The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) currently in force across Northern Ireland will be lifted after midnight on Friday (June 2).

The ban on poultry gatherings will also be lifted, Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs confirmed today (Wednesday, May 31).

The measures were introduced on October 17, 2022, and included a range of compulsory biosecurity measures on poultry flocks.

The aim of the bird flu prevention zone was to “address the risk posed by avian influenza to the poultry sector”, DAERA said.

The department’s chief veterinary officer (CV0), Robert Huey, said the lifting of disease control measures has been made possible by the “determined efforts” of Northern Ireland’s poultry sector.

He applauded the sector for protecting their flocks and minimising the impact of the disease, which has put the department “in a position to lift the AIPZ and reduce all mandatory restrictions placed on bird keepers”.

The CVO said: “I’m sure this will be welcome news for the sector which contributes greatly to our economy and wider society.

“Although all mandatory restrictions have now been lifted, the biosecurity requirements set out for the AIPZ should still be considered good practice.

“We are urging all bird keepers, whether they have a few birds or thousands, to adhere to the guidance as much as is practically possible.”

Huey also encouraged all poultry and captive bird keepers to “remain vigilant” for any sign of disease in their birds and to seek immediate veterinary advice if they have any concerns.

The bird flu housing measures introduced in November of last year in Northern Ireland were lifted on April 18.

The lifting of the housing measures meant that poultry and other captive birds would no longer need to be housed, and would be allowed to be kept outside again.