http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/fmd-contingency03/responses.pdf

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS RECEIVED ON DEFRA’S FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE CONTINGENCY PLAN STRATEGIC LEVEL Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

LACORS and LGA should have

LACORS and LGA will have full involvement at the Tactical and operational level from whence

representation at the Strategic level.

their input will automatically be taken account in the briefings to the Strategic level. 

Would a Local Authority enforcement

No. The Local Authorities are operational partners and are dealt with through other liaison

expert be required within the

groups. The expert group will be composed of experts who have a knowledge of disease and its

operational Expert Group. Paragraph

spread. The information from Local Authorities will be fed into the Group if necessary but they

5.20 of the Plan

will not be members of the Expert Group.

Experts Group is not complete unless

As above. The expert group will be composed of experts who have a knowledge of disease and

it has practical input from the farming

its spread. The information from operational partners, stakeholders and others will be fed into the

industry to balance the scientific and

Group if necessary but they will not be members of the Expert Group.

academic input. Should also include

 

vaccination expert

 

Lack of industry input at both the

We believe that all Industry and other interests will be catered for through the involvement of

strategic and tactical level

stakeholders.

 

TACTICAL LEVEL Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

A clearer statement needs to be given

Noted and under consideration. in the Plan to confirm that Local Authorities will be represented by LACORS at the tactical level.  Defra may also wish to consider that the LGA directly represent the emergency planning function within the Local Authorities at the Tactical level.  This representation should also be

confirmed in the Plan with a note

 

providing confirmation of the policy

 

split between the two organisations.

 

Lack of industry input at both the

We believe that all Industry and other interests will be catered for through the involvement of

strategic and tactical level

stakeholders.

Representative from a rare breeds

Rare breeds organisations are represented on the stakeholder groups.

organisation should be included in the

 

NDCC and should be included as a

 

stakeholder

 


 

OPERATIONAL LEVEL Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

The objectives of the LDCC should be expanded to include a requirement to manage the local sense of normality in an infected area, while acknowledging the constraints imposed by the disease situation.  Page 85, para 8.2 of the Plan. The Plan appears to be concerned with allocating responsibilities at the top and not sufficiently concerned with the procedures at the operational level.

Agree. This is now reflected in the Plan.

Detailed operational instructions to carry out the requirements of the Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan are contained within VIPER (Veterinary Instructions, Procedures and Emergency Routines) Chapter 3. The existing VIPER Chapters are available to the public in the Defra library, Room 320A, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR and may be viewed by appointment by telephoning: 020 7 238 6575 (please allow 24 hours notice).

As part of further improving the response of the Department to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, work to consolidate the existing version of Chapter 3 into a web based document has been on going. This has been a major project as it has also involved capturing and collating experiences gained during 2001 to allow a consistent response based on best practices identified during and following the outbreak. The new version will be published on Defra’s website as a supporting document to Defra’s Contingency Plan in April 2004.


 

 

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

The Plan should reflect the legal requirement that Defra and the SVS are obligated within legislation to notify both Local Authorities and the local police upon suspicion of a Foot and Mouth case. Operational partners should be included in the out of hours teleconference call Recognise this legal requirement. Detail of the DVM contacting local authorities and the local police is set out in the Veterinary Instructions (VIPER Chapter 3).

This would be inopportune. The purpose of this teleconference is to alert Ministers and appropriate senior officials within Defra who will assess the situation at this preliminary stage and cascade information to other officials and appropriate bodies.

 

ACTION ON SUSPICION Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

The Plan currently suggests that all

Paragraph 2.6 of the Plan sets out that Defra will only move to the alert state of amber if the level actions included within the ‘Amber

of suspicion is recorded as Level 1 or above. Details of what Level 1 and above are, are set out stage’ would be completed for every

in Annex B of the Plan. suspect FMD case reported. The Veterinary assessment should impact on the actions to be taken at the amber level.

TESTING Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Surely Defra must take responsibility for ensuring rapid molecular diagnostics are available at the start of any outbreak: how long will "laboratory test results" take? There is no guideline given Defra is sponsoring important research into tests such as these. Defra has a legal obligation to use the tests specified by the OIE and these tests are reviewed at their meetings.  It is important that tests are fully validated and proven so that results can be relied upon.  Developers of such tests must provide that data for others to assess, including the OIE. 

