Defra has today (Monday) announced that Kent, Essex, East Sussex, Southend, Thurrock, Medway, Brighton and Hove will be removed from the foot and mouth disease (FMD) risk area.

From midnight tonight these counties will fall within the FMD low risk area and be subject to the movement controls that apply in this area.

This decision follows a veterinary risk assessment revealing no evidence of movements of FMD susceptible animals to, or have cause to suspect FMD in, those counties.

Areas remaining within the FMD Risk Area (West Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Greater London) are kept under constant review.

This decision means that livestock keepers in these areas will now be able to move animals from farm to farm.

Pigs will also be allowed to move an unlimited distance. The control measures in place within the Bluetongue Protection Zone remain unchanged.