Bird flu restrictions relaxed in parts of Nottinghamshire

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Poultry will now be allowed outside under new rules as bird flu restrictions in Nottinghamshire are relaxed.

Restrictions on the way poultry and captive birds can be kept in Nottinghamshire have changed, following updated guidelines from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

England had been declared a ‘prevention zone’ by DEFRA in December last year due to a specific strain of avian influenza affecting parts of Europe, which meant poultry and captive birds had to be kept indoors, including at Willow Tree Farm, a popular petting zoo and farm in Shirebrook.

Following a review and changes implemented this week, some areas of Nottinghamshire have been classified as 'low risk', which means previous restrictions have been relaxed.

However, many other parts of the county remain high risk and no changes have been made in those areas.

It is the responsibility of all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to check the DEFRA interactive map: www.gisdiseasemap.defra.gov.uk/intmaps/avian/map.jsp to find out if they fall within a low or high risk area.

The designation for each area is set by experts from DEFRA. Although there have been no confirmed outbreaks of avian flu in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire, designations are made using a wide range of criteria.

In Nottinghamshire, this now means:

There are no changes for keepers in high risk areas and they must continue to keep their birds indoors.

In low risk areas, poultry (and other captive birds) are permitted to be outside in monitored fenced areas (ie larger field) or fenced and netted housing, still having as much protection in place to make these areas unattractive to wild birds by removing feed sources from the outside areas. Keepers may still keep their birds indoors.

All keepers (regardless of volume or risk area) must comply with minimum bio-security measures - this includes cleansing and disinfecting of vehicles, equipment and footwear as a minimum requirement.

Keepers of 50+ birds must have strategic food dips placed around the premise, using DEFRA approved disinfectant, footwear to be cleaned/changed on entry/exit.

Movements of vehicles and personnel to be kept to a minimum, a log of vehicles on the premise and personnel coming into direct contact with birds must be kept.

Keepers of 500 birds or more must comply with the above PLUS additional measures including a 'live bird' area with restricted access to this area for essential personnel only, additional bio-security measures including changing of footwear and clothing, the exterior of any vehicle including wheels and wheel arches to be cleansed and disinfected on entry and exit. Fallen stock and waste kept in totally different areas with clear separation as part of the 'bio-secure' barrier.

The changes will be in force until 30 April 2017.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chair of the Community Safety Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is good news that the restrictions have been relaxed in some parts of Nottinghamshire but it is essential that we all remain vigilant and that the rules in both low risk and high risk areas are strictly applied.

“Our animal health officers will continue to be proactive in ensuring the new restrictions are being complied with and we remain grateful for the co-operation of keepers throughout Nottinghamshire.”