Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949

Applies to the whole UK

Title: Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949

Category: UK Law

Date: 1949

Reference: Chapter 55  [Full text not available]

General Description:

The Act aims to protect the community, from the potential health and safety and hygiene hazards caused by various pests, including rats, mice, birds and all types of insects etc. There are two parts to this Act, Part One covers Rats and Mice, Part Two covers Infestation of Food.   Under the Act, any person authorised by a local authority, may inspect a premises or site at any reasonable time for infestation. Any person causing an obstruction whilst the premises is under inspection will be subjected to a fine.

Part One - Rats and Mice

It is the duty of the local authorities to:

  • destroy rats and mice on land which they occupy, and to keep such land so far as practicable free from rats and mice.
  • to enforce the duties of owners and occupiers of land, to carry out such operations to rid their land of potential hazard causing pests.

Every local authority must keep records relating to such actions taken, with regards to pest control. Land owners and occupiers must inform their local authority in writing if substantial numbers of rats, mice and other pests are present on their land. This is not applicable to agricultural land. Any person who fails to give notice will be subjected to a fine.

With regards to agricultural land, the County Agricultural Executive Committee have the right to order destruction of crops, to ensure the control of rats and mice.

The land owner/occupier is responsible for the control of all pests and costs incurred doing so. If the occupier of a premises inhibits the owner of a premises from clearing pests, the occupier will be subjected to a court order allowing the carrying out of such treatment.

The local authority will allow 7 days notice before terminating pests from any land (occupied or not). All expenses will be recoverable by county court judgement. Where property is unoccupied, it will then be the responsibility of the land/property owner to rid the site of pests.

Part Two - Infestation of Food

It is the responsibility of any person whose business includes:

The manufacture, storage, transport or sale of food, to inform the local authorities if there is any evidence of infestation to food. This also includes any goods which are in contact or likely to come into contact with food manufactured, stored, transported or sold.

Any person whose business consists of the manufacture, sale, repair or cleaning of food containers, must also give notice to the local authorities, if any evidence of infestation is found.

If evidence of infestation is found, the authorities may carry out the following action:

  • Prohibit or restrict the use for manufacture, storage, transport or sale of food, of any equipment or vehicles belonging to any premises which is or is likely to become infested.
  • Prohibit or restrict the acceptance, delivery, retention or removal of any infested food or any other infested goods which are likely to come into contact with food manufactured, stored, transported or sold.
  • Require the carrying out of structural work, or the application of any form of treatment deemed necessary for preventing or remedying infestation in any premises, vehicle, equipment, food or other goods.

If the infestation cannot be remedied by treatment, the authorities may allow for any contaminated equipment to be destroyed.

Anyone failing to comply with this Act will be guilty of an offence and fined accordingly. The authorities then have the right to reclaim any costs incurred, whilst carrying out any further treatment on the owner/tenants behalf.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Pest control

ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
© University of Hertfordshire, 2011