More Information

Official Ministry of Agriculture Statement

Foot and mouth disease

29 March 2001

The Countryside is not closed:

The public have responded magnificently to calls to stay away from farms with livestock.

But there are many things for visitors to do in the countryside without risking further spread of the disease.

The rural economy faces real difficulties from people staying away from the countryside. The watchword is - keep away from all livestock and obey no-entry signs.

As the pattern of the spread of the disease becomes clearer the Government hopes to reopen activities like woodland walks where there has been no contact with grazing animals.

A formal risk assessment has now been carried out which shows that there is no veterinary justification for closing all footpaths and preventing all public access to land. A more measured response is recommended which takes account of the real risk. We issued new guidance to local authorities on 28 March.

For further information on activities in the countryside visit the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport websites or contact the national helpline on 0845 071 071 or 08456 087 087 for people with hearing impairment.