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Exercise Silver Birch

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In this section you can find out more information on Foot and Mouth Disease.
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Exercise Silver Birch was a GB exercise designed to test Government’s response to a medium to large outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The EU FMD Directive 2003/85/EC requires Member States to exercise their FMD contingency plans either:

  • twice within a five year period; or
  • during “the five year period after the outbreak of a major epizootic disease has been effectively controlled and eradicated.”

It is also important to ensure that we have learned lessons identified in the Anderson Reports.

Exercise Silver Birch took place in November 2010. The primary purpose of the exercise was to test the contingency plans in Wales, England and Scotland and the policies for the control of an outbreak of FMD.

The Welsh Government’s (WG) response to the outbreak in the scenario was led from the Emergency Co-ordination Centre (Wales) (ECC(W)) in Cardiff. WG staff were also present at the National Disease Control Centre in London and the Local Disease Control Centre in Carmarthen. Staff from across several WG Departments took part in addition to representatives of operational partners and stakeholder organisations.

An Exercise Report identifying the lessons to be learned from across all of GB has been published and is available on the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency website (external link).

For more information on contingency planning for an exotic animal disease outbreak please visit Exotic disease contingency planning.