Avian flu restrictions relaxed

Restrictions on poultry producers caught up in the H5N1 avian flu outbreak in Suffolk are starting to be relaxed.
From 2.00pm on Thursday (1 March) the specific protection zone (3km) restrictions will be removed and will become part of the wider surveillance zone (10km).
In addition, the requirement to house birds within all of the zones, including the wider restricted zone, will be lifted.
“This is a positive step that has resulted from our work to stamp out the disease,” said deputy chief veterinary officer Fred Landeg.
“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. We must remain vigilant and I must stress again how important it is for poultry keepers to practice good bio-security.”
The ban on bird gatherings and the release of game birds will still apply in the surveillance zone.
Poultry movements will also still require a licence, though the conditions may, in some cases, be less strict  to reflect decreased risk.
The relaxation of controls follows enhanced surveillance by DEFRA of 148 premises of live poultry (including testing ducks and geese). DEFRA has also tested 64 dead wild birds within the zones, and tested faecal samples from around the infected premises.
This has not revealed the presence of any more avian flu.
The next step in the return to normalisation is expected to be the removal of surveillance zone restrictions on 10 March.