From January any farm with an overdue bovine TB test will face a reduction of the Common Agricultural Policy payments they receive from the Rural Payments Agency. The size of the penalty will depend on the severity of each case with most penalties up to 5% of their payments.
In 2012 there were 6650 overdue TB tests in England out of a total 21,398.
In a written statement to parliament today, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:
Late testing is unacceptable, so from 1 January 2014 anyone who fails to complete their test by the set deadline, even by one day, will see their CAP Scheme payment reduced. The reductions will vary, depending on the seriousness of the case, but the outcome I want to see is no late testing at all.
We are also consulting on further measures to strengthen the cattle controls in place to reduce the risk of bovine TB. The seven week consultation opens today.
The proposals included in this consultation support the Draft Strategy to achieve official TB free status for England in 25 years and add to the improvements to cattle controls introduced over the last two years.
The consultation proposes:
- Cattle from higher TB risk herds moving to and from common land will be required to be pre-movement tested;
- Phasing out the practice of de-restricting parts of TB-restricted premises so that the entire farm is given the same TB risk status;
- Sharing the location details of TB breakdowns so farmers can better manage the disease risks to their herds; and
- That in exceptional circumstances where TB testing an animal is not safe, the animal will be culled without a TB test.
A TB Information note contains more detail on the strengthened testing compliance measures.