The owner of an East Lancashire turkey farm has said he is “worried” about the rising cases of bird flu across the county after another case has been confirmed at a premises in Salwick, near Preston.

John Atkinson, who is co-owner of Atkinson’s Turkey Farm in Briercliffe, said workers at the farm will have to remain more vigilant and admits that the results would be “devastating” if bird flu hit their farm.  

Mr Atkinson said: “We are worried, I’m not saying otherwise, but it’s just one of those situations that we have to put up with and be very careful with.

“At the moment it is 25 miles away from us in Lancashire and we haven’t got it.

“There are no signs of it and we aren’t on the migratory bird path. Fingers crossed we should be okay.”

Lancashire Telegraph: John Atkinson, owner of Atkinson's Turkey Farm in BriefcliffeJohn Atkinson, owner of Atkinson's Turkey Farm in Briefcliffe

He added that their free range birds are having to be locked inside for the rest of the year.

If the worst were to happen and bird flu found its way onto the farm, John said the results would be “devastating”.

He explained: “In the worst case scenario, it would be a disaster and everything on the turkey farm would have to be culled.

“Out turkeys are all sold fresh so it’s too early to sell them.

“If there are any turkeys lost there will be a shortage at Christmas but at the moment everything seems fine... trade is actually up on last year at the minute.”

Atkinson’s Turkey Farm isn’t the only poultry business taking precautionary measures after the reports of bird flu around the county.

Clitheroe Auction Mart, in Lincoln Way, was forced to cancel some of its poultry, fur and feather sales due to bird influenza.

Where have avian flu cases been reported in Lancashire and can humans contract it?

A case of avian influenza (otherwise known as bird flu) has been confirmed at a premises in Salwick.

Avian influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, it can affect mammals including humans. Consequently, a number of precautionary measures are being put in place.

The response is being led locally by Lancashire County Council, Fylde Borough Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency).

A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been declared around the premises.

Temporary road signs will make people aware as they arrive and leave this zone. This control zone restricts access to locations where birds are kept and restrictions on the movement of birds.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing for Lancashire County Council, said: "I want to reassure residents that the risk to public health from avian flu is very low.

"However, it is important that people do not pick up any sick or dead birds to avoid spreading the virus, which can affect humans in rare cases.

"If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

"I would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspected cases to their nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office.”

People in direct contact with the premises have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment.

Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. However, anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111 or speak to their GP.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at a commercial poultry premises in Lancashire. We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and any birds at risk of infection will now be humanely culled.

“UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

“We have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain, so whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, it’s vital that all bird keepers take action to introduce higher biosecurity standards on their farm or small holdings.”

Useful links about bird flu

You can find the area covered by the zone online at:

Find out more about Avian Flu at

You can read the declaration from Defra online at

Advice for people who keep birds is available at

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