December 10, 2021 2.10 pm This story is over 30 months old

“Move birds inside” Lincolnshire farmers told amid rising avian flu outbreaks

Warnings over “highly contagious” strain

Poultry farmers are being urged to move their chickens indoors as Defra investigates potential cases of a new strain of avian flu in the county.

No cases of the H5N1 avian influenza have been confirmed in Lincolnshire so far but there have been several outbreaks across the country.

Lincolnshire County Council Alford ward Councillor Colin Matthews raised concerns during a meeting of the Full Council on Friday, saying he was worried about the impact on his district particularly as with each outbreak there were three kilometre exclusion and 10 kilometre surveillance zones implemented.

Economy portfolio holder Councillor Colin Davie said he was “extremely concerned” about the rise in cases adding it was “only a matter of time” before a local outbreak.

He confirmed Defra were investigating potential outbreaks in the county as he spoke.

“This is a fast moving situation, Defra are extremely concerned about it. It is very early in the season to have so many outbreaks in the UK and they are expecting this to be a big problem going forward.

“Anyone who keeps poultry outdoors should now think about containment or to avoid any contact with wild birds, particularly migrating birds.”

He said if there were any outbreaks, the council’s public health and economic teams provide support to local farmers.

He said 14% of eggs and 17% of chicken and poultry meat was from the county, with around 7,000 people employed in the economy here.

“This highly contagious strain would be extremely damaging to not just the farmers and business involved but to the Lincolnshire economy in general,” he said.