BASC is advising members that ‘Prevention Zone’ measures currently in place to reduce the risk of Avian Influenza will be lifted as planned across most of England from 15 May 2017.
However, they will remain in place in targeted areas of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside following evidence of heightened risk in these areas.
To minimise the risk of disease spreading in these areas, a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will be introduced to cover Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley. This replaces the England-wide AIPZ.
Poultry gatherings in the localised AIPZ area will continue to be banned, and keepers from the area will not be able to take their poultry to gatherings elsewhere.
The risk in these parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside is considered higher due to significant wild waterfowl populations and previous outbreaks of H5N8.
Recent cases in backyard flocks provide evidence that infection is still either circulating in wild resident birds or is present in the environment.
In Wales, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone expired on the 30 April 2017. The temporary suspension on gatherings of some species of birds in Wales will remain in place, but will be removed from 15 May, provided no further outbreaks or findings occur. Further details are available here.
In Scotland, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone expired on 30 April. However the temporary suspension of gatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds remains in place across Scotland until 15 May when a new general licence will come into force. Further information is available here.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs last month announced an extension to the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone until May 31. Further information is available here.
Defra has previously come together with countryside and shooting organisations to issue important information about bird ‘flu to everyone involved with gamebirds.