Residents inside restriction zone express shock at bird flu outbreak

Security at the entrance to Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye. Picture: Simon Parkin

Security at the entrance to Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

People living in the restriction zone placed around a poultry farm where a strain of bird flu was detected have expressed their shock at the outbreak.

The restriction zone around a Suffolk farm after an outbreak of bird flu was detected with 27,000 po

The restriction zone around a Suffolk farm after an outbreak of bird flu was detected with 27,000 poultry set to be culled. Picture: OS Data - Credit: OS Data

Low pathogenic avian influenza of the H5 strain was confirmed at a commercial chicken unit on December 10.

According to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) documents, a 1km restriction zone is in place around Homefield Farm in Athelington, near Eye.

High visibility security guards could today be seen at the main gate of the farm on Southolt Road with people undergoing checks as they arrived.

All 27,000 birds on the premises will be humanely culled. However Public Health England (PHE) said the risk to public health is "very low".

Pat Smith-Jeffrey whose chickens at Brick Kiln Farm in the 1km zone have been affected by restrictio

Pat Smith-Jeffrey whose chickens at Brick Kiln Farm in the 1km zone have been affected by restrictions following the bird flu outbreak at Athelington, near Eye. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

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The restricted zone means controls are in place to prevent the spread of disease, including on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.

Among those affected is Pat Smith-Jeffrey who has a smallholding at Brick Kiln Farm within the 1km zone, keeping horses, goats as well as poultry.

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She said: "Because I keep chickens I am registered as a poultry keeper so I received a text message from Defra alerting us that there had been an outbreak. I also got had a missed call from them and have had email updates with advice on what to do. It says the risk to public health is very low even this close to the farm.

Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye. Picture: Simon Parkin

Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

"We were also affected by an outbreak a few years ago so I am familiar with what it entails. The advice is to keep the birds indoors.

"We keep about 20 chickens and they are free range so usually outside, however with it being winter they were inside at the moment anyway, mainly as a precaution against fox.

"It's not good news but we have been kept well informed and it is a case of putting the restrictions in place and hopefully they will do the job."

MORE: Everything we know about the Suffolk bird flu outbreakMargaret Debenham, who lives at Walnut Tree, a house overlooking the farm, said: "It has come as a real shock to hear about it. We not have any livestock so it won't affect us in that way and we have not been told about any other risks to our health.

"It's going to hit them hard at the farm and it is a terrible time for it to happen just before Christmas."

Evelyn Adey, who lives on Worthingworth Road, near to the junction with Southolt Road, said: "I heard it on the news and was really surprised that it has happened here.

"Although we are so close it hopefully won't affect us. However I am worried that they might have to burn the chicken carcasses on site which could cause a terrible smell.

"I believe they have plans to expand the chicken farm in future so what it will mean for them I don't know."

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