New guidelines have been issued to organisers of equestrian events in foot-and-mouth disease areas.

They follow the latest veterinary risk assessments which have concluded that there can be more flexibility with the 3km zone under certain circumstances.

The guidelines, which only apply to non-agricultural land, are expected to particularly help organisers in the north of England.

However, it has not been possible to lift protection zones around infected premises because blood testing within the 3km zone has not been completed.

The new guidelines now ban only race and equine events which would take place on sites neighbouring premises which are subject to Form A restrictions served under the FMD order 1983.

They also state that no race meeting or equine event should be held if any part of the course is within 3km of premises on which FMD is suspected or confirmed, unless all susceptible livestock there has been destroyed and preliminary cleansing and disinfection has been completed more that 42 days before the meeting takes place.

For more information visit www.defra.gsi.gov.uk