Defra will be using RT-PCR from the start of any outbreak and routinely for investigations.


 

 

ANIMAL MOVEMENTS AND LICENCES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Clarity is needed on who will be responsible for issuing different licences, the important criteria to be included in application forms and the standards required before a licence can be issued. All of the various licences issued in 2001 should be reviewed and templates developed from these for future outbreaks. Guidance notes should also be developed and these should clearly indicate who will be responsible for issuing the licence. Arrangements should be in place to make licences available over the internet and through fax-back numbers in future outbreaks.

Agreed. With regard to licensing the movement of the main livestock species of live animals (ie cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, camelids and elephants), we will in due course be putting details on the Defra website of the licences which will be available, and how (and from whom) to apply for them. Guidance notes will also be issued for the benefit of those issuing licences.  A complete new suite of licences is being developed, drawing on the experience of 2001.  It is not proposed however to make licences available over the internet, to reduce the risk of fraud.

There is no guideline given on how

Paragraph 4.19 provides information relating to the immediate ban on moving livestock. long Defra will take to impose a national movement ban? In 2001,

All livestock movements from any farm premises will be prohibited once disease has been Defra's inability to make a decision

confirmed. exacerbated the disease spread to epidemic proportions.

 

PROTECTION ZONES AND SURVEILLANCE ZONES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

PZs and SZs are not the terms

In drawing up this version of the Contingency Plan, we have taken account of the provisions of

referenced within Foot and Mouth

the new EU Directive on community measures for the control of FMD (Council Directive

Disease legislation

2003/85/EC) in anticipation of it being transposed into UK legislation.

A clear diagram setting out the

Agreed. The Plan now includes such a diagram.

various zones including SZs and PZs

 

could usefully be included in the Plan

 

to facilitate a common understanding

 

of the terms.

 

Protection and Surveillance Zones –

Detailed work is ongoing to determine the roles and responsibilities of Defra’s operational

paragraph 4.17 of the Plan.

partners in every stage of outbreak management.  The instruction on the roles of Local

Recognition of the Local Authority

Authorities in assisting with enforcement is currently out for comment, and will be incorporated

role in the enforcement of legislation

within Chapter 3.

in an animal disease outbreak should

 

be made. A brief outline of Local

 

Authority responsibility could usefully

 

be included.

 

PZs and SZs. We are concerned that the movement of fodder and bedding within these zones is made possible through pragmatic licensing measures. This is particularly so given the importance Defra has placed on getting fodder to livestock

There is little risk in moving fodder and feed into a PZ/SZ from outside where disease exists providing that the vehicles (incl. wheels and wheel arches and the area used for the fodder) are cleansed and disinfected when they come off the premises in the area where disease exists.  There are however dangers of spreading disease in allowing the movement of fodder out of a PZ/SZ where disease exists in case the fodder is contaminated with animal products eg hay or straw with manure. Likewise the movement of fodder to another farm within a PZ/SZ has similar dangers and could lead to the spread of disease. The movement of fodder off any premises

 

whose welfare is compromised through movement restriction. We would also say that Defra should add improved clarity to the statement ‘ Products from these animals will be subject to treatment to ensure the destruction of the virus’. We would suggest that examples of this are given so that there is no possibility of confusion in the eyes of the public as to the safety of products from animals within the described zones.

which has been slaughtered out is not allowed until the restrictions on that premises are lifted.

These restrictions are required by the EU FMD Directive and will be detailed in the new FMD Order.

Accept the second recommendation.  A statement has been added to the Plan to explain that the treatment of products from animals within the described zones is an animal health measure rather than a public health measure.

ANIMAL WELFARE Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

There must be compensation in a

At present Government policy remains that there will be no compensation.  A separate Welfare Disposal Scheme

consultation on welfare disposal will be carried out by Defra later this year.   We regret that it is only

Noted. ‘consideration’ that is to be given to setting up an animal welfare forum in the event of an FMD outbreak.


 

BIOSECURITY Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Further information on the importance of effective bio-security and the nature and progression of FMD needs to be included in the Plan.

Every opportunity should be taken to stress the fundamental value of continued bio-security in relation to people, animals and vehicles.

