Derbyshire bird keepers urged to follow strict rules to stop Bird Flu spread

People who keep birds in Derbyshire are being asked to follow strict nationwide rules brought in by the government to stop the spread of Bird Flu.

By Tom Hardwick
Friday, 17th December 2021, 1:34 pm
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 1:35 pm

There are already several bird flu outbreaks across the country, with three affecting parts of Derbyshire. Two of the outbreaks have been near Willington, South Derbyshire, and a third is near Tutbury, Staffordshire, which also affects areas in the south of the county.

A Prevention Zone affecting the whole country was brought in on November 29 with the aim of stopping the spread of the disease.

Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards officers are appealing to all keepers of poultry and other captive birds, from people keeping a few hens to large commercial premises, to follow the strict rules now in place. These include housing or netting all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds, along with strict biosecurity measures.

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Derbyshire has been hit by two outbreaks, with a third in nearby Staffordshire. © Keith Evans (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart, said: “We’ve now had three outbreaks of Bird Flu which are affecting our county and many more nationally, and we want everyone who keeps birds to be aware and do all they can to protect their own birds and protect others’ flocks too.

“The rules affect everyone who keeps poultry or other captive birds, whether it’s a few hens in the back yard or a large commercial premises.

“Our Trading Standards officers have been out in force knocking on doors in the affected areas to make sure people know the law and are following all the rules, and so far only a few letters have been written to remind people of their responsibilities. There is further action we could take if necessary, but I hope people will do the right thing and follow the rules.”

Trading Standards are responsible for enforcing the legal requirements and work closely with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to reduce the risk of the disease spreading. Failure to comply with the rules is an offence.

A small number of households across the county have been written to by Trading Standards after it was believed they were not keeping their poultry or captive birds housed. No further action is being taken at this stage.

In addition to the national Prevention Zone, additional Protection and Surveillance Zones have been declared around the infected premises following the recent outbreaks.

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that Bird Flu poses a very low food safety risk for consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry or eggs.

To report poultry or captive birds that are not housed in accordance with the rules, people should contact Trading Standards via the national consumer helpline at 0808 2231133 or via the online form here. People who find dead birds should not pick them up and should report them immediately to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Full details of the rules can be found here.