Nationwide AI Prevention Zone declared

21 November 2021


On 3 November 2021, the Chief Veterinary Officers of England, Scotland and Wales announced a nationwide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ). In addition to this an enhanced AIPZ with additional requirements in parts of North Yorkshire in England was implemented on 21 November 2021.

Please note that the nationwide housing order that came into force on Monday 29 November is in addition to the AIPZ: bird-keepers should continue to follow the AIPZ requirements while their birds are housed.

Read the latest updates on avian influenza confirmed in the UK here.

Since 00:01 on 8 November 2021, gatherings of poultry, galliforme or anseriforme birds are no longer permitted in England and Wales. Read further information on this below.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone - what does it mean?

The AIPZ requires all bird keepers (including backyard and hobby keepers) in Great Britain to:

  • Take precautions against transfer of virus contamination between sites or premises, including cleansing and disinfection of footwear, vehicles, and equipment.
  • Where there are more than 50 poultry or captive birds, place foot dip containing Defra-approved poultry disinfectant at the correct dilution rate at strategic points including at entry and exit of all houses or outdoor areas where birds are kept. Footwear should be cleaned using the dips on entry and exit or footwear/disposable overshoes changed when moving between bird and non-bird areas.
  • Ensure the areas where birds kept are unattractive to wild birds. For example, by netting ponds and by removing wild bird food sources
  • Ensure there is no direct contact with poultry or captive birds on other neighbouring premises
  • Make sure that ducks and geese are not kept in the same pen or building as other poultry species
  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds. Feed, water and bedding should also be stored undercover and steps taken to prevent access by wild birds
  • Minimise movement of people in and out of bird enclosures
  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
  • Exercise effective rodent control in areas poultry is kept
  • Record all vehicles and people who enter the premises or come into contact with birds (zoos are exempt)
  • Record all poultry, captive birds and egg movements must be kept and made available to a veterinary inspector on demand
  • Ensure bird housing is well maintained, with any water leaks or contamination routes rectified.

Where birds are not housed, poultry or other captive birds must be kept in fenced/enclosed outdoor areas subject to the following conditions:

  • Access to open or permanent standing water must be prevented by fencing off and where possible netting ponds, standing water or waterlogged land.
  • Feed and water are provided under cover where wild birds can’t gain access.
  • Any carcases of wild birds are removed from the outdoor fenced range area.
  • All concrete walkways, paths and similar surfaces where poultry have access should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • The range area must be regularly inspected to ensure it is not contaminated with feathers or faecal material from wild birds. This must also be carried out before placing any new structures or enclosures on land for the purpose of keeping poultry or captive birds outdoors.
  • Measures must be taken to discourage wild birds from entering the outdoor range area (for example, bird scarers, foils, streamers) or congregating on the vicinity of the outdoor range area (where this land is in the control of the keeper).

Additionally, keepers with more than 500 birds are required to take extra biosecurity measures, including:

  • Operating effective barrier hygiene, including changing clothing and footwear before entering and exiting the live-bird area.
  • Access to live-bird area is restricted to authorised personnel and essential equipment and vehicles.
  • Thorough cleansing and disinfecting of housing and equipment must be carried out at the end of a production cycle before any new birds are introduced.
  • Regularly inspect structural integrity of any building used to house poultry for holes and leaks, with particular. emphasis on roofs, gutters, and downpipes.  Any holes and leaks must be repaired without undue delay as previous cases of avian influenza have been linked to water ingress and flooding.
  • Egg producers will need to ensure the packing, handling, and storage of second quality eggs / farm seconds is a managed in a biosecure manner.
  • Egg trays must be cleansed and disinfected before use and records maintained as above.

What do I need to do?

Keepers can read more about the biosecurity measures they need to introduce on the Avian influenza (bird flu) page. 

The government has published biosecurity advice and a self-assessment checklist for poultry keepers.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review by Defra.

Keepers are encouraged to read the latest government advice on avian influenza in the UK and to sign up to Defra’s poultry register in order to be quickly updated with information and advice.

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.

Joint statement

In a joint statement the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales said:

“Following a number of detections of avian influenza in wild birds across Great Britain we have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across the whole of Great Britain. This means that all bird keepers must take action now to prevent the disease spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher biosecurity standards on your farm or small holding. It is in your interests to do so in order to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

“The UK health agencies have confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and UK food standards agencies advise that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.”

Bird fairs, markets, shows and other gatherings

On 5 November 2021 the government announced that from 00:01 on 8 November 2021 no gatherings of poultry, galliforme or anseriforme birds are permitted. Bird gatherings include (but are not limited to) bird fairs, markets, shows, sales, exhibitions, vehicles used to transport live birds where the birds are brought together from multiple premises, and some premises used for dealing or internet sales.

Galliforme birds include pheasants, partridge, quail, chickens, turkey and guinea fowl.

Anseriforme birds include ducks, geese and swans.

Gatherings of all other types of birds except poultry, galliforme and anseriforme birds are permitted, provided that the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has been notified of the gathering at least seven days before the event and that the gathering meets all the requirements of the general licence.

 You could be prosecuted if you do not meet the licence conditions.


AIPZ with additional housing measures (North Yorkshire) 

From 8.30pm on the 21 November 2021, a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared in parts of North Yorkshire, namely the districts of Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire. This means that it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in that area to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

You can check if you are within the new North Yorkshire AIPZ (please see map below) using the APHA’s interactive map

The following additional measures apply within the North Yorkshire AIPZ:

  • Keep poultry or captive birds housed
  • The buildings must be suitable for the purpose and it is the obligation of the keeper or such authorised person nominated by the keeper to check/inspect regularly that they continue to be suitable for the purpose
  • Any openings must be covered with suitable mesh or netting which should be of a maximum size of 25mm mesh to prevent ingress from wild birds
  • Measures are in place to ensure that wild birds are not attracted to areas under the control of the keeper, in particular to watercourses, reservoirs, ponds or other standing water

Where it is not possible to house birds on welfare grounds, poultry or other captive birds must be kept in fully enclosed or netted outdoor areas subject to the conditions in the AIPZ declaration.

More information:


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