Skip to main content

Poultry keepers can apply for licences for some low risk movements from any current protection zone or surveillance zones.

Part of:
First published:
15 November 2021
Last updated:

General licences

General licences allow a movement or activity that would otherwise be prohibited in England and Wales. You need to check that you meet and comply with the conditions of the general licence. If you do so, you do not need to apply - you can rely on the general licence as providing authority for the movement or activity.

The following general licences are currently available in Great Britain:

General licence: multiple movements of table eggs from a premises in a Free Area to an Egg Processing Plant in a Protection Zone or Surveillance Zone

General licence for the movement of samples for salmonella testing from premises in the protection zone or surveillance zone

General licence for the movement of poultry carcases for disposal from premises in a Protection Zone in England, Wales or Scotland (EXD339(HPAI)(GB))

General licence for the movement of poultry by-products and hatching eggs for disposal from premises in a Protection or Surveillance Zone (EXD389(HPAI)(GB))

General licence for the movement of carcasses, samples, faeces and faecal samples from live poultry or other captive birds from a premises in the Protection or Surveillance Zone to a laboratory or veterinary surgery for investigation (EXD415(HPAI)(GB))

General licence for the Movement of Hatching Eggs from a Premises in a Protection Zone or Surveillance Zone to a Designated Premises for Use for Scientific, Diagnostic or Pharmaceutical Purposes (EXD539(HPAI)(GB))

General Licence for the Movement of Table Eggs into, within or out of a Protection or within or out of a Surveillance Zone in Scotland, England and Wales

General Licence for the Spreading on Premises or Movement of used Poultry Litter, Poultry Manure and Poultry Slurry Originating from Premises in a Protection Zone or a Surveillance Zone in England, Wales or Scotland

The following general licences are available in England and Wales:

General licence for the movement of mammals from or to premises in the Protection or Surveillance Zone where poultry or other captive birds are kept (EXD247(HPAI)(EW))

Specific licences

Specific licences cover a movement or activity in a disease control zone when not covered by a general licence. 

If you need to move a restricted item from any current protection zone or surveillance zones, you should apply to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). To apply for a specific licence, use the Avian Influenza Licensing Service (AILS) to submit your application online.

From Tuesday, 1 March 2022, all applications for an avian influenza licence will need to be made via the new online service. To apply online you will need to register and create sign in details. There will be two steps for verification.  Once registered, applying online means you can track the status of your application. You can receive your licence electronically via the new system.

Applications will be received via the online system and will be reviewed, and if appropriate, licences issued correctly to allow essential activities to continue whilst not increasing the risk of spread of avian influenza.

Access the new Avian Influenza Licensing Service on GOV.UK

If you require any further information with regards to the new process see the guidance on applying for an exemption from avian influenza disease control restrictions on GOV.UK or contact APHA on 03000 200 301 and choose the relevant options.

Keepers can check where disease control zones are located in GB and if they are in zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) interactive map.

Applications should be fully completed and include details of your premises registration. You must have registered your birds with APHA before submitting a license application. Find out how to register your birds.

You should give the licensing team as much notice as possible to process the requests. In the current situation and to allow effective triage and prioritisation by licensing teams, we are asking you to allow at least 5 days for the processing of your licence application. Complex and high risk movements will need extra time to process. Please note that licence applications received after 5pm, will start being processed the following day. 

We will always try to clear urgent applications but you should make contingency plans in case this is not possible.

Should the premises of origin or destination for your requested move be suddenly placed in a new or different kind of disease control zone (for example, if a new outbreak is declared locally), the assessment process may have to be restarted, resulting in further delays. Again, your contingency planning should take account of this possibility.

If a licence is issued, it will normally allow a one-off movement and will be subject to certain conditions based on disease control risk.

Meat from poultry within a protection zone

Food business operators must follow specific rules for any meat produced from:

  • poultry 
  • armed game birds

originating from a protection zone.  

This meat can be moved or sold, subject to several conditions. These include a requirement that the health mark is replaced with a specific mark. This mark must remain with it throughout any processing or repackaging. These conditions are set out in General Licence EXD249.

Under some specific circumstances - set out in General Licence EXD 264 - the recipient of poultry meat is permitted to remove the specific mark temporarily for production, and in some circumstance not to re-apply it.

The following licences are available on the GOV.UK website:

General licence for the movement of poultry meat from poultry originating in a Protection Zone or originating from an area that subsequently becomes a Protection Zone (EXD249(HPAI)(EW)) 

General licence for the removal of the meat mark applied to certain poultry meat (EXD264(HPAI)(EW)) 

Rules on meat produced from poultry and farmed game birds originating in the Protection Zone 

Approval of the mark identifying poultry meat from a protection zone in Wales

Approval of the mark identifying poultry meat from a protection zone in England