People who keep birds and poultry are being asked to keep their birds indoors to limit the spread of bird flu.
The mandatory housing measures introduced by the UK's chief veterinary officer, make it a legal requirement to keep the animals inside and to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect flocks from disease.
The new rules come into force on Monday, 7 November and apply to anyone keeping birds, whether it’s a few hens in a back garden, rearing game birds or a large commercial farm.
The restrictions follow a rising number of cases of avian flu in the country including a number of cases in Audley and Endon in Staffordshire.
Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Animal Health team is reminding people to remain alert for any signs of the disease and to report suspected cases immediately.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards Animal Health service at Staffordshire County Council said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of confirmed cases of avian flu across the country which is why these additional restrictions have been introduced.
“It’s vital that people who keep birds and poultry now keep them housed. This helps reduce the spreading of the disease by wild birds. Maintaining good bio security measures is also essential and includes measures like the use of an approved disinfectant on footwear when entering in or out of a poultry shed and limiting access. Following the rules will help reduce the spread of the disease and help protect our bird population.”
Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread Avian influenza to poultry and other captive birds.
The risk to public health from the virus remains very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that the disease poses a very low food safety risk.
Further information on how to help prevent the spread of avian flu is available at:www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu