Avian Influenza: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 29 September 2022.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether a task force has been established for the purpose of coordinating a response to the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Unprecedented outbreaks of avian influenza continue to be seen in both the UK and Europe as well as North America in both kept and wild birds. We recognise the significant threat highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is posing to wild birds, and in particular our seabird populations and it is deeply saddening to see the impact this is having on these important species.

On the 31 August 2022 Defra together with Welsh Government published the Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales. This Strategy set out practical guidance to support land managers, the public and ornithological and environmental organisations in their response to the growing threat of avian influenza to wild birds, working alongside government action to monitor the disease. The Strategy sets out how these groups, together with the government and its delivery partners, can mitigate the impact of avian influenza on wild bird populations whilst protecting public health, the wider environment and the rural economy. The Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales supports the Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain, and is based on the latest scientific, veterinary and ornithological advice and is in line with international best practice.

In addition to existing stakeholder engagement forums addressing the latest situation and disease prevention, mitigation and control measures with regard to the avian influenza. Defra and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), in conjunction with the devolved administrations will also be working with key experts to assess what further conservation actions conservation actions and monitoring can be implemented to protect vulnerable species and help populations recover.

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