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Avian Influenza: Prevention Zone Declared Across Great Britain

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

An Avian influenza Prevention Zone has been declared across Great Britain making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency have today announced an Avian influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain following an increase in the number of detections of avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds and on commercial premises.

The Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.

This means that from midday on Monday 17 October, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of avian flu.

Implementing the highest levels of biosecurity measures on farm is the most effective way in reducing the risk of disease spreading and is the best way to protect flocks. The introduction of the AIPZ comes after the United Kingdom has faced its largest ever outbreak of avian flu with 190 cases confirmed across the United Kingdom since late October 2021, with over 30 of these confirmed since the beginning of the month.

Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

The AIPZ means bird keepers across Great Britain must:

  • Keep free ranging birds within fenced areas, and that ponds, watercourses and permanent standing water must be fenced off (except in specific circumstances e.g. zoo birds).

  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;

  • Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;

  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas

  • Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry.

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;

  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;

  • Keepers should familiarise themselves with the avian flu advice.

  • You should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301

The avian influenza prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to monitor and manage the risks of bird flu.

Dead wild birds may be infected so don’t touch them unless wearing suitable protective clothing. When found on publicly owned land and a decision is taken to remove them, it is the local authorities’ responsibility to safely dispose of the carcases as animal by-products.

Poultry keepers and members of the public should consult our latest guidance to check the latest threshold for reporting dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and not touch or pick them up. Where not required for testing they should be disposed of safely.


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