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Free range hens allowed back outdoors following pressure from MP

April 11, 2017 4:51 PM

The government has this week overturned its restrictions on free-range chickens following pressure from South Lakes MP Tim Farron. Tim has welcomed the move, saying it provides relief for local poultry farmers and gives consumers choice.

Tim wrote to the government last week to push for a review of restrictions on free range poultry. DEFRA had ordered farmers in high-risk areas, including South Lakeland, to keep free-range birds indoors or in specially-built fully-fenced and netted areas in response to an outbreak of avian flu. Several local farmers were therefore forced to keep their birds indoors and sticker boxes to inform consumers that hens were not free range.

However, following pressure from Tim, the government has now announced that these restrictions will be lifted on Thursday 13th April. Birds will now be allowed outdoors. This follows the latest scientific advice which concludes that the level of risk to poultry in high-risk areas has now reduced to the same level as that across the rest of England.

Tim said: "While it was sensible to take precautions to prevent an outbreak of bird flu, it is right that these restrictions have now been lifted and that poultry are allowed to be free-range once more.

"This is good news for egg-lovers, who can now once again make a meaningful choice about buying locally-produced, free range eggs. It will also provide welcome relief for local poultry farmers."