§ Norman Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate906W the rat population (a) in England and (b) broken down by local authority area (i) in each year since 1997 and (ii) in each year to 2006. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
The most recent estimate of the Norway rat population in England was a minimum of 5,240,000 individuals. This figure was established by a review that assessed the population and conservation status of all British mammals, published in 1995. The only recent objective national survey of rat presence is within the English House Condition Survey. The latest report available is for the 1996 survey which revealed that 0.23 per cent. of properties had rats indoors and 1.6 per cent. had rats present outside.
With regard to local authorities, section 2(2) of the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 required every local authority to maintain records of activities undertaken to destroy rats and mice. However, this section was repealed in 1980 since when no information on rat presence within individual local authority areas has been collected by central Government.