Pests, animal nuisance and welfare
Page last updated: 27 Apr 2022
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8 and H5N2) has been detected in kept poultry and wild birds in several locations including in Hillingdon. As part of the measures put in place an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was introduced across England on 3 November 2021.
The legal requirement to keep poultry and captive birds indoors will be lifted from Monday 2nd May 2022. Strict biosecurity measures will remain in force, however, as infection may still be circulating in the environment for several more weeks. All poultry gatherings remain banned.
Similar zones are in place in Wales and Scotland. The Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review.
The Prevention Zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds in England, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock. The Zone introduces mandatory biosecurity measures.
Public Health England advises that the risk to public health is very low.
The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of current scientific evidence, the disease poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
If you employ people who work with poultry or work with poultry yourself, you can also read Health and Safety Executive advice on protecting workers from avian influenza.
In summary all poultry keepers should:
If you keep more than 500 birds, you must take some extra biosecurity measures, which include:
If you suspect any type of avian influenza you must report it immediately by calling APHA on 0300 020 0301. Failure to do so is an offence.
The disease spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces and poultry affected may show the following symptoms:
Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection.
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 (0345 933 5577).
The APHA Alerts Subscription Serviceprovides registered users with the latest news on exotic notifiable animal disease outbreaks in Great Britain. Alerts may also be sent outside of a disease outbreak. You can subscribe on the government website
If you own, or are responsible for, poultry flocks of 50 or more birds (not necessarily of the same species) and even if your premises are only stocked for part of the year, then you must, within one month of their arrival at your premises, register your flocks.
For poultry flocks of fewer than 50 birds, whilst the law does not require you to register them, we still encourage you to do so as this means we can contact you quickly if there is an outbreak of disease. Further information and links to the relevant registration forms are available from the government website