Tuesday, 28 February 2017








Monday, 9 January 2017


We have received the following email from the Council -
At the request of the Council we are posting their email on this blog-site and also posting their current advice on keeping poultry

Dear Society Secretary,

Further to our previous e-mail in December I am writing to advise that DEFRA have extended the Avian Flu Prevention Zone to 28th January 2017.
The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks. An outbreak was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December and a further case was confirmed in a back yard flock in Carmarthenshire on 3 January.
The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland.
The recent H5N8 avian flu findings in wild birds and a backyard flock in Wales highlight just how essential it is to minimise contact between wild and captive birds and maintain good biosecurity to reduce the risk of infection.
We would be grateful for your assistance in bringing this information to the attention of fellow tenants.
Further information is available on the DEFRA website at
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-flu-prevention-zone-extended .

 From looking at our records in December, in an effort to contact individual tenants, we are aware that there are far more tenants with poultry than our records show. Because of the risks associated with Avian Flu we would like to have more accurate information easily available, we would therefore be grateful if you could help us update our records by letting us have a list of plot numbers for those plots on your site which currently have poultry.

We do provide new tenants with guidance on keeping poultry and whilst we don’t want to re-introduce a permission system we would ask that we are made aware by individual tenants or through your reports of any new poultry keeping on site. That way we will have the most current information reasonably possible.
Thanks for your help and Happy New Year!

 Malcolm Russell

Head of Service (Neighbourhood Services)
Bolton Council

Please also see previous posts on Avian Flu

Use this quick checklist to see if your arrangements for keeping chickens on your allotment are
likely to meet the requirements of Bolton Council.
Food and Water
Your poultry should have continuous access to cool, clean water and an appropriate diet that is
both plentiful and nutritional.

A clean, tidy and spacious environment should be maintained which provides adequate protection
from the weather and predators.
It is your responsibility to monitor and maintain a flock free from distress, pain, injury and disease.
Feathered Friends
We expect tenants to maintain high standards of welfare for their birds in clean, tidy housing. In
this way, everyone can enjoy the presence of poultry on your Bolton Council allotment.

This leaflet only provides some basic guidelines; we strongly recommend that you seek further
advice. There are numerous organisations, books and Internet sites, which offer more detailed
information on how to enjoy and care for your chickens.
§ Living with Chickens, Jay Rossier
§ Keep Chickens! Barbara Kilarski
§ Free-Range Poultry, Katie Thear
§ The Poultry Farmer’s and Manager’s
     Veterinary Handbook, Peter W Laing

RSPCA national cruelty and advice line -
08705 555 999

Allotment Management
Contact: Neighbourhood Services
Bolton Council
Ellesmere House
Mayor Street Depot
Ellesmere Street
Bolton, BL3 5DT
(01204) 334067
e-mail: allotments@bolton.gov.uk
These guidelines have been produced in line with RSPCA recommendations.

(this (and the above) information is provided in the form of a leaflet to all new tenants by Bolton Council. The rules set out are those of the Council and have not been devised or set out by any individual society.

This leaflet has been produced to give you some important basic guidelines as to the minimum standards expected of tenants who keep poultry (hens) on allotments.
Failure to notify the Council that you intend to keep poultry as detailed in your tenancy agreement or to meet the minimum standards in these guidelines may result in the termination of your allotment tenancy. If approved you may keep between 3 and 12 hens.
If you chose to keep animals on your allotment you must check on them daily, provide competent care and management and have the knowledge and skills to ensure the wellbeing of your animals. In addition, you are expected to keep them under proper control to avoid disturbance to others.
Bolton Council has the right to inspect livestock at anytime. If the Council has cause to investigate cases or complaints of maltreatment, costs of vets or other official inspections will be passed to the Tenant for payment.
We strongly recommend you seek further detailed guidance on keeping poultry.

Your chickens should have continuous and plentiful access to;
Cool, clean and fresh water
Provision of feed of a type appropriate to the age and species of animal, fed in sufficient quantities, and sufficiently frequently, to maintain them in good health and satisfy their nutritional needs.
Insoluble grit to aid digestion
Foodstuffs should be stored and fed such that it is kept clean, tidy and properly protected from rodents and other pests

In addition to effective containment, housing is also important in ensuring the welfare of your birds and should allow the expression of natural behaviour.
Although it is advised that you make the housing as large and comfortable as possible, as a minimum, the accommodation will be expected to compromise of;

Minimum size of 2 square feet (0.2m2) per
Fully enclosed shelter that provides;
§ Protection from predators
    A clean, dry bedding material to absorb moisture and odour (suitable choices are wood                    shavings or straw)
§Warmth during the colder months and shade
during the summer
§ Adequate ventilation but draught-free
§ Perches for sleeping, approximately 3-5cms wide with rounded corners to enable them to grip.
§ Nest Boxes for laying eggs.

§ Minimum size of 4 square feet (0.4m2) per chicken
Should provide the chicken(s) with plenty of space to dig, dust themselves and flap their wings
Both should be regularly maintained to a good, tidy standard and free from obvious faults that
may cause injury.

You will be held responsible for ensuring that your livestock is free from distress, pain, injury and disease. Appropriate preventative and/or veterinary treatment should be available at all times.

