FEARS OVER the spread of Avian Influenza to Europe and Great Britain has led to growing pressure on the government to explain what it would do in reply to an outbreak in this country.

Owen Paterson, Conservative spokesman on agriculture, fisheries and food, has written to Ben Bradshaw, junior DEFRA minister, seeking reassurances that the government is taking the threat posed seriously.

His letter asks 22 questions covering four fundamental areas: risk to the UK; government response plans in confirmation of the disease in the UK; implications for the country’s free range chickens and any threat to human health. 

The letter comes following a suspected case of Bird Flu in Finland on August 26.  The suspected bird, a gull, was found near Oulu, 370 miles north of the capital Helsinki.

Bird experts have now agreed to monitor the migration of birds from Siberia as they seek warmer climes of western Europe.