11 January 2008
Defra has confirmed Avian Influenza in wild swans in the Chesil Beach area in Dorset, following positive test results from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1. These birds were found and tested following their routine surveillance programme.
Natural England will support Defra and will be giving advice on wildlife and assistance with wild bird surveillance on National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Sites of Special Scientific (SSSIs) in the area.
A Wild Bird Control Area and Monitoring Area have been established around the premises, encompassing Chesil Beach and Portland Bill, and the shape of these is based on expert ornithological advice.
Staff on NNRs are increasing their formal patrol frequency to once a week, or more often where circumstances allow. Areas covered include the NNRs on the Hampshire coast (Solent), Poole Harbour and those across Somerset and Dorset.
Footpaths and access land in the area remain open. Although the premises themselves are closed to the public, that has been the case since October due to the time of year. There is therefore no need for people to stop visiting this part of the countryside.
For the latest information please see the Defra website.