AN Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across Great Britain.

From midday on 17 October, it became a legal requirement for all bird keepers in GB to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect flocks from the risk of bird flu.

See also: Poultry housing order declared in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex 

Biosecurity is considered the most effective way to reduce the risk of disease spreading.

There have been 190 cases of AI confirmed across the United Kingdom since late October 2021, – and more than 30 since the start of this month.

The east of England has been particularly hard hit so far this autumn, as well as the South West of England, with cases popping up across the British Isles.

Keepers with more than 500 birds must:

  • Restrict access for non-essential people on their sites
  • Workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures
  • Site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

In a joint statement the chief veterinary officers for England, Scotland and Wales said: “Bird keepers have faced the largest ever outbreak of avian flu this year and with winter brings an even more increased risk to flocks as migratory birds return to the United Kingdom.

“Scrupulous biosecurity and hygiene measures is the best form of defence, which is why we have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain, meaning that all bird keepers must take action to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds.

“The introduction of an AIPZ means regardless of whether you keep a few birds or thousands, you are legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”