The first infected area to be declared free from classical swine fever was announced today. Over 90 farmers in the North Essex infected area will now be free to move pigs on and off their premises for the first time since 9 August.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:

'This is a piece of good news for farmers in an area facing an extremely difficult time. However, we still have much more to do to eradicate this disease.'

The decision to lift the infected area was made following full veterinary investigation.

Ninety-two farmers will be affected by the lifting of the North Essex infected area. However the EU ban on exports of live pigs remains in place, as it does with Norfolk and Suffolk, until 15 October 2000.

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