Consideration has been given to this recommendation. The Plan does include biosecurity guidance and an explanatory paragraph on the background to foot and mouth disease including how it may be spread and the species of animals it may affect.  Providing further information on the importance of biosecurity and the nature and progression of FMD does not fall within the scope of this Plan as it is not an emergency planning activity.  However, Defra will continue to promote this information by other means including through Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy initiatives. Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy initiatives are working towards this.

VACCINATION Recommendation received     Defra’s Response A large number of comments on vaccination policy have been received and these will be addressed in ongoing


 

consultation with stakeholders.  A sample of comments is as follows:

Vaccination Protocol should be

We are considering this recommendation for the next version of Defra’s foot and mouth disease

included in the Plan

contingency plan.

Compensation for the loss of value of

Noted.

vaccinated animals should be

 

considered

 

We remain highly concerned that

Under the EU FMD Directive, culling of susceptible animals on infected premises and those

Defra continues to display an extreme

identified as dangerous contacts remains the basic disease control measure.  Defra is committed

reluctance to commit itself to

to considering the option to vaccinate once disease has been confirmed and indeed it is a

 

vaccination in place of stamping out and culling.

In that an outbreak of FMD could potentially occur at any time it is important that there are arrangements in place for delivery of emergency vaccinations. Consideration should be given to requiring veterinary schools to include a short training programme for veterinary students early in their course. This would enable students to act as a reserve cadre of trained personnel who would be immediately available in the event of an outbreak.

requirement under the Animal Health Act to consider vaccination.  Vaccination will be considered but we cannot state in advance of an outbreak whether we will use it as the disease control strategy will depend on the circumstances. We agree that it is important to ensure that robust arrangements are in place to ensure the delivery of emergency vaccination and for this reason have an initial response of some 24 vets and 50 teams (150 staff) on standby to vaccinate on day 5 of an outbreak.  This can be ramped up to meet any reasonable disease scenario within 4 – 5 days of notification.  We regularly review this level of support to ensure we have sufficient resource to support a vaccination programme and in doing so will consider making use of veterinary students.


 

RARE BREEDS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

It is essential that the Government revises its recently stated policy and must recognise breeds beyond those narrowly defined as numerically "rare". We support the National Steering Committee for FAnGR in recommending that protection of genetically important groups of animals in the event of the next FMD outbreak should be termed "Breeds at Risk" - this category could include the numerically scarce breeds and additional breeds recognised at risk The definition of a breeding nucleus and the list of eligible breeds will be subject to regular review based on scientific evidence and ratification by the new National Steering Committee for FanGR.  This will allow scope for inclusion of other breeds.

by specialists of each farm animal

species.

We are surprised and highly

The issue of ‘farm animal genetic resources’ was outlined in the Disease Control (Slaughter)

concerned that the issue of protection

Protocol. However, we are happy to include more detail on this issue in a separate section of the

of farm animal genetic resources is

Plan.

not raised in this Contingency Plan

 

 

DISPOSAL Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Disposal.  Any decisions made in

Agreed. LACORS and LGA will be key operational partners at operational and tactical levels.

relation to the disposal of carcasses

 

during an outbreak should clearly be

 

communicated to LACORS and the

 

relevant Local Authority as Local

 

Authorities will continue to enforce all

 

animal health and welfare legislation

 

during an outbreak.

 

Problems could occur in the event of

The Department of Health guidelines for pyre burning would be followed in the event that pyre

pyre burning should this exceptional

burning was required. This would include a prior risk assessment.

action be taken.

 

Comprehensive advice must be given

Agreed. This is covered in the terms and conditions of contracts and in the VIPER operational

to haulage companies contracted for

instructions.

the transportation of carcasses.

 

Disposal. Given the additional

Disposal capacity will be one of the factors taken into account when evaluating control strategies.

constraints on the disposal of

 

carcasses that would be imposed in

 

the event of a future outbreak we

 

consider that this limitation should be

 

given greater weight in determining

 

the control method, and inter alia, the

 

 

number of animals thus requiring slaughter, ie whether to use culling or vaccination for disease control. The full constraints on disposal must be properly factored in to the decision making process and the decision tree

CLEANSING AND DISINFECTION Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Concerned at view that only

Noted. Defra will be launching a separate wide ranging consultation exercise in mid 2004 and

preliminary C&D costs will be met by

this will cover compensation for animals which are compulsorily slaughtered and other disease

Defra

control costs.


