Guidance for licence holders on the containment and control of specified animal pathogens

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Who this guidance is for

This guidance is aimed at Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) licence holders, users and biosafety professionals, but managers and health and safety representatives may also find it useful. It describes the containment and control measures and related management arrangements which must be applied when working with specified animal pathogens.

Key messages

  • On 1 April 2015, HSE became the licensing authority for issuing SAPO licences, in addition to being responsible for inspection and enforcement.
  • Defra and the Devolved Governments (Scottish Government and Welsh Government) retain the policy lead in relation to SAPO. Please see the SAPO webpages for further information.
  • Anyone who wants to possess a specified animal pathogen requires a licence. The licence conditions are intended to ensure that appropriate, proportionate and effective containment and control measures are applied to prevent the release or escape of specified animal pathogens into the environment where they may cause serious animal disease.
  • This HSE guidance will assist and enable licence holders to comply with the requirements of their SAPO license issued under the new SAPO licensing regime.
  • Any enquiries in relation to SAPO licences should be directed to HSE.

Changes since the last Defra edition

  • The SAPO licence conditions are now included in the guidance.
  • Licence holders must complete a risk assessment for activities involving specified animal pathogens.
  • Licence conditions are goal setting and include management arrangements to ensure the effective application and maintenance of containment and control measures.

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Updated: 2021-03-04