HC Deb 25 May 2004 vol 421 c1497W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs further to her answer of 5 May 2004, to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell),Official Report, column 1497W, on rats, whether a local authority using the enforcement and monitoring powers she refers to may (a) require a water authority to (i) carry out a programme of sewer baiting and (ii) improve the sewer infrastructure in its area and (b) require a railway authority to (A) maintain embankments to a reasonable standard and (B) clear dumped rubbish and litter on their land on a regular basis, in its area; and if she will make a statement. [173239]


In answer to the first part of the question, under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, a local authority cannot require a sewerage undertaker to carry out a programme of sewer baiting or improve the sewer infrastructure in its area.

The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 is used by local authorities to require Network Rail, the owner of operational railway land, to maintain lineside and rail property. Local authorities also have powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Code of Practice on litter and fly tipping to serve litter abatement notices requiring litter or refuse to be cleared and/or prohibiting land from becoming defaced by litter or refuse. Network Rail clears litter in accordance with the timescales and zones given in the Code of Practice.

In both cases, local authorities have powers to enforce the duties of the owner or occupier and can use default powers to take those steps specified in a notice and recover any expenses reasonably incurred in doing so.

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