Norfolk avian flu protection and surveillance zones lifted after culling

Chickens at a Norfolk farm

Avian influenza was confirmed among pet poultry in Norfolk. - Credit: Denise Bradley

All the pet birds at a Norfolk property where avian flu was confirmed last month have been culled.

And that means a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone around the residential property on the Holkham estate near Wells have been lifted.

The map shows the 3km and 10km temporary control zones in place around the farm near Wells.

The protection and surveillance zones put in place after confirmed avian flu cases in Norfolk have been lifted. - Credit: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The case was found in a domestic home which only kept a small backyard flock of pet birds, including turkeys and chickens.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had introduced the zones because the birds had a highly-pathogenic H5N1 strain of the virus.

But on Christmas Eve, DEFRA declared that, following the humane culling of the birds, the protection zone had ended and the surveillance zone was revoked.

While DEFRA said that meant local movement restrictions had been removed, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone measures brought in last month remain in place.

That zone, which covers the whole of the country, means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers, whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock, to keep their birds indoors.

Other measures include a requirement to clean and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds, to reduce movement of people, vehicles and equipment to and from areas where birds are kept.

DEFRA said that would help limit the spread of the influenza and to eradicate the disease, which is carried by migrating birds.

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The Norfolk avian influenza case was one of 55 cases of avian influenza H5N1 which have been confirmed in England.

The disease is a major threat to the East of England's poultry industry, which produces more than 40pc of the nation's turkeys and employs about 14,000 people to grow and process poultry meat, with a value estimated at £557m in 2018.

Outbreaks of avian flu in East Anglia last winter prompted culls of thousands of turkeys and ducks.

UK food and health agencies advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers. 

Dead wild birds should be reported to Defra’s helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and poultry keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

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