More than 1.2million birds dead due to bird flu outbreak

Councillors will next week be told more than 1.2million birds have died or been culled due to the recent bird flu outbreak with compensation expected to run into several million pounds in Lincolnshire alone.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Public Protection and Communities Scrutiny Committee will be updated by Trading Standards on the situation on Tuesday.

A report by Trading Standards manager Mark Keal says the costs to the service will exceed £10,000 when additional mileage and hours pay is taken into account with the loss of 210 officer days from front-line services.

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There were 15 confirmed cases of avian influenza in Lincolnshire between December 11, 2021 and January 9, 2022, with the majority around the Alford area.

The news resulted in a number of 3km protection zones, with the county the worst affected nationally.

Mr Keal’s report describes the steps taken by Trading Standards, and other partners, in publicising warnings, undertaking foot patrols and supporting owners subjected to cullings.

“At the time of writing the 15 disease control zones in Lincolnshire have just been lifted,” said Mr Keals, noting that one partial zone remained centred around an outbreak in North Lincolnshire.

He later added: “It is estimated that the costs to the Trading Standards Service from the response exceed £10,000 arising from additional mileage travelled and additional hours pay.

“The service has lost in the region of 210 officer days from front line service delivery. This has resulted in delays to programmed inspection work and on-going investigations which we are working to recover.

“With 1.2 million birds affected there will be significant compensation payments made to the owners. These payments, taken from central government funds, will run into several million pounds in Lincolnshire alone.”

A number of measures will be undertaken to prepare further for future outbreaks, including refresher training, auditing protective wear and updating technological aids.

Councillors at the meeting will consider the report and comment on its contents.

Daniel Jaines , Local Democracy Reporting Service