LIVESTOCK marts in the Yorkshire Dales will re-open this Thursday, October 4, after foot and mouth travel restrictions are lifted in "low risk zones" - a massive relief for hill farmers who need to get their stock, and particularly sheep, to market before precious upland grazing runs out.
This news couldn't have come sooner
"This is the news that farmers and rural businesses in Yorkshire have been waiting for," said Dorothy Fairburn, Yorkshire's regional director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).
"This news couldn't have come sooner. We are still waiting for a timetable setting out when further restrictions will be lifted but this will ease the strain a number of businesses have been feeling over the past few weeks.
"Yes, this is subject to no further changes to the disease situation and will also be subject to stringent biosecurity measures but for those outside the Foot and Mouth High-Risk Area it's a good sign that things are moving in the right direction."
In other parts of England, however, the news was not so rosy. More suspected outbreaks of foot and mouth in the Surrey area are under investigation today and experts fear that the blue-tongue animal disease caused by biting midges has spread far from the initial outbreak near Ipswich.
Vets and scientists are examining suspected cases throughout East Anglia and as far away as the East Midlands.