Avian Influenza Prevention Zone set to be lifted on May 15

The chief veterinary officers from England, Scotland and Wales are advising poultry keepers to remain vigilant as the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone is due to be lifted from midday tomorrow (Saturday, May 15).

These additional biosecurity measures, which were introduced across Great Britain in November, aimed to protect flocks across the country from the disease which is circulating in wild birds.

Defra, the Scottish government and the Welsh government have been working closely with industry and bird keepers to ensure that there are strict biosecurity measures in and around poultry premises to help keep flocks safe.

The risk of bird flu in poultry with good biosecurity has now been reduced to ‘low’ for all poultry.

As a result, the mandatory enhanced biosecurity requirements that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on November 11, and the additional biosecurity measures introduced on March 31 will be lifted from midday on Saturday, May 15.

In a joint statement, Great Britain’s three chief veterinary officers said:

“This will be welcome news for bird keepers across the country who have put great effort into keeping their flocks safe this winter.

We have taken swift action to contain and eliminate this disease, and we urge all bird keepers – whether they have just a few birds or thousands – to continue to do their bit to maintain strict biosecurity measures on their premises, so that we do not lose the progress that we have made over the past few months.

“Low risk does not mean no risk.”

All poultry and bird gatherings, including pigeon gatherings organised for races from mainland Europe, will also be permitted.

This is provided organisers notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency at least seven days before the event takes place and that they comply with the provisions of the new general licence.