Trading Standards on patrols combatting largest ever UK outbreak of Avian Flu
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) can reveal that trading standards (TS) services are undertaking essential work, including foot patrols and bird detection, to stem the largest outbreak of Avian Flu ever seen in the UK.
Working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), trading standards professionals are the 'boots on the ground' helping to contain the outbreaks. Across the country, trading standards teams working in partnership with key stakeholders work out of 'forward operating bases' in their locality to organise the responses, holding back the spread to within their respective 3 km protection zones.
While trading standards teams conform to a national plan for responses, each local authority has developed approaches improving upon the base response for their region.
Lincolnshire TS sought out partnerships with emergency services. Local resources used included a fire station set up as a forward operating base in partnership with the Fire Service. At the same time, the service directed a police van to share electronic messages across the region, broadcasting messages on how to stop the spread in households.
In North Yorkshire, work with the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) proved helpful for joining up their response. An LRF is a multi-agency forum formed in a police area of the United Kingdom by key emergency responders and supporting agencies. TS has proven its vital role as the profession has the key local connections with farmers, hauliers and market staff gained through years of weekly contact on the ground.
One of the response's core actions involves foot patrols within the 3km protection zone to identify any unregistered bird keepers. These patrols are resource-intensive, and while TS is not statutorily required to undertake them, services up and down the country are committed to it because of its vital importance to the response. To improve efficiency and the targeted direction of limited resources, Lancashire Trading Standards developed a self-reporting web tool where people in the local community could report bird ownership. This innovative tool removed the need for TS Officers to visit many thousands of premises, freeing up resources and significantly increasing its unregistered bird detection rate.
CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: "Avian Flu is always a persistent risk at this time of year, and it is only because of the work of the multi-agency collaboration, which critically includes trading standards and professionals across the country, that ensures the Avian Flu outbreaks are being contained.
"Trading standards services are ideally placed to respond to the outbreaks because of their versatility and breadth of experience, and they undertake this alongside their regular TS work. Their commitment has been remarkable and comes not long after their similarly remarkable response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also saw them on the frontline of protecting communities."
Wendy Martin, Director of Policy at the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO), said:
"ACTSO represents trading standards services at National Disease Control Centre meetings, and the work of Trading Standards is recognised by everyone in that forum, Government, industry and other partners. This year has been unprecedented, with more infected premises in November and December than we had in the whole of last year's season. This is creating challenges for colleagues in APHA and Trading Standards, but they are working closely together to ensure the disease is managed, that livestock is kept safe and that the industry can continue to thrive."
For information on identifying and halting bird flu, visit this advice provided by APHRA and DEFRA.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk
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