Defra lockdowns three districts to battle bird flu

Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has placed Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire into a localised prevention zone as of 8pm last night as it looks to respond to a number of detections of bird flu (avian influenza).

The move by the chief veterinary officer has not been taken lightly and means that all bird keepers in the area are to keep their birds indoors and “follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease”.

The lockdowns come as a number of wild birds across the UK have been found to have the disease.

As a result of these restructions businesses with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people with workers required to change clothes and footwear before entering enclosures and all vehicles needing to be cleaned and disinfected.

In a joint statement the chief veterinary officers for England, Scotland and Wales said: “Following a number of detections of avian influenza in wild birds across Great Britain we have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across the whole of Great Britain.

“All bird keepers must take action now to prevent the disease spreading to poultry and other domestic birds. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher biosecurity standards on your farm or small holding.

The introduction of the prevention zones comes after the disease was detected in captive birds at a number of premises across Yorkshire including a commercial poultry premises near Thirsk, Hambleton and Leeming Bar.