By Rebecca Black, PA
A Belfast park has been closed following an outbreak of avian flu.
Sixteen dead birds have been removed from Waterworks Park in north Belfast, the city council said.
The council added that the park has been closed until further notice.
In a statement, the local authority said: “We have engaged an independent expert to review our approach and management plan to deal with this ongoing issue.
“We are also arranging for an on-call vet to be available to assess sick and dying birds and, if required, humanely euthanise these birds.
“As the outbreak continues to escalate across Northern Ireland, as a precautionary approach the Waterworks Park will close until further notice.
Please note Waterworks has been temporarily closed until further notice as we continue to respond to an outbreak of Avian Influenza at the site. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused. We will update our website & social media channels to advise when the park will reopen. pic.twitter.com/3BFirnDwGm
— Belfast City Council (@belfastcc) December 8, 2021
“We’re continuing to work alongside and seek advice from the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) and the Public Health Agency in response to this issue.
“We would ask the public not to visit Waterworks Park at this time as we continue to manage the ongoing situation.”
Last week, a suspected case of avian flu was detected in Co Tyrone. Some 27,000 affected ducks were culled and temporary control zones were introduced at the commercial premises in Aughnacloy.
There have also been a number of confirmed cases in wild birds across the North.
The region's Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, has warned the threat from avian flu “will be more significant in the months ahead”.
Members of the public are encouraged to report dead waterfowl – swans, geese or ducks – or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Daera helpline on 0300 200 7840.