Speaking in London today, agriculture minister Nick Brown said: 'Our advice remains that people should take sensible precautions in the countryside, and avoid any unnecessary visits on farms and especially close proximity with livestock.
'Today we have taken powers to ensure that this advice can be enforced where appropriate on individual premises, in local authority areas where disease has been confirmed, and in other local authority areas with the specific approval of MAFF.'
Farmers who provide access for the general public to their farmland under the MAFF 'green schemes' - the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme and the Countryside Access Scheme - will not be expected to provide access during the present situation.
1. These powers which cover England and Wales came into force at 2pm. The Scottish Executive will be taking similar action in respect of Scotland later today.
2. Under the Countryside Stewardship, Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Countryside Access Schemes, farmers and other land managers receive payments to provide access to their land for the general public. At present there are around 1,500 agreements under these Schemes which together provide over 700 miles of permissive footpaths and over 14,000 hectares of open access, principally to farmland.