Enhanced bird flu restrictions in place from Monday

The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to bring in new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds.

The new housing measures, which will come into force at 00:01 on Monday 29 November 2021, mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

These additional measures support the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) which was declared across Great Britain and which came into force on the 3 November 2021.

The AIPZ means all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. This includes:

  • keeping free-ranging birds in fenced areas to minimise contact with wild birds, neighbouring poultry or captive birds
  • inspecting outdoor areas, removing wild bird contaminants like faeces, feathers and wild bird carcases
  • fencing off or put netting over areas of standing water or ponds
  • storing bedding under cover to reduce the risk of contamination
  • cleaning and disinfecting footwear before and after tending to birds
  • cleaning and disinfecting equipment, hard surfaces and vehicles to avoid disease spread between premises
  • minimising the movement of people, vehicles and equipment to and from bird areas and keep records of movements
  • keeping records of poultry, captive bird and egg movements
  • ensuring pest control is effective

The full list of advice relating to the AIPZ and new additional measures coming into force from Monday can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Official advice states that the risk to human health from the virus is very low. Food Standards Agency advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.

For more information, visit GOV.UK. If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 335577). If you suspect avian influenza, you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.