Defra publishes report on exercise Hornbeam

by 5m Editor
16 December 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Defra has published its report into a series of exercises that tested the Government's contingency plans for dealing with an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The Exercise Hornbeam programme involved government departments and agencies, the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities and police forces. It provided the opportunity for Defra and its operational partners to clarify their roles and responsibilities.

In the final exercise last June, a Defra Minister and senior officials from both the Department and across Government, played days seven and eight of an outbreak scenario. This real-time exercise came at the end of 10 "tabletop" exercises exploring the strategic, tactical and operational response to suspicion and confirmation of foot and mouth disease and its spread.

The report sets out the issues that were identified for future action at each stage of the exercise and how these will be taken forward. It is intended that developments in Defra's emergency readiness and contingency planning that result from the exercise will be included in the next version of the Foot and Mouth Contingency Plan that will be laid before Parliament in the Summer of 2005.

Since 2001 the Government has made significant progress in its preparedness for exotic animal disease outbreaks. Exercise Hornbeam demonstrated that, by using the Contingency Plan and instructions, Government would be able to mount a more rapid, efficient and effectively coordinated response to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said:

"This report demonstrates Defra's continued commitment to learn lessons and be better prepared for a future outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease."

Source: Defra - 16th December 2004

5m Editor