An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The AIPZ means all bird keepers. whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock, are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.
In addition to the biosecurity measures currently required by the AIPZ, new housing measures will come into force across England on 14 December 2020, which mean it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to keep their birds indoors, except in very specific circumstances.
Full requirements are available on the Defra website.
Local Authorities have the responsibility to ensure compliance AIPZ. Failure to comply with the AIPZ Declaration may be an offence under section 73 of the Animal Health Act 1981 and subject to an unlimited fine on summary conviction and up to 3 months’ imprisonment per offence.
Defra said the decision to implement the AIPZ on the 11 December 2020 and the additional housing measures from the 14 December 2020 was made in light of evidence from the continent and ongoing high numbers of avian influenza findings in wild bird in England and follows risk assessments containing the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice.
The risk of incursion of avian influenza has been increased to very high for wild birds and medium for poultry with high biosecurity and high for poultry with poor biosecurity.
The following 8 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry or other captive birds have now been confirmed at premises in England:
- near Frodsham, Cheshire (broiler breeder chickens)
- near Leominster, in Herefordshire (broiler breeder chickens)
- near Stroud in Gloucestershire (captive birds at a wetland centre, non-poultry premises)
- near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire (poultry and captive birds)
- near Northallerton, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (rearing turkeys)
- second premises near Northallerton, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (rearing turkeys)
- near Attleborough, Breckland, Norfolk (rearing turkeys)
- near King’s Lynn, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk (rearing turkeys)
In addition, one case of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H5N2 has been confirmed at a premises in England:
- near Deal, Kent