Kent County Council has reported that the last of the disease control measures put in place near Elham, Folkestone and Hythe, following confirmation of the highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5N1 strain of bird flu in a commercial poultry premises in the area in July, has been lifted.

Bird flu warning sign tied to metal pole

Image: KCC

The removal of the 10km Surveillance Zone by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ends local restrictions on the movement of birds and bird products without special permission.

National risk of bird flu remains high

Local keepers are also no longer required to house their birds inside after the 3km Protection Zone was lifted on the 18th August. But as the national risk of bird flu remains high, all Kent bird keepers are urged to continue following Defra guidance on scrupulous biosecurity.

As well as supporting Defra, Kent County Council (KCC) worked with the Animal and Plant Agency (APHA) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to manage the local response in Elham.

This included Kent Trading Standards officers carrying out foot patrols to raise awareness of the need for local bird keepers to maintain strict biosecurity and report any suspected cases.

Temporary road signs marking the zone boundaries in the Elham area are now being removed by KCC Highways.

Kent Trading Standards Operations Manager Sam Padfield said: “Good housekeeping is an essential defence against bird flu and key to limiting infection.

“All Kent bird keepers should continue following Defra rules and immediately report any signs of the disease in their birds to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

“People who have over 50 birds are legally required to register but anyone who keeps poultry, even as pets, should sign up here – if they haven’t already – so they be contacted.”

Residents are also urged to carry on helping to reduce bird flu’s spread.

Kent County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Ellen Schwartz, said: “Avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and I want to reassure Kent residents that the risk to public health is low.

“However, it is important we all play our part in helping to reduce its spread so please don’t pick up dead or sick birds with your bare hands.

“If you find 1 or more dead birds of prey, swans, geese or ducks, or 5 or more dead gulls or wild birds of any other species, in the same place please report it to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 or use the reporting form on

“If you’re out and about in the countryside or on the coast, stick to footpaths and keep dogs on leads to limit contact with wild birds; and if you feed birds in your garden, keep feeders clean and always wash your hands after handling them.”

For the latest national bird flu situation, and guidance for both keepers and members of the public, visit

By Ed

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