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National Contingency Plan (Exotic Animal Diseases)

Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

I have today laid before Parliament the “National Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases” in accordance with section 14a of the Animal Health Act 2002 which came into force on 24 March 2003.

This plan sets out the operational arrangements DEFRA will put in place to deal with any occurrence of foot and mouth disease, avian influenza or Newcastle disease. It is composed of two elements: DEFRA’s framework response plan for exotic animal diseases, outlining systems, structures, roles and responsibilities during an outbreak of disease, and DEFRA’s overview of emergency preparedness which provides details of our preparedness and operational response.

It replaces DEFRA’s exotic animal disease generic contingency plan which was laid before Parliament on 15 December 2005.

DEFRA’s contingency plan is very much a ‘living document’. It will be subject to ongoing revision taking on the latest developments in science, research, and epidemiological modelling.

To meet the provisions of the Animal Health Act, the plan will also be subject to formal annual review.