by Countryside Alliance

New Avian Influenza Licensing Service Go-Live

To prevent further disease spread, the certain movements of poultry, other captive birds, eggs, poultry products or materials associated with their keeping, and mammals from or to premises where poultry or other captive birds are kept, are only permitted within disease control zones when licenced.

Bird keepers and allied individuals can apply for specific licences for some low risk movements from any Protection Zone or Surveillance Zone currently in force (see GOV.UK for further information on available general licenses). Licences for movement within or from the Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zones currently in force are not required.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are implementing a new service, the Avian Influenza Licensing Service, to allow customers to apply online for an avian influenza licence during the current avian influenza outbreak.

On 7th February 2022, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) launched a new service, the Avian Influenza Licensing Service, to allow customers to apply online for an avian influenza licence during the current avian influenza outbreak. To assist users in transitioning to the new licensing service the email application route using the EXD100 form has remained available. However, following a successful initial few weeks of the service being live, the email application service will be withdrawn at 5pm on Monday 28th February 2022.

From Tuesday 1st March 2022, if you are in England, Scotland or Wales, all applications for an avian influenza licence will need to be made via the new online service.  To apply online you will need to register and create sign in details. There will be two steps for verification.  Once registered, applying online means you can track the status of your application and receive your licence electronically via the new system.

Applications will be received via the online system and will be reviewed, and if appropriate, licences issued correctly to allow essential activities to continue whilst not increasing the risk of spread of avian influenza.

To access the new Avian Influenza Licensing Service, use this link.

If you require any further information with regards to the new process, please contact APHA 03000 200 301 and choose the relevant options.

Keepers can check where disease control zones are located in GB and if they are in zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) interactive map.

For further information on cases and details of the measures that apply in the disease control zones currently in force see:

Background

New housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza, following a number of confirmed cases across Great Britain, came into force on Monday 29 November 2021 meaning that it has been a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors from that date. Strict biosecurity measures must also be followed to limit the spread of, and eradicate, the disease.

Wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months can carry the disease and this can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds. The additional housing measures built on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in across Great Britain as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) on 3 November 2021 and in and Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021.

The introduction of housing measures has meant that from 29 November 2021, in addition to housing all poultry and captive birds, keepers must continue taking extra precautions to keep their flocks safe. This includes regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles when entering or exiting sites and limiting access to non-essential workers or visitors.

Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus remains very low, and food standards bodies advise that avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products including eggs.

Shooting of live quarry

Shooting of live quarry species, where permitted, is currently unaffected by the controls in place for avian influenza. However, it is important that everyone remains vigilant and aware of the symptoms of the disease, and to follow the latest biosecurity advice and any measures required in any of the zones.

Preventive measures

Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. If you find dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. For further information see our advice to the public.

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301, in Wales contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. In Northern Ireland contact DAERA on 0300 200 7840. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

Avian influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry or captive birds.

Poultry shows, markets and gatherings:

Gatherings of poultry, galliforme or anseriforme birds are banned. Galliforme birds include pheasants, partridge, quail, chickens, turkey and guinea fowl. Anseriforme birds include ducks, geese, and swans. See the bird gatherings guidance for further information.

Wild birds:

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out year-round avian influenza surveillance of dead wild birds submitted through public reports and warden patrols. Our weekly findings of avian influenza in wild birds can be found here.

Further information:

The government’s latest guidance on avian influenza, including how to spot the disease and what action you should take to report it, can be found here.

Biosecurity guidance and a biosecurity self-assessment checklists have been published on each of the GB administration’s website to assist all bird keepers in instigating and maintaining good biosecurity:

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately. Failure to do so is an offence. You can report suspected or confirmed cases in:

  • England by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301,
  • Scotland by contacting your local Field Services Office
  • Wales by calling 0300 303 8268
  • Northern Ireland by calling the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840

In Great Britain, if you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7).

In GB, you are legally required to register your birds if you keep more than 50 birds. Keepers with less than 50 birds are strongly encouraged to register. It is also a legal requirement to notify APHA of any significant changes in the average number of birds kept.

In Northern Ireland if you keep any birds, other than pet birds kept in the owner’s home, you need to make sure they are registered.

The Hawk Board has issued the following additional advice for those that keep birds of prey:

All birds must be kept in roofed or covered accommodation and the weathering of birds of prey in the open is prohibited. In England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland flying remains permitted outside restricted zones, but great care must be taken if pursuing quarry (all wild birds have to be considered as potentially infected). Do not feed to your bird of prey, any wild sourced bird, no matter when or how obtained. 

Travelling with birds of prey must be planned to ensure that you do not inadvertently enter a restricted zone. Do not travel hawks or falcons from different households in the same vehicle., and when flying birds of prey, it is preferable to do so alone, or with company that are non-bird keepers, or are from your own household. Gatherings (flying together with other falconers) whilst not banned outright at present, are to be discouraged. If you wish to gather for a field meeting, please be mindful of the restrictions of the General Licence published by DEFRA.

Avoid all poultry and livestock areas, wetlands, and gamebird release sites, and contact your landowners to check with them that they are still happy for you to go onto their land.

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