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Exercise Silver Birch

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Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is one of the most infectious disease affecting animals and can spread rapidly if uncontrolled.
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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
  • 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.

The Exercise Silver Birch: Final Evaluation Report (external link) identifying the lessons to be learned from across all of GB has been published.