Avian Flu (BIRD Flu) – Latest Situation

Mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds, which were introduced across England and Wales to help stop the spread of bird flu, will be lifted from 00:01 on Tuesday 18 April 2023, the Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed today following the latest assessment of the risk level.

Following ongoing monitoring using the latest scientific evidence and a robust risk assessment, bird flu risk levels have been reduced meaning poultry and other captive birds will no longer need to be housed and can be kept outside unless they are in a Protection Zone.



The scale of avian influenza outbreaks across the UK and Europe has been unprecedented with over 330 cases confirmed across the country since late October 2021. While the risk of bird flu has been reduced to ‘medium’ for premises with poor biosecurity, the enhanced biosecurity requirements that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will remain in force as infection may still be circulating in the environment for several more weeks. The risk of bird flu remains assessed as low where good biosecurity is applied.

Those who intend to allow their birds outside are advised to use the upcoming days to prepare their outside areas for the release of their birds. This will include cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroduction of wild bird deterrents.

Scrupulous biosecurity is the most effective method of disease control available, and all bird keepers should apply enhanced measures at all times to prevent the risk of future outbreaks.

Poultry and captive bird keepers must:

  • cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and bird housing entry and exit points
  • minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
  • be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301,


Seaton Valley Council Allotment Sites

We are aware of the importance of allotments to our community and is working hard to not only meet the needs of plot holders, but also to ensure that it is working with the community to provide a balanced environment for future generations.

Allotments provide the opportunity for fresh air and exercise for those interested in growing fruit, vegetables and flowers. They also provide the chance to make new friends with other like-minded people.

We manage 13 sites. Our plot sizes range from as small as 30 m sq to as large as over 400 m sq.


Allotment site in summer

Shown below is a list of the Councils allotment sites:

  • Ancroft Road, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • Baxter Terrace, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • Beresford Road, Seaton Sluice – Map
  • Dartford Close, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • Dene Top, Seaton Sluice – Map
  • Gloria Avenue, New Hartley – Map
  • Hall Farm, Holywell – Map
  • Memorial Playing Fields, New Hartley – Map
  • Seaton Terrace, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • Seghill Road, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • Victoria Close, Seaton Delaval – Map
  • West Terrace, Seaton Sluice – Map
  • Coppergate, Holywell – Map

Coppergate in Holywell is under devolved management arrangements.  This means that a formally constituted allotment association leases the site from Seaton Valley Council, and reinvests the revenue it collects from rents on maintenance repairs and capital items.

Allotments Waiting List

We are currently accepting applications for allotment plots in Seaton Valley.

Please be aware that we only have a limited number of allotment plots currently available and we will allocate these to applicants based on your date of application and site preference.

We cannot guarantee when a plot will become available but your name will remain on the waiting list until we are able to allocate you a suitable allotment plot.

Allotment Application Forms are available below:

You can request an application by post by phoning 0191 2379870 or application forms can be collected from our offices in Seaton Delaval.

Completed application forms should be returned to the Seaton Valley Council Offices in Seaton Delaval or emailed to:

Note:  You must be resident in Seaton Valley to apply for one of our allotment plots.

Lettings and Management Policy

In March 2023 the Allotments Lettings and Management Policy was agreed by council.

The policy is to clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the council and its allotment tenants.

Allotments Lettings and Management Policy (March 2023)

Allotment Rents 2023/24

Our allotment plot rents are based on the size of the plot in square meters.  The current rents for 2023/24 are detailed below:

Size (square meters) Rent
0 – 50 m2 £45.10
51 – 100 m2 £54.80
101 – 200 m2 £58.10
201 – 300 m2 £60.80
301 – 400 m2 £67.60
401 – 450 m2 £74.30
451 – 999 m2 £81.10


Useful tips on maintaining soil fertility

Fertile soil is essential for organic gardening. The soil needs to be managed so that the structure, fertility and living organisms in the soil are protected and developed.

To promote the soils fertility you can add manure and plant remains which will maintain the soils humus levels. This will feed the soil life which is essential for a healthy soil and provide plant nutrients. Green manures can be grown to protect and feed the soil. This keeps the cultivation at a minimum and avoids damaging the soil structure.

To maintain the soils fertility:

  • Cover the soil with a green manure. This will protect the surface living organisms and the soil structure from damage by dry conditions, heavy rain or strong winds.
  • Apply manure or plant wastes. Apply one wheelbarrow full of well-rotted manure or two of compost per 10 m sq of ground per year.
  • Loosen the subsoil which will break up compaction
  • Use a rotation system for annual plants.
  • Cultivating the soil shouldn’t be carried out when the soil is too wet or too dry. Don’t mix the subsoil with topsoil. Cultivating the soil should be kept at a minimum to avoid damaging the soil structure.

Composting Bins

How do I start composting?  To get started, the first thing you will need to do is buy a home composting bin.

Northumberland County Council are working with to offer residents a range of home compost bins, wormeries and accessories at special offer prices.  Order composting equipment online here.