 

 

COMPENSATION/VALUATION Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Concerned by references to standard valuations for culled stock – of concern to the pedigree sector. In setting up a new means of compensation, it is vital that any decision to set standard rates of valuation in advance must be subject to regular reassessment in order to ensure that they reflect reality at the time of any outbreak in the future. Can a copy of the Valuers instructions be viewed and organisations made aware of the notice period for the implementation of any updates.

Noted. Defra will be launching a separate wide ranging consultation exercise in mid 2004 and this will cover compensation for animals which are compulsorily slaughtered and other disease control costs.

Noted. This is under consideration.

COMMUNICATIONS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response OPERATIONAL PARTNER/STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Local Authorities should be

Defra need to ensure that clear and consistent information is made available to all parties as

proactively included within the Defra

quickly as possible.

communication chain before the

 

dissemination of information to the

 

media and stakeholders through GNN

 

Whilst it is recognised that

Noted. We will endeavour to maintain consistency wherever possible.  Never the less, the Plan

terminology needs to be altered to

must be updated to reflect latest policy and legislation and terminology used is not always within

reflect current practice, continual

Defra’s control.

changes are confusing, particularly

 

when existing documents are not

 

updated to reflect the changes. It is

 

important to maintain consistency.

 

Director Communications – this role

This is the subject of further work.

should include responsibility for direct

 

interaction with operational partners

 

at a national level. More detail

 

needed on communication planning –

 

how will communication with

 

operational partners take place.

 

Concern remains about the apparent

Defra places great importance on communication with farming industry as evidenced by

lack of importance that Defra seems

representation at NDCC and frequency of stakeholders meetings and consultations.

to give to communications with and

 

involvement from the farming

 

community and organisations.

 

Not all farmers have access to

We aim to improve on this by methods including additional briefings to helpline staff.

computers and the Defra website,

 

and our experience of the helpline in

 

2001 was that it was not properly

 

 

briefed to deal with the queries that

 

were put.

 

From the current draft, it doesn’t

We recognise this point.  Information will be diseminated by traditional means such as local and

appear that Defra has paid enough

national press, broadcasting, leaflets and via the NFU, Local Authorities and others etc.  The

attention to how it intends to provide

website will be used to support all of these as an additional source and of course it has the

information to directly affected

advantage of immediacy for those able to receive it.

communities. As we read it, undue

 

emphasis and reliance is being

 

placed on the use of a website

 

despite the fact that many people in

 

rural areas in general and in

 

agriculture in particular are not IT

 

literate or do not own or have ready

 

access to a PC. Undue reliance on

 

electronic communication will not

 

meet the needs of all those who are

 

likely to be affected by a future crisis. 

 

Moreover, in our experience, having

 

access to numerous pages on a

 

website is not the most user friendly

 

method of communication for

 

someone in distress. In such

 

circumstances, what is more often

 

required is the opportunity to talk with

 

an informed and understanding

 

person on the telephone. There is a

 

need for the Contingency Plan to

 

recognise the value of and put in

 

place a range of communication

 

systems designed to meet the diverse

 

needs of those affected by the crisis.

 

The Government should consider

Government policy is that statutory compensation is paid only in respect of animals which have

setting up an immediate emergency

been compulsorily slaughtered as a result of FMD; and property, including carcases, which have

 

fund to help affected businesses with

been seized or destroyed in order to prevent the spread of the disease.  There is no statutory

clear guidelines on its operation and

provision of payment of compensation to farming or other businesses for consequential losses

implementation. Such measures

caused by disease control restrictions, and there are no plans to introduce such payments.

should be available to all affected

 

businesses

 

Guidelines should be drafted for the

Defra will consider drafting such guidelines.

staff of the Pensions Service, local

 

Jobcentre Plus offices, Inland

 

Revenue Tax Credits and local

 

authority Housing Benefits

 

departments regarding dealing with

 

the exceptional circumstances of

 

individuals caught up in the crisis.

