HL Deb 01 July 1996 vol 573 cc86-7WA
The Earl of Sandwich

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they can confirm that there has been a 39 per cent. increase in rat infestations in British homes, and whether tackling the infestation is the responsibility of local authorities or the water companies.

Lord Lucas

The results of the 1993 National Rodent Survey published last summer showed that, whilst there had been little change in the overall level of rodent infestations since the late 1970s, the number of rat infestations in domestic premises had increased from 3.3 per cent. to 4.6 per cent. equivalent to an increase of 39 per cent. However, as the 1993 survey represented only a single year's observation since the last survey in the late 1970s, a further survey will be carried out in the near future to provide more up to date information on current trends in the level of rodent infestations.

The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 requires local authorities to keep their districts, including sewers, as free as practicable from rats and mice and gives local authorities the powers to require owners and occupiers of land to take the necessary action to remove rodents from their land.