Second FMD case emerges as EU suspends exports

A temporary three kilometre temporary control zone has been imposed around a farm in Norfolk

, Defra has said. It is thought a second outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) is suspected, and Defra is expected to make an announcement soon.

The first new outbreak was confirmed in Surrey earlier today.

The EU has suspended the lifting of export of livestock, meat and dairy products from the UK, just a day after removing such restrictions after a case of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed 30 miles away from the last outbreak in Surrey.

"The UK authorities have informed the Commission of a suspected outbreak of FMD .... in the meantime, the Commission has stopped the procedure for adopting [Tuesday's] decision to resume trade to/from the UK," the EU said.

A 10km exclusion zone has been set up in the Egham area around the affected site and a pre-emptive slaughter of cattle was ordered on suspicion of the disease.

Defra has now confirmed FMD after an assessment of clinical symptoms by Animal Health veterinary staff and initial laboratory results.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn, said: "This is news that no one wanted to hear, least of all the farming industry. The immediate establishment of both a Protection Zone, with footpaths closed within it, and a national animal movement ban shows our determination to contain and eradicate this latest outbreak. Having spoken this morning to farming industry representatives, I know they share this view and the utmost vigilance is now needed from everyone."

Chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said: "At this stage we have not identified the strain or origin of this outbreak. The situation remains uncertain, and I urge all animal keepers to be vigilant for signs of disease, practice stringent biosecurity measures, including the movement ban and licensing conditions."

A movement ban of cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants has now been imposed in England and parallel arrangements are being made by the Scottish and Welsh administrations. No movements of susceptible animals are allowed except under licence. The licence conditions may vary between England, Scotland and Wales, Defra said.

In England, controls are in place on movement of animal carcasses, animal gatherings, shearing and dipping are restricted, and all farms must increase levels of biosecurity. In both the Protection and Surveillance Zones, there will be requirements for increased levels of biosecurity on farms, movement controls, controls on transportation of dung/manure and treatment of animal products to ensure destruction of the FMD virus, it added.

Confirmation of the movements which will be permitted under licenses will be issued later today.

Prime Minister Gordon Gordon Brown has chaired a meeting of COBRA this afternoon after a reported outbreak of foot and mouth disease on a Surrey farm and a suspected one in Norfolk.

The Prime Minister returned from a visit to Leicester to hold the civil emergencies committee discussion on the infection on the farms.

We will bring you more news as soon we have it.