POULTRY keepers in Wales have been urged to tighten up bio-security measures after a bird flu prevention zone was declared across the whole of England, as more dead wild birds were found with the virus.

But there are no moves at present to declare statutory controls in Wales.

The move means all poultry and bird keepers in England have to follow strict measures to protect their livestock from the disease.

It comes as 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire, following the discovery of the disease in wild birds in Dorset, where a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified.

Welsh Government cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “I have carefully considered, with advice from our chief veterinary officer, the decision by DEFRA to implement an AI prevention zone to cover all of England, following the raising of the risk level for poultry to 'medium' and for wild birds to 'high'.

“There is currently no evidence to indicate the presence of avian influenza in Wales and the veterinary risk does not warrant placing compulsory controls on a countrywide basis. The finding of avian influenza is in wild birds, not poultry or captive birds, and following veterinary advice I do not consider it is proportionate to declare statutory controls in Wales.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation, keep the need for controls under review and encourage poultry keepers to be vigilant and adhere to strict biosecurity protocols to protect their birds. We are ready to step up measures should the situation change.”

Advice on biosecurity can be found on the Welsh Government website

Testing of the birds in Warwickshire is ongoing but it is thought they had the H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild populations in Europe in recent months.

But officials said it was a different variant of H5N6 from the one which affected people in China last year, and the risk to public health was very low.

The Food Standards Agency said bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.