The National Farmers' Union (NFU) poultry board chair James Mottershead said that after the largest avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak the UK has ever seen this year that "it’s good to see the government taking a positive step to help the industry tackle the disease in the future".

Avian influenza has been devastating for so many poultry farmers across the country, causing great distress emotionally, mentally and financially for farming families.

"We want to work with the government to minimise the impacts of any future outbreaks so we do not experience another year like this one.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know about avian influenza. Hopefully this research can help us understand more about the disease and how we can prevent it, and ultimately put bird keepers in a better position to protect their flocks.”

The eight-strong consortium, headed by the research team at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), has received £1.5 million from the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It has been tasked with developing new strategies to tackle future bird flu outbreaks.

This year’s bird flu outbreak has been the largest and longest ever experienced in the UK and in many parts of Europe.

The outbreak started earlier than previous years after the virus continued to circulate in Europe over summer 2021 and led to over 100 cases in the UK.

It is hoped the consortium of scientists will be able to find new ways to contain future outbreaks.