 

The guidance should make clear what

 

benefits individuals affected by the

 

emergency are entitled to and

 

whether there need to be any special

 

arrangements in place to help them

 

claim. This was not done during FMD

 

in 2001 and unnecessarily

 

exacerbated families' stress.

 

The Contingency Plan should make

Noted. Defra acknowledges the importance of providing training for all those working on help

provision for adequate training &

lines.

support for those staff that will be

 

deployed on government help lines in

 

any future emergency.

 

 

The Plan should reflect the need for Local Authorities and DVMs to discuss arrangements at the local level with the aim of establishing the relevant Local Authority contact. Local arrangements and organisation will dictate whether the appropriate contact is within the emergency planning team, or a local authority animal health officer.

Paragraph 3.29 of the Plan sets out that “DVMs will engage with local stakeholders as part of their routine emergency-preparedness arrangements and, where possible, include them in the planning and implementation of regular local exercises.  DVMs must establish strong links with their local Police Force strategic (Gold) command as this is recognised by all key local agencies as the co-ordination point for emergency response.  It is also essential that DVMs have established regular contact with their Local Authority Emergency Planning Officers, Trading Standards Officers and Local Authority Animal Health Inspectors, Environment Agency Emergency Planners, the Government Office Emergencies Team and the Health Protection Agency.”

The Plan should recognise the important role of Local Authorities in the provision of advice and information to local communities, including the farming industry.

Agree. The Plan has been amended to reflect the fact that Local Authorities can fulfil a significant role in providing advice and education at a local level.  This is set out in Annex Q.

Reference should be made to the important contribution of operational partners in local contingency planning exercises

Defra welcomes the continuing contribution of operational partners in local contingency planning exercises.  That operational partners and stakeholders are involved in contingency planning exercises is reflected in the Plan.

Local Authorities should be consulted in the Defra recruitment of contractors that are to be used in the control of an animal disease as Local Authorities must continue to enforce animal health and welfare legislation throughout a disease outbreak.

Defra recruitment of contractors that are to be used in the control of an animal disease should not impact on the LA responsibility to enforce animal health and welfare legislation.  To consult Local Authorities on the recruitment of every contractor would slow the process to an extent that the necessary arrangements would not be in place in a reasonable time.

A clear list of operational partners as well as the list of stakeholders should be included in the Plan at page 81

Noted. We will aim to provide a breakdown of operational partners and stakeholders for the next version of the Plan.

While the Plan refers to professionals,

Valuers have been mentioned as one example of professionals whose services would be of value

 

such as those that are members of

in an outbreak but this was not intended to be exclusive.  We recognise as instanced in the last the Central Association of Agricultural

outbreak the value of other professionals such as chartered surveyors whom we may wish to call Valuers, we would like to point out the

on as and when the need arises. important role rural chartered surveyors play since a foot and mouth outbreak affects not just valuation of livestock but land management, recreation and access and many other rural issues. 

SLAUGHTER PROTOCOL Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Annex C – Disease Control Slaughter Protocol. Further information on the appeal process for farmers who wish to object to slaughter decisions must be formalised and included in the Plan. How a farmer can appeal, timescales and the organisation or individual that will be responsible for reviewing appeals could usefully be included.

Disease Control (Slaughter) Protocol Point 11 – the finalisation of this section is vital, it should include the speed of decision and the Farmers ongoing rights (if any).

Annex C already covers this, except for timescales.  Please see paragraph 10 of Annex C.

Detailed instructions for Defra’s Divisional Veterinary Managers, on how they may review a particular decision to slaughter are set out in Viper Chapter 3.  Viper Chapter 3 should be published as a supporting document to Defra’s Contingency Plan in April 2004.  Consideration will be given as to whether or not these details should also be included in the Disease Control (Slaughter) Protocol when it is next reviewed.


 

 

VETERINARY RISK ASSESSMENTS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Industry should be able to input into the veterinary risk assessment which affects the implementation of control policies.

Risk assessments (Ras) are factual and list all of the options available.  They do not take account of what is pragmatic, nor do they take account of the costs.  Neither policy makers, stakeholders nor Ministers should input into veterinary risk assessments.  The risk assessments need to be published and then made available for peer review.  Risk assessments can quite rightly be challenged.  The involvement of policy makers, Ministers and stakeholders takes place at the next stage – which of the listed options will be used and factors such as cost, the impact and their practicality come into play. This is the rightful place for their intervention.  RAs in 2001 were published and comments on them were invited.  This will be the case in future also.  During 2001 very little comment was received after publication.

