Exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans - Scottish Regional Resilience Partnerships' framework: August 2022

Information on how and when operational partners should respond to a suspect or confirmed exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

This plan follows agreement between all three Regional Resilience Partnerships' (RRP) to develop a single Scottish animal disease framework plan. It details a consistent command and control structure for responding to suspect and confirmed outbreaks of exotic notifiable animal diseases and provides a framework to facilitate joint training.

This is a multi-agency operational plan aimed at category 1 and category 2 responders, as laid out in the Civil Contingency Act 2004. It does not detail the role of national (Scottish or UK) strategic command and control structures, which are already explained in detail in both the Scottish Government's Exotic Diseases of Animals Contingency Plan and the United Kingdom Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals.

1.2 Definition of an exotic notifiable animal disease

The term notifiable disease means there is a legal obligation to notify the relevant authority, in most cases the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), if a person suspects disease. APHA is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), and also works on behalf of the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, and is responsible for animal and plant health.

These diseases are notifiable because of their potential, in most cases, for very serious and rapid spread. They can have serious socioeconomic or public health consequences and are of major importance to international trade of animals or animal products. Notifiable diseases are named in Section 88 of the Animal Health Act 1981 or an Order made under the Act. A full list of current notifiable diseases is on the Scottish Government web site. The term "exotic" refers to a disease that is not currently present in the UK, e.g. foot and mouth disease. Endemic diseases are those that are already present in the UK, e.g. sheep scab.

A notifiable animal disease outbreak is included in the UK National Risk Register 2020, because it is considered likely to have a significant impact. Regional (RRP) and Local Resilience Partnerships (LRP) undertake a biennial Risk Preparedness Assessment process, which considers the wide range of risks and consequences, including those arising from animal health related incidents. Gaps in procedure are identified and form the basis for mitigation activity, delivered through regional multi-agency work and training programmes. This plan outlines how multiple partners would respond to a notifiable animal disease outbreak. A map of RRP and LRP areas are attached at Appendix A.

The Scottish Government leads on responding to all suspect or confirmed notifiable animal disease outbreaks and APHA is the lead operational partner (note however, the NHS board is lead partner with respect to public health consequences of zoonotic disease). For information on how to respond to non-notifiable or endemic disease contact your regional APHA office.

1.3 Aims and objectives

This document provides specific information on how and when operational partners should respond to a suspect or confirmed exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak. Its principal aims are to:

  • ensure a timely, co-ordinated and consistent multi-agency response to an outbreak.
  • identify roles and responsibilities of appropriate organisations, so these are understood in an outbreak.
  • act as a source of reference for those involved in response to an outbreak.
  • control any exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak and eradicate the disease at the earliest opportunity, with minimal impact on members of the public.

The principal objectives of this document are to:

  • provide contingency information to local authorities, Police Scotland and other appropriate agencies, to enable them to discharge their responsibilities.
  • provide a framework for each organisation to develop its own detailed operational response plan (and in some cases a generic operational plan that can be adapted by local authorities both for consistency/mutual aid, where officers can assist other authorities, and training/exercising).

1.4 Exercising and review of plan

This template document will be subject to appropriate review and exercise and a record kept of such in Appendix C – Amendments and Exercise Record. As this is a national (Scottish) framework document, it presents an opportunity to test it at a national level over and above regional/local exercises. The document in its draft form was tested at a national level during Exercise Cerberus, a national rabies exercise for operational partners in Scotland. It was also circulated to attendees of Exercise Juniper (the Scottish AI exercise in July 2018). In addition, this document has been utilised during the AI outbreaks in 2020-21 and again in 2021-22.

For suggestions and amendments to the template document please email:

Disease Control Branch, Animal Health and Welfare Division (P Spur)
Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Economy
The Scottish Government
Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh, EH11 3XD
Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

1.4.1. Glossary of terms

A glossary of terms used in this document is provided at Appendix D.

1.4.2. Appendices

Disease specific appendices have been provided, which contain information about specific exotic notifiable diseases and details about the response that is required to control them along with relevant legislation. The disease specific appendices will be reviewed annually, jointly by a working group established from membership of the three RRP Groups.


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

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