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Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of changes to the rat population in each of the last four years; what provision his Department makes for the removal of (a) rats and (b) other vermin by local authorities; and what information his Department holds on the charges applicable. (253200)

The latest report on rodent presence in domestic properties as revealed by the English House Condition Survey data for 2002-03 and 2003-04 is available on DEFRA’s website. Key findings are that the occurrences of rats inside and outside properties in these years are not significantly different from those observed in 2001.

Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that their districts are kept so far as practicable free from rats and mice. Should local authorities fail to discharge their responsibilities under the 1949 Act, DEFRA has certain default powers to initiate action.