The Avian Influenza Prevention zone and ban on poultry gatherings has been lifted in England, with localised measures in Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside following evidence of heightened risk in these areas.

A new, targeted Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been introduced in districts of Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley to minimise the risk of disease spreading in this area.

The new localised AIPZ will require keepers to continue to observe existing mandatory disease prevention measures such as minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.

BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “This has been a testing time for the poultry meat industry and we are pleased that the risk of avian influenza has now reduced. The health of our birds remains the priority for our members up and down the country. I would like to urge all commercial and non-commercial producers to maintain effective biosecurity throughout the year to avoid any incursion of potential infection and minimise impact on international trade.”

The additional biosecurity rule on poultry ended in England on 15 May and in Scotland and Wales on 1 May, the restrictions will continue in Northern Ireland until 31 May.

The BPC will continue working closely with Defra to assess ways to improve contingency plans based on lessons learnt and minimise impact on trade.

Since 16 December 2016, 12 cases of H5N8 have been confirmed in Britain in backyard flocks, breeding game birds, commercial turkeys and broiler breeders. The strain of bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

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