The National Farmers Union (NFU) has welcomed the announcement that a new mandatory housing order will be implemented in England from November 7.

The news comes after the NFU held a roundtable meeting with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Biosecurity Minister, Lord Benyon, and Farming Minister, Mark Spence, last week and stressed the need for national housing measures.

NFU poultry board chair James Mottershead said:

“As poultry producers, the health and welfare of our birds is our number one priority, and these housing measures alongside the existing additional biosecurity requirements will help minimise the impact of avian influenza on the poultry sector.

“These measures apply to all poultry keepers, whether you have one hen in the garden or a large poultry business, and I urge everyone to remain vigilant.

“This is a really challenging time for the British poultry sector but producers are doing all they can to protect their birds and to maintain production of poultry meat and eggs, especially as we approach Christmas.

“The NFU will continue to work with the government and the wider supply chain to minimise the impacts of bird flu, both now and in the future.”

The measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures.

It will extend the mandatory housing measures already in force in the areas with high concentrations of the disease – Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Essex – to the whole of England.

The decision to introduce the housing order was made by the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, after the national risk of bird flu in wild birds was increased to ‘very high‘.