Avian influenza: movement licensing guidance

Published 16 December 2021

Poultry Avian influenza
Avian Influenza biosecurity measures – foot dip

If your premises is within a disease control zone, find out further information on licensing as well as guidance for seasonal poultry keepers.

If your premises are in a Protection or Surveillance Zone a movement licence will be required for certain activities. Movement licences can be obtained from the APHA by completing the EXD100 licence request form and emailing it to [email protected]. The APHA can also be contacted by telephone on 03000 200 301 and choosing option 2.

General licences allow a movement or activity that would otherwise be prohibited in England and Wales. You need to check that you meet and comply with the conditions of the general licence. If you do so, you do not need to apply - you can rely on the general licence as providing authority for the movement or activity.

General licences have been issued for the following activities (please note these are not valid for movements in or out of a Temporary Control Zone; individual movement licences will be required):

Information on all of the general licences available can be found at the Gov.uk website: Avian influenza: Bird flu cases and disease control zones in England - licences.

Unless covered by a general licence, poultry keepers will need to apply to the APHA for individual movement licences. Please ensure you give the APHA as much notice as possible as it can take time to issue licences. The APHA is likely to receive high volumes of licence requests so contingency plans should be arranged in case there is any delay in licensing.

The following movements of poultry or poultry products will need to be licensed by a veterinary inspector:

  • Poultry from premises in the zone for immediate slaughter at a designated slaughterhouse
  • Poultry meat
  • Poultry to a designated slaughterhouse in the zone from premises outside the zone
  • Day-old chicks hatched from eggs produced in the zone or from eggs which came into contact with such eggs
  • Day-old chicks hatched from eggs originating outside the protection zone
  • Ready-to-lay poultry to premises or part of premises where no poultry are kept
  • Hatching eggs from the zone to a designated hatchery or premises
  • Hatching eggs from outside the zone to a designated hatchery or premises within the zone (the hatchery must be operated in such a way that eggs from outside the zone do not come into contact with eggs or day-old chicks from within the zone)
  • Eggs to a designated egg packing centre (they must be packed in disposable packaging)
  • Eggs to an egg processing plant
  • Eggs for disposal
  • Carcasses for disposal or diagnosis

Members should check with their processor or egg packer whether they are designated to receive live birds, meat, or eggs from farms within a Protection or Surveillance Zone, and have their designation details to hand when applying for movement licences.

Unless your holding is under individual site-specific restrictions, feed can be brought onto the premises without a licence as long as the requirements for cleansing and disinfection within your Zone are met.

If you have any licensing queries, or aren’t sure whether or not you need a licence, contact the APHA with your query by telephone on 03000 200 301 (choose option 2) or by emailing [email protected].

Seasonal poultry

Can I still carry out on-farm slaughter and processing of seasonal poultry if I am inside a disease control zone?

 If your holding is within a 3km Protection Zone (PZ) or a 10km Surveillance Zone (SZ) a licence is required to carry out on-farm slaughter and sell poultry meat direct to consumers or to local retail premises for direct sales to customers only. Only birds produced on the same CPH can be slaughtered on-farm.

On-farm slaughter licences require a pre-slaughter inspection by an OV to confirm the birds are free of any signs of avian influenza (this will need to be carried out at the poultry keeper’s expense). Inspection by an APHA veterinary inspector is required in the PZ – you should liaise with APHA and provide plenty of notice so that this can be scheduled. 

In addition, If your holding is within a 3km Protection Zone (PZ) your on-farm slaughter facility must also be appropriately designated by the APHA.

If your holding is outside of a 3km PZ but within a 10km Surveillance Zone (SZ) an APHA designation for your on-farm slaughter facility is not required.

You can find out if you are in a disease control zone by using the APHA’s interactive map.

Please note that

  • if your holding falls partially within a protection zone and partially within a surveillance zone, your entire holding is considered to be in the protection zone, and
  • if your holding falls partially within a surveillance zone and partially within a disease free area, your holding is considered to be in the surveillance zone.

Licences and on-farm slaughter designations can be obtained by emailing the APHA licensing team inbox - [email protected]. Please apply for licences in advance to allow sufficient time for them to be processed. General licences for certain activities are available on gov.uk.

What restrictions are there on farmgate or direct to retail sales within disease control zones?

A licence is required to move meat produced from animals originating in a 3km Protection Zone (PZ). The licence for on-farm slaughter also covers the sale of that poultry meat as long as it is direct to consumers or to local retail premises for direct sales to customers only.

If your holding is outside of a 3km PZ but within a 10km Surveillance Zone (SZ) then no licence is required to move meat from birds slaughtered on-farm.

What records do I need to keep?

Records must be kept of the name and address of any person visiting a premises within a 3km PZ or 10km SZ, the date of the visit and whether the person had any contact with poultry or captive birds on the premises. Please make sure that any personal data is collected and stored in a way that is GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant.

You should also record the quantities of poultry meat moved from the slaughter facility to the farm shop, local retailer or customer collection area.

What biosecurity measures should I take on collection day?

Anyone who enters or leaves premises within a disease control zone by vehicle must cleanse and disinfect any part of the vehicle which may have been contaminated. If members of the public are coming onto your premises to collect poultry meat then appropriate steps should be taken to avoid any contamination from their vehicles or footwear.

If you are delivering poultry meat from within a disease control zone you must cleanse and disinfect the vehicle and any equipment used to carry or transport the meat as soon as it is unloaded.

It is a legal requirement to abide by the biosecurity measures defined in the disease control zone declaration and the nationwide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. More information on biosecurity is available on Defra’s Avian Influenza webpage.

Please note that this is an evolving situation and these restrictions are subject to change at the discretion of the Secretary of State; it is important to ensure that you check the position on a regular basis to ensure that you are aware of the most up to date information available on Gov.uk.

The information on this page is based on the information available on the Gov.uk website at the time of writing and cannot take account of any subsequent developments. The NFU can take no responsibility for any consequences arising from individual circumstances which cannot be fully accounted for in this article.


In these uncertain and often challenging times it is more important than ever to look after our own and others’ mental health.

If you or anyone you know are experiencing anxiety or stress then help and support is available nationally via the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) websites.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has also published a directory of local farm and rural support groups.

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