THE council is backing a prevention zone implemented by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to help protect poultry against a strain of bird flu.

Owners of chickens, turkeys, geese or ducks in Redcar and Cleveland have to either keep them indoors for the next 30 days, or take appropriate measures to separate them from wild birds.

The prevention zone has been declared because of an increased number of reports of the H5N8 strain of bird flu in mainland Europe which has the potential to spread to the UK.

Some tips to stop the spread of bird flu on farms and in allotments include thoroughly disinfecting housing regularly as well as making sure that feed and water is not accessible to wild birds. It is also important that disinfectant is kept at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry housing or enclosures.

Cllr Lynn Pallister, Cabinet Member for Health and Housing at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “It is important that anyone who owns birds, be it in the home, on an allotment or on a farm, follow the rules set down by the prevention zone in order to stop the spread of bird flu.

“The council’s environmental health team will be working with allotment holders and farm workers to help them with anything they might need.”

The prevention zone will apply until 2.30pm on Friday 6 January 2017; anyone who caught failing to comply with the declaration could face police prosecution.

For more information, go to: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs.