Footpaths across Essex will start to reopen from tomorrow (Friday).

Some of those in the Tendring, Chelmsford, and Uttlesford areas will be among the first to reopen, but footpaths with livestock on or nearby will remain closed.

Farmers in non-affected parts of the county are being contacted and a special hotline has been set up for those who may wish some of the footpaths and rights of way across their land to remain closed.

For more updates on the Essex foot-and-mouth crisis see 'South Essex: Rate relief snub' and 'Essex: Only three trust sites able to open' in the drop-down menu at the bottom of this article

See our special section on foot-and-mouth disease and how it affects Essex on our sister site, Business In Essex Footpaths which are to remain closed will have the existing signs removed, replaced by a red closure notice.

An open footpath with have closure signs replaced by a Walkers' Code from the Countryside Agency.

It is hoped footpaths across the rest of Essex can be opened in the same way as each area is lifted from infected area status.

At present those in Braintree, Maldon and Colchester are all unlikely to be opened for some time as they are still classed as infected areas. There have been outbreaks in Wethersfield, North Fambridge, Canewdon and Layer de la Haye.

David Westcott, cabinet member for environment management and trading standards at Essex Count Council, said: "We want to open the public rights of way as soon as it is safe to do so.

"There are 9,000 paths totalling more than 3,750 miles in the county, and staff have been given the priority of contacting livestock farmers.

"We are asking the public to be patient and not to phone up with specific inquiries about paths in their areas."

Farmers are asked to contact the county council by tomorrow by fax on 01245 258221 or e-mail on

A form listing the data requested can also be found on the county council's web site,

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