THE Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which makes stringent biosecurity a legal requirement, has been lifted in England, Scotland and Wales.
The UK’s chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Now we are in the summer months, and the risk to poultry across Great Britain has reduced, it is the right time to lift the AIPZ.”
It had been in place in Great Britain since 17 October 2022 as the UK’s poultry sector battled with the worst autumn for avian influenza on record.
England soon moved to declare a housing order from 7 November as case numbers shot up as winter progressed.
While Defra said the risk was now lower, it has not gone away. At the beginning of July, a flock of hens in Cumbria tested positive for avian influenza.
The AIPZ was officially revoked on 4 July at 12pm.
While the legal requirement for biosecurity measures has now eased, it remains a critical step in protecting flocks.
All poultry gatherings, including at fairs, shows and markets, remain banned, Defra added, due to multiple flocks mixing and the risk posed by any infections spreading across the country.
On lifting the AIPZ, Dr Middlemiss said: “This would not have been possible without the hard work of all bird keepers, who have upheld high biosecurity standards for many months.
“However, there are still localised areas of risk, as we have seen recently, and therefore it’s vital that everyone keeps biosecurity and cleanliness at the forefront of their minds to keep their flocks safe.”