A FARMER from near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has admitted failing to comply with restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of bird flu.

Nigel Jackson, aged 77, of North Park Farm, appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 29 April 2024 charged with failing to comply with the restrictions and failing to appropriately dispose of sheep carcasses.

See also: New research reveals speed of avian influenza transmission

He was fined £200 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice and received a further fine of £400 for failing to appropriately dispose of dead sheep during December 2022. 

Mr Jackson was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £240 and £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

The court was told that disease control measures designed to stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu) were put in place in England from 7 November 2022, making it a legal requirement for keepers of domestic poultry to isolate their birds to prevent them from coming into contact with wild birds and mammals.

House chickens

Officers from Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards team engaged with Mr Jackson on a number of occasions between late November 2022 and early January 2023, encouraging him to house his chickens to prevent the spread of bird flu.

He was eventually served with an enforcement notice on 5 January 2023 following his failure to comply with the requests. 

Officers returned to North Park Farm on 9 and 13 January 2023 and found him to be in breach of the enforcement notice.

Breaches of restrictions

Jason Poole, acting head of trading standards at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We will work with our partners at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to rigorously enforce any breaches of the restrictions to protect Gloucestershire from the effects of not complying. 

“The failure to dispose of animal carcasses also poses a disease risk and action will be taken where breaches of the legislation are found.

“In this case we had to take legal proceedings as the advice we issued to comply with the restrictions in place was not followed.”