Bovine TB testing intervals, 2019

Guidance for cattle keepers on the bovine TB surveillance testing intervals for areas in England, Wales and Scotland for 2019.

All keepers of cattle, buffalo or bison are required by law to have their animals tested for bovine TB as part of prescribed regimes which must reflect the regional risks of bovine TB.

There are obligations under the relevant TB Orders to carry out TB tests within the time frame stipulated by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Failure to complete TB testing by prescribed deadlines will result in movement restrictions being applied. If tests become overdue, APHA must notify the paying agencies of these breaches.

Overdue tests may be considered an intentional breach, which carries a significant reduction of any CAP Scheme payments governed by cross compliance.

Overdue testing may also result in the reduction of reactor compensation payments.

There are different TB testing intervals in England, Scotland and Wales.

To find out the 2019 testing interval for your area, use the TB testing interval search tool or see the lists of counties and parishes for England, Scotland and Wales.

A GB map of the TB testing intervals for 2019 (PDF, 758KB, 1 page) is also available.


TB testing intervals are based on the regional level of disease risk.

The default TB testing interval for herds in the Low Risk Area is 48 months and for herds in the High Risk Area and parts of the Edge Area is 12 months. Certain counties (or parts of counties) in the Edge Area are on a six-monthly testing frequency.

High Risk Area Edge Area Edge Area Low Risk Area
Annual testing Six-monthly testing Annual testing Four-yearly testing
Avon Berkshire (Part) Berkshire (Part) Bedfordshire
Cornwall Cheshire Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire
Devon Derbyshire (Part) Derbyshire (Part) Cambridgeshire
Dorset Hampshire (Part) East Sussex Cleveland
Gloucestershire Oxfordshire Hampshire (Part) Co. Durham
Hereford & Worcester Warwickshire Leicestershire Cumbria
Shropshire   Northamptonshire Essex
Somerset   Nottinghamshire Greater London
Staffordshire     Greater Manchester
West Midlands     Hertfordshire
Wiltshire     Humberside
      Isle of Wight
      Isles of Scilly
      North Yorkshire
      South Yorkshire
      Tyne & Wear
      West Sussex
      West Yorkshire

From May 2019 cattle herds in the 6 monthly testing parts of the Edge Area will be eligible for annual surveillance testing if they meet specific criteria (full details available on the TB hub). This change recognises and rewards those cattle keepers with a reduced risk of suffering a TB breakdown and/or are proactively trying to increase their resilience to bovine TB, by participating in a CHeCS accredited bovine TB health scheme. It will also help to incentivise other keepers to reduce the bovine TB threat to their herds.

Herds in the Low Risk Area and annual testing parts of the Edge Area that happen to be located within a 3km radius of a new lesion and/or culture positive TB breakdown herd will continue to be subjected to a more intensive TB testing regime (commonly known as ‘radial testing’).

APHA only writes to individual keepers if there are changes to their area or herd testing interval, explaining the reason for the change.

All keepers of cattle herds on an annual or six-monthly testing interval must also comply with statutory pre-movement testing requirements, unless an exemption applies to the animal being moved or the type of movement. This includes herds in the Low Risk Area that are tested more frequently than the default 48 month interval, for example, herds undergoing radial testing.

Cattle keepers in the Low Risk Area of England who bring in cattle from the rest of England and Wales must arrange and pay for post-movement tests of those animals.

See the detailed guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.

See the England TB testing intervals list (PDF, 678KB, 289 pages)

Further information:


Following the results of the TB Health Check Wales in 2008, the annual herd TB testing regime was introduced to maintain a high level of disease surveillance.

Annual herd testing has remained across Wales since January 2010 regardless of the regional disease situation. Herds in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) are tested twice yearly as part of the additional cattle controls in place in this area.

Refreshed Wales TB Eradication Programme: launched 1 October 2017.

Following a 12 week consultation with industry in 2016, the Welsh Government’s strengthened TB Programme commits to a regionalised approach to eradicating TB in Wales.

Low, Intermediate and High TB Areas were established on 1 October 2017 based on disease incidence.

Enhanced measures are applied in each TB Area. Measures are tailored to protect the Low TB Area from disease and reduce the level of disease in the Intermediate and High TB Areas.

See the Welsh Government’s website for a map of the new TB Areas and further guidance on the refreshed approach as set out in the Wales TB Eradication Programme Delivery Plan.

Whole herd annual TB testing will continue across the whole of Wales except in the (IAA where 6 monthly testing will continue.

See the Wales TB testing intervals list (PDF, 87.9KB, 31 pages) .

All cattle keepers must comply with statutory pre-movement testing requirements unless an exemption applies.

Cattle keepers in the Low TB Area of Wales which move cattle from herds located in the Intermediate and High TB Areas of Wales, the High Risk or Edge Areas of England or from Northern Ireland, must also comply with post-movement testing requirements, Exemptions apply.

See the guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.


Scotland has been designated officially TB free (OTF) since September 2009. As a result, changes were introduced to exempt low risk herds from the default routine testing regime of 48 months that applies to all other non-exempt herds.

Low risk herds must fully comply with one of the following:

  • herds with fewer than 50 cattle which have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
  • herds that slaughter more than 25% of their stock annually and have had fewer than 2 consignments of cattle moved on from high incidence TB areas (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) in the previous 4 years
  • herds that slaughter more than 40% of their stock annually

Slaughtered animals are animals that have been on the holding for at least 60 days and that move either direct from the farm to slaughterhouse, or directly from the farm to market and then directly to the slaughterhouse. It does not include animals moving onto another holding temporarily between market and slaughterhouse.

The slaughter rate is calculated on the total number of cattle slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in the previous calendar year divided by the herd size (total stock on farm on 1 January).

APHA annually assesses each individual herd’s eligibility for exemption from TB testing, and will write to all cattle keepers in Scotland to confirm whether or not their herd is exempt.

From 12th December 2018, animals which require to be Post Movement tested following their arrival in Scotland will need to be held on the original premises of destination until this testing is carried out. The test must be completed within 60-120 days of arrival on farm and with negative results before that animal is permitted to move again.

This restriction will also apply to cattle imported from Northern Ireland and the conditions of the general import licence have been amended to support this change. Exceptions to this are permitted for animals that move directly to slaughter within 120 days of arrival or are moved for veterinary treatment or under the authority of a licence issued by a veterinary inspector.

See the guidance on pre-movement and post-movement testing.

See the Scotland TB testing intervals list (PDF, 60.5KB, 22 pages)

See the Scottish Government website for further information about bovine TB control and surveillance in Scotland.

Published 18 December 2018