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Defra - Bird Flu Prevention Zone Implemented

Published on Friday, 30th September 2022

Image of Chicken

An Avian Influenza (AI) prevention zone has been announced covering Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex.

It was announced on Tuesday (27 September) by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The new zone introduces enhanced bio-security measures that must be followed by keepers of poultry.

The zone covers these parts of Essex:

  • Chelmsford
  • Rochford
  • Tendring
  • Colchester
  • Maldon
  • Braintree
  • Basildon
  • Castle Point

Keepers of all types of poultry within the zone, whether for commercial or domestic purposes, are urged to follow Government measures.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “This news brings home the scale of the avian flu crisis.

“Substantive restrictions are now in place across the whole of Norfolk and Suffolk and parts of Essex, but I appeal to all bird owners, whether in the zone covered or not, to exercise maximum restraint and take all available safeguards.”

Essex has seen four outbreaks of Avian Influenza in the past year, including cases at Tolleshunt Major, near Maldon, and Clacton.

The response to these cases was led by us, city, borough and district councils and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. However, anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111 or speak to their GP. People in direct contact with the affected birds have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment.

Pet owners with other animals do not usually need to take other action. If a person has concerns regarding their pet, they should contact their vets.

The Food Standards Agency has said that Avian Influenza, known as Bird Flu, poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.