FOOTPATHS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response TRADE RELATED ISSUES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Further information should be

The rights of way closures protocol is available to local authorities and, together with the

provided for Local Authorities on

Veterinary Risk Assessment, provides a clear framework within which to make decisions about

potential footpath closures.

where to restrict access. The Protocol has been consulted on separately, recently, and all

 

responses will be carefully considered.

Footpaths should be closed within the

The veterinary advice and the experience from the last outbreak of foot and mouth disease in

10Km zone, not merely the 3Km

2001 is that there is no evidence that allowing walkers and other rights of way users to access the

zone. In 2001, the late spread of

10 km zone undermines measures to control the spread of disease.

FMD into the moorlands of Yorkshire

 

was correlated with re-opening of all

 

public rights of way across the non-

 

fenced, sheep-grazing moorlands

 

which coincided with the start of the

 

shooting season.

 

The principle of confining footpath

If the road is within the protection zone, then as the Right of Way Protocol states, a highway may

closures to the 3km Protection

be closed, but only where justified on the basis of advice in the Government’s veterinary risk

 

Zone is accepted.  However, road

assessment.

closures alongside infected

 

premises should be imposed as

 

routine, in the light of evidence that

Good Biosecurity on vehicles entering and leaving all premises where susceptible animals have

vehicle movements from the

been or are present is one of the most important ways of controlling the spread of disease.

vicinity of infected premises, as

 

well as from the premises

 

themselves, were associated with

 

the spread of infection in the 2001

 

outbreak. The closure area could

 

then be targeted with a suitable

 

level of compensation for

 

businesses of all sorts, whose

 

trade is disrupted

 

There seems to be conflict in the

The risk factor must be recognised here – persons who handle livestock and animal products,

Plan with regard to the measures

drive farm machinery which is dirty, present a much higher risk than ramblers who are in the

to be implemented within the

same category as other workers who visit farms eg Council refuse collectors, the post man and

surveillance zones for farmers

the local Doctor. Ramblers should only be on footpaths and should not enter farm buildings.

versus the fact that footpaths will

 

only be closed on Infected

 

Premises and within the 3K

 

Protection Zone.

 


 

 

A number of comments were received

We recognise that there is a need here that is being pursued as a separate issue. raising the issue that no reference is made to wider contingency plans notably over trade related issues

TERMINOLOGY Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Definitions of dangerous contacts,

Accept. Explanations are now included in the Plan’s Glossary.

slaughter on suspicion, contiguous

 

cull, firebreak cull, pre-emptive and

 

preventative slaughter should be set

 

out in the Plan

 

The Plan needs to link with the more

Noted. We are taking forward work on this issue.

general arrangements for dealing with

 

an emergency and the wider

 

resilience structures with whom

 

operational staff will need to interact

 

for example Regional CCC and the

 

Gold liaison group

 

 

 

TRAINING AND EXERCISES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Paragraph 3.37 suggests that DVMs, RODs and HsVS who are not media trained should undergo training during an epidemic. Any media training should be planned and arranged in advance of the problem. It is recommended that an annual report on practical testing of the contingency plan should become part DVMs, RODs and HsVS have, in the main, received appropriate media training in order to deal with the intense media interest surrounding an outbreak.  However, the Plan also provides for circumstances where staff have not been media trained, for example because they are newly appointed.

This is an interesting proposal which we will consider carefully.

of the consultation process for future

 

annual reviews.

 

In order to ensure that the RSAP

We will consider the role that the RSAP WG might play in an exercise.

Working Group is able to play a full

 

part in any future emergency, there is

 

a strong case for involving the Group

 

in any future simulation exercise.

 

Supportive of regular, regional multi-

Plans are currently being drawn up for exotic disease exercises in 2004/05, which we will share

agency exercises. Dates for

with operational partners when available.  In light of the proposal to establish the State Veterinary

exercises in 2005 and beyond should

Service as an Agency it is currently unrealistic to draw up a 5 year plan.

be scheduled and circulated now to

 

allow for full engagement by

 

operational partners.  A 5-year

 

forward look would be particularly

 

useful.

