
“We are delighted that 98 percent of footpaths are now open nationwide and that the rural economy can look forward to recovery this spring. We recognise however that a small number of rights of way crossing former infected premises are still closed and ask all outdoor enthusiasts to continue to respect any signs in place to this effect.”
The change in classification eases restrictions on animal movements. Restrictions will remain on some individual farms until cleansing and disinfection work is complete. Most cleansing and disinfection has been completed or will be done by the end of February. A very small number are likely to remain under restriction in the coming months.
Whilst the farming industry is said to have lost £2bn thanks to FMD (although many millions of pounds later saw their way into farmer's pockets), rural tourism and industries such as the bike and outdoor trades lost a combined £30bn.