EU laws on the transportation of animals, which require professionals to pass a certificate in transport, will not be enforced until April, Defra has revealed, not the 5 January deadline originally set. But it has warned that horse transporters should not use this as an excuse to delay qualifying.

Secretary of state Hilary Benn said no action will be taken against transporters who are not in possession of competence certificates by January because of the effects of foot-and-mouth (FMD) and bluetongue. This agreement extends until the end of April 2008.

But a Defra spokesman has warned horse transporters are not included in this waiver unless they were unable to take the certificate due to FMD or bluetongue restrictions.