In response to the outbreak, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs set up a national disease control centre at which councils were represented by the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS). DEFRA’s animal health department worked with councils, the police and other organisations.
Under the arrangements, DEFRA focused on the testing of livestock, while trading standards teams checked surveillance zones were observed.
“It was a good arrangement,” says Peter Denard, head of trading standards at Surrey CC .
“We were in daily contact with LACORS, disseminating national information down to farmers. And at a local level we had a team of people who were sorting things out.”
He adds: “There were good levels of co-operation and working together. There was no demarcation or anything between us, we just got on with it.”
Difficulties between Surrey and DEFRA were quickly sorted out, explains Mr Denard.
“The legislation said dogs should be under control, which was unenforceable. So I got it changed locally to ‘dogs should be on a lead’, which was a more practical solution. And as a result it was changed on the DEFRA website.”
The council also worked with DEFRA on releasing information to the media. DEFRA sometimes released information before Mr Denard and his colleagues were aware of it.
“There were some initial difficulties,” he admits. “But we got our heads together so we saw drafts of announcements before they were given to the press.”
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