 

 

 

VIPER/VETERINARY INSTRUCTIONS/LOCAL PLANS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Request to see VIPER instructions The existing VIPER Chapters are available to the public in the Defra library, Room 320A, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR and may be viewed by appointment by telephoning:  020 7 238 6575 (please allow 24 hours notice).

As part of further improving the response of the Department to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, work to consolidate the existing version of Chapter 3 into a web based document has been on going. This has been a major project as it has also involved capturing and collating experiences gained during 2001 to allow a consistent response based on best practices identified during and following the outbreak. The new version will be published on Defra’s website as a supporting document to Defra’s Contingency Plan in April 2004.

Local AHDO plans should be

Paragraph 3.29 of the Plan sets out that DVMs must engage with operational partners, including discussed with the appropriate Local

Local Authorities, in order that they know and understand the FMD contingency plans (including Authority.

relevant sections of SVS instructions and local office contingency plans). The DVM must have established their capabilities, roles and responsibilities in the event of an outbreak.

RESOURCES Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Consideration should be given to the

The Plan already sets out the arrangements with regard to the identification of overseas

development of an EU-wide

government veterinary personnel.  In the event of an outbreak, the CVO may, if necessary, send

veterinary reserve capability. EU

a formal request to EU Member States for veterinary support.  This was done during the 2001

Member States could agree to

outbreak of foot and mouth disease and help was forthcoming. 

support each other in the event of an

 

outbreak and be prepared to send

 

veterinary personnel to outbreaks of

 

notifiable disease in any other

 

Member States.

 

The annual review should include an

Noted. We will consider the practicalities of this suggestion.

estimate of actual resources available

 

in the event of an FMD outbreak and

 

in particular the veterinary personnel

 

available.

 

The default position in terms of

Paragraph 3.1 of the Plan sets out the issues surrounding the involvement of the Armed Forces in

operational control must be that

the event of an outbreak.

the armed services should be

 

called in on day one, unless there

 

are compelling reasons to the

 

contrary.

 

The role of the Royal Army Veterinary

We will consider the role of the RAVC in an outbreak but it must be noted that the RAVC are a

Corps (RAVC) should be set out in

small core with potentially few available staff.

the Plan.

 

An adequate level of resources

Arrangements are in place to facilitate the rapid augmentation of staff and other resources to

 

must be earmarked as a long term

deliver whatever disease control policy is adopted. commitment to underpin either a slaughter or a vaccinate to live policy.


 

SEROLOGY Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Serology. Section 4.39 of the Plan.

Plans are that we would use suitably (part) qualified personnel - such as agriculture students - for Surely undergraduates of agricultural

these tasks where they are available.  However, for some scenarios we may need to supplement or science/medical degrees are more

this resource with people from Jobcentres. appropriate and semi-trained compared to Job Centre applicants?


 

SURVEILLANCE Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

The absolute priority must be to do everything possible to prevent FMD returning to the UK. Whilst security at ports and airports has undoubtedly improved, the arrangements still compare unfavourably with those in force in many other countries around the world.

Import control measures must be proportionate and appropriate for the circumstances in each country. It is impossible for any country to stop smuggling altogether. As part of the EU, the UK cannot apply exactly the same import control arrangements as Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA.

.                                  71 million passengers arrive from outside the UK annually (2001 figures).

.                                  Of these, 28 million (40 per cent) come from countries outside the EU 

.                                  Over 64 million passengers pass through Heathrow per annum, and more international travellers than any other airport in the world

.                                  Approx 5 million international travellers pass through Auckland airport 

.                                  Approx 9 million international travellers pass through Sydney airport

.                                  Agriculture accounts for 60% of New Zealand and 22% of Australia’s overseas trade.

 

Whereas exports of food, feed and drink account for 5% for the UK. Agriculture accounts for about 1% of UK GDP. This compares with 3% for Australia and 8% for New Zealand.

The UK remains at the forefront of EU Member States on action against illegal imports and we continue to encourage other states to increase their activity.