In order to maintain healthy livestock and reduce odour problems, the run and hen-house should be cleaned a minimum of once a week or more frequently as necessary
With respect to the above, the deep litter system is not acceptable on Bolton Council allotments
Poultry kept on the same ground for more than a month will need regular worming Any health serious/longstanding or contagious problems MUST be reported to the Neighbourhood Services as soon as possible, as well as detail of the treatment being received and notification when the problem has cleared.

Poultry need companionship and should be kept in-groups of two or more.
Provided your chickens are happy, healthy birds they should not become a nuisance to others. It is important however to be aware  of potential problems, such as dirty sites attracting vermin and causing smells.
Please note that due to potential noise problems, Cockerels are not permitted on Bolton Council Allotments.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016



DEFRA have issued an instruction to all poultry keepers (regardless of size of flock or whether they are DEFRA registered or not) that all poultry should be kept (wherever possible) indoors between December 7th 2016 and January 6th 2017.

If poultry cannot be confined indoors then steps must be taken to keep them out of contact with wild birds. This should be done in a manner which considers the welfare of the poultry.

This is due to the risk of a particularly virulent strain of avian flu entering the UK, primarily brought in by migratory birds from continental Europe and Siberia.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


More pictures of Open Day thanks to John Burns

The gate to the site on Open Day morning

The inside of the show tent

The flower display

Master Gardener exhibit

The prize giving

The Soft Toy Tombola

The Marquee

Pev and Lorenzo entertain

Ostrich Apocalypse in the tent

Mick Carcione "dressing" his entry in the scarecrow competition

Thursday, 20 October 2016


We know that some, perhaps many, members had been hoping that we would be holding our annual Bonfire party in November. However after receiving the following communication from our insurers and obtaining subsequent information from the Council (see below), the Committee has decided that such an event cannot take place this year.
From Bluefin Insurance
Good afternoon Mr Jackson,
Following our discussions regarding the Bonfire to be held on your allotment site I can confirm Liability cover is extended to include this subject to less than 100 people being in attendance and the following criteria being adhered to:
·         The Police and Fire Brigade authorities will be consulted at least fourteen days before the event and their recommendations have been complied with in full
·         The relevant HSE guidance will be followed by the organiser;.
·         An event risk assessment has been carried out by the organiser;.
·         Spectators will be kept at least 25 metres from the display/bonfire and the display area will be roped off;.
·         Bonfires will be sited at least 50 metres from any buildings or vehicles and there are no roads, railways, overhead cables, woodland, bracken or similar combustible materials in the immediate vicinity
·         Special consideration should be given to major roads (i.e. motorways), main railway lines, airport runways.
·         Organisers should seek permission from the relevant party (in our case the Council**)
Procedures - Organisers
·         One member of the committee or other body organising the display will be in direct charge of safety matters and not engaged in any duties or activities which would prevent them from exercising general supervision;.
·         Qualified first aid personnel will be in attendance and means of summoning emergency assistance will be available;.
·         There will be at least one steward in attendance
·         These stewards should have full instructions about their duties, adequate communications equipment (e.g. mobile phones, walkie talkies), and know what to do and who to report to in the event of an incident
Procedures - General
·         No petrol or paraffin will be used for the purpose of lighting any bonfire;.
·         When on own premises a full inspection of the site will be carried out and any bonfire will be completely extinguished before leaving the site at the end of the display;.
Please inform us should the Allotment Association decide to have a firework display as this will require further referral.
Many thanks, Allotments Team, Bluefin Insurance

** On 14/10/2016 – The Head of Neighbourhood Services stated that:-
·         Bonfires on Allotment Sites after dark could not be public events – since the Council regard allotment sites as potentially unsafe places after dark. Events therefore would need to be restricted to Plot-holders and their guests. (Any plot-holder should accept responsibility for the behaviour and safety of anyone they invite including children. After discussion the Committee felt that even were those attending to sign a waiver to this effect it would not necessarily protect the Society against action in the event of an incident ).
·         No material may be brought onto the site for the purposes of the bonfire
·         No fireworks would be allowed
·         An event management or risk assessment plan must be submitted in advance by the organising society
·         Proof of insurance which specifically covers bonfires must be provided
(Two sites who are going ahead with their bonfires have taken out separate events insurance to allow them to do so, costs of £60 and £100 have been quoted by the respective secretaries).
Faced with this information the Committee decided at a meeting on 18/10/2016 that an event which met the insurance criteria could not be organised within the time frame allowed and at reasonable cost to the Society.
A suggestion that the event go ahead without insurance or Council approval was rejected on the grounds that
·         We cannot control who comes to the fire
·         If there is an incident then the Committee would be jointly and severally responsible for any damages awarded to any individual (whether member, plot-holder, guest or interloper) who suffered harm.
·         Committee members were not prepared to put themselves at this level of risk.
Accordingly there will be no Society Bonfire this year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Harpers Lane AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Harpers Lane Allotments Society will take place at Hollywood Rd Social Club, Hollywood Road. Bolton at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 29th November.

Main items are:

  • The presentation of the Annual Reports

  • The presentation of the Annual Accounts
  • The Election of Officers and Committee
  • The Presentation of the Society Prizes
All members listed as having paid the 2016 subscription on the list prepared at 22nd September are eligible to stand for election and / or vote at the meeting.  Partners and buddies are welcome to attend to join the discussions and ask questions.

Anyone wishing to table an item for the meeting should contact the secretary Margaret Jackson on harperslane.coop@yahoo.co.uk or by 'phone.