The last disease control zone which was put in place due to an avian influenza outbreak in NI will be lifted on Saturday, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

The 10km surveillance zone surrounds a broiler breeder unit in Co Derry where the disease was first detected on 19 December 2021.

There have been no other cases of bird flu in NI poultry flocks since then and surveillance zones which were around four other infected premises have already been lifted.

“The five confirmed cases in NI were located at Aughnacloy, Broughshane, Armagh, Coagh and Ballinderry.

Culling, disposal and preliminary cleansing and disinfection has been completed at all sites,” Minister Poots told MLAs on Monday.

Although no outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza have occurred in NI for over a month, DAERA is clear that there is still a significant risk of further outbreaks occurring in local poultry flocks, and has warned farmers against any complacency.

The NI-wide avian influenza prevention zone, which came into effect on 17 November 2021, remains in place and requires all bird keepers to undertake stringent biosecurity measures.

Also, there appears to be no immediate plans to lift the compulsory housing order for poultry, which was introduced on 29 November 2021.

The housing order will be kept under constant review

“We want to ensure that whatever steps we take are appropriate and ensure that we do nothing to contribute to the further spread of that awful disease. The housing order will be kept under constant review. The decision to ease any restrictions will be determined by the level of risk,” Minister Poots said.


At last Thursday’s meeting of the Stormont Agriculture committee, DAERA vets confirmed that compensation had been agreed for birds culled at three of the five sites, to a total cost of £160,000.

DAERA has also made a bid of £4m to the Department of Finance to support potential payments to producers impacted by future outbreaks.