WILDLIFE CONTROLS Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Wildlife controls may need to be

Defra has clear plans to look for evidence for the presence of susceptible wildlife on and around

considered depending on the strain of

infected premises. Defra has contracts in place with the Rural Development Service for this work. 

the disease and this should be

Indeed, Defra are obliged to have a contingency plan to investigate whether disease exists in

allowed for in contingency planning.

wildlife and how it would be controlled if found.


 

 

IMPACT OF AN OUTBREAK ON THE RURAL COMMUNITY Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

Representative from the Rural Stress Action Plan Working Group should be included as a stakeholder

We are pleased that the Working Group is explicitly acknowledged as a body with a legitimate role in the Contingency Plan.  Having said that, this appears to be the only reference in the report to what we regard as the human element, i.e. the physical, emotional and practical repercussions on the individuals affected, whether

Accept this recommendation. Rural Stress Action Plan will be included in stakeholder groups.

Noted.

these are farmers, agricultural

 

workers, rural business people,

 

spouses, children etc.

 

In its present format, the plan appears

Noted and agreed. We will pursue this issue further.

to be very weak in securing an

 

effective dialogue and information

 

flow between senior Defra officials

 

and the rural support sector. In our

 

experience, the dissemination and

 

exchange of accurate up to date

 

information is an essential

 

requirement for all those agencies

 

and bodies which are dealing with

 

affected parties in a crisis.  Indeed, in

 

our view, the circulation of conflicting

 

and confusing information contributed

 

directly to the stresses experienced

 

by farmers and front line officials

 

during the FMD crisis in 2001. For

 

this reason, the RSAP Working Group

 

believe that there is a strong case for

 

appointing a named contact within

 

Defra. His / her responsibilities would

 

include, inter alia, communicating

 

directly and frequently with an RSAP

 

WG representative and exchanging

 

accurate and up to date information

 

which can then be cascaded through

 

the relevant tiers of both parties.

 

In addition to communicating accurate

Willing to consider the practicalities of this suggestion further.

information of a general kind, the rural

 

support sector sees great merit in

 

also having access to information

 

 

about individual cases/families affected by the crisis. This would enable the sector to develop a more proactive approach to offering support. We acknowledge that data protection requirements need to be accommodated in such circumstances but we would welcome discussions on how an effective system might be put in place.

In order to improve the support that partners represented on the RSAP Working Group could give during a crisis, we would ideally like to invest in a telephone system, which would enable RSIN to make direct referrals to their main partner agencies.  This would enable RSIN to ensure that callers were directed to the most appropriate agency on the spot and enable a more streamlined referral system to be implemented.  We would like to clarify if Defra could help with the provision of such a phone system in an emergency situation

This will be considered on its merits at the time.

 

THE CONTINGENCY PLAN Recommendation received     Defra’s Response

It is of concern that the “Outline of

The maintenance and detailed knowledge of the Plan is currently the responsibility of the State

Command Structures” does not set

Veterinary Service and we have plans in place to ensure that key personnel will receive regular

out who is responsible for the detailed knowledge of the Plan and for monitoring it and the groups and panels referred to in it.

training by means of exercises etc in order to maintain a state of readiness.  The Plan is subject to annual Parliamentary review in that it is a requirement of the Animal Health Act 1981 (as amended by the Animal Health Act 2002) that Plans be reviewed, consulted upon and laid before Parliament at least annually. The purpose, aims and membership of the groups set out in the Plan are explained in the Strategic, Tactical and Operational sections of the Plan.

Success criteria for the plans should be specified

The essential criteria of success is to stop the spread of the disease and bring it under control.  It is not possible to determine measurable criteria given that the Plan is dealing with variable circumstances.

There should be a clearly defined procedure for the approval of major changes to the plan in “the heat of battle”

The Plan sets out the framework to meet foreseen possibilities. Any changes required to meet particular circumstances would be approved at the Strategic level.

Concern at the use of military terms in the Plan.

These terms were introduced to us by the Armed Forces during 2001 and found to be invaluable in describing the processes involved in a fast moving operation.  We see no reason to give them up.

Concern that the Plan seems to be based on some of the procedures followed during 2001.

Our only experience of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in recent times was the 2001 outbreak and in order to prepare a Plan we have had to start by looking at the way it was handled, including its faults. From those experiences we have generated a Plan which we believe will provide a successful framework to combat any future outbreak.