Restrictions put in place following the avian influenza outbreak over the winter have now been lifted across the country – a welcome relief to Lincolnshire, which was the worst affected area in the UK for bird flu cases.
Lincolnshire suffered the most cases of any area in the United Kingdom over the winter, after 15 separate outbreaks across the county.
A Trading Standards boss said ‘poor virus control‘ was to blame for the outbreak, which resulted in 1.2 million birds being culled since December 2021.
Farmers are expected to be compensated for millions of pounds if they have had to have animals culled as a result of bird flu, and it is estimated the epidemic cost Trading Standards Services £10,000 and 210 officer days.
However, all restrictions both locally and nationally have now been lifted as cases dropped dramatically. Local 3km protection zones and 10km surveillance zones have been revoked and birds are no longer required to be housed.
Despite this, keepers are encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of disease and to maintain good biosecurity measures when dealing with their birds. All poultry gatherings will still be banned despite the measure changes.
Poultry keepers are required to meet the following standards:
- Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
- Reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
- Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
- Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
- Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds