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Avian influenza (bird flu) - new measures required from 28 February 2017

On 9 February 2017, the remaining surveillance zone restrictions around the infected premises in Settle, North Yorkshire, were removed. Prevention zone restrictions continue to apply across Great Britain, with new measures in force from 28 February 2017.

All poultry keepers across England, whether they keep a commercial flock or a few chickens in their back garden, must continue to observe strict biosecurity measures, with housing or netting required in areas defined as higher risk areas. This targeted approach allows most keepers, unless they fall within a higher risk area, to let their birds outside provided they take specific precautions against avian flu. The options open to you from 28 February 2017 will depend on whether you are inside or outside one of the defined higher risk areas.

Find out if you are in a higher risk area

You can find out if you are in a higher risk area using the Defra interactive map, and entering a place name, post code or map reference.

Defra guidance

For detailed Defra guidance on the new prevention zone controls, measures required if you fall within a higher risk area, and what you must do before you start allowing birds outdoors, please see the GOV.UK - Avian influenza (bird flu) page.

The new prevention zone controls apply both to commercial producers and to people with 'backyard flocks' (a small number of poultry or other captive birds). To help you look after your backyard flock and protect them from disease, Defra have published a short advice leaflet, updated to take account of the new rules from 28 February 2017. This practical advice gives information on how to comply with the new requirements, reduce the risk of infection, and practice good biosecurity.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Suspicion of avian influenza

H5N8 is a notifiable avian disease. It remains the case that anyone who suspects their birds of having avian influenza should discuss this as a matter of urgency with a private veterinarian. If suspicion of avian influenza cannot be ruled out then it must be reported to Defra / Animal & Plant Health Agency.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.

This page was last updated on 8 March 2017