Latest UK pest control and management news for professionals

09 November 2021

Pests in politics: Summer 2021


With pest management under the spotlight, particularly regarding glue boards, BPCA has spent more time than ever monitoring what’s happening in the UK Parliament and the devolved administrations.

This new regular feature will help keep you in the loop.

Pests in Poltics Summer 2021

The Welsh Government has announced its intention to ban the use of glue boards in Wales

While the Welsh Government had previously said it plans to ban snares, this is the first time they have committed to doing the same for glue traps.

The announcement follows RSPCA Cymru’s recent #LawsForPaws campaign - where animal lovers across Wales sent thousands of emails to their members of the Senedd, urging them to propose RSPCA-backed animal-friendly proposals, including a Glue Trap Offences (Wales) Bill.

The Welsh Government has responded by confirming it backs the Bill.

David Bowles, the head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “These traps can cause immense pain and suffering to animals, and should have no place in modern Wales.

"So we’re absolutely delighted that the Welsh Government has now announced plans to outlaw glue traps once and for all, as it outlines its next steps linked to the landmark Agriculture (Wales) Bill.”

This comes in the wake of the UK government publicly backing a Bill banning the use of glue boards for pest control, making the continued use of them hard to defend.

A Government press release from June stated: “The new Bill will enable a full ban on the use of glue traps to catch rodents.

“The UK has a strong history of leading the way on animal welfare and now that we have left the EU, the Government is committed to improving these standards even further by delivering a series of ambitious reforms, outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Helen Hayes, the Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his department is taking to prevent birds and small mammals from being caught in glue traps.

Rebecca Pow MP (Conservative, Taunton Deane) replied: “In our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, we announced that we would look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control.

"Accordingly, we are supporting the Honourable Member for Wolverhampton North East’s Glue Traps (Offences) Private Members’ Bill, which proposes to ban the use of glue traps for catching rodents. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 June, and we will work closely with her over the coming months as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

“Anyone using glue traps already has a responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to act within the law to ensure their activities do not cause any unnecessary suffering.

"The industry’s code of best practice, produced after consultation with Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Natural England, provides clear principles for the legal use of glue traps, including measures to protect non-target animals.”

Following consultation with members, it was decided that BPCA would lobby the government to consider the continued use of glue boards for pest management professionals.

Beyond glue boards

Steve Reed, the Labour (Co-op) MP for Croydon North and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “What assessment has he made of the effectiveness of pest control services provided by local authorities?”

Rebecca Pow, Conservative MP for Taunton Deane, replied: “Depending on the cause of an infestation, local authorities have certain responsibilities where pest control is concerned, and they have the flexibility to allocate resources to address local priorities, based on an assessment of risk.

"Local priorities will vary across geographical areas and might involve one or more types of pest ranging from wasps, rats, mice and bedbugs.

“Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities have a duty to deal with infestations of rats and mice.

"In order to help coordinate central Government’s expectation of regulatory services in local government, including environmental health services and, to propose short and long-term options to support these essential services, the government is supporting regulatory services teams through the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group.”

In the House of Lords, Lord Beith asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to issue guidance to local authorities about the control of badgers in cemeteries and burial grounds.

This was answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, stating: “Natural England is authorised, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to grant licences for this purpose. In situations where badgers are causing damage to cemeteries or burial grounds, NE can provide case-specific advice to the local authority if requested, and this may include a site visit where this would be beneficial.

“If the damage is caused by foraging activities, then advice will normally relate to preventive measures that do not require a licence, such as the use of fencing and other proofing. Where the sett itself is causing damage to graves, then an application for a licence to exclude badgers from the sett may be appropriate.”

In the Northern Ireland Assembly, Andy Allen MLA (East Belfast) asked ministers numerous pest-related questions. He asked The Minister for Communities...

  • If the Housing Executive defines pest control requests as urgent, routine or as an emergency; and to outline the criteria used to assess priority
  • To detail the number of pest control requests received by the Housing Executive in each of the last five years, broken down by constituency
  • The total amount the Housing Executive has spent on pest control services in each of the last five years.

The Housing Executive’s response time to each pest control request in each of the last five years, broken down by constituency.

BPCA is interested in Mr Allen’s replies, and is reaching out to him to understand his concerns better.

The Countryside Alliance Wales has publicly come out in opposition to Wales’s proposed snare ban. Countryside Alliance Wales support the code-compliant use of snares and see them as a vital tool in pest control.

They say that removing this option will be detrimental to improving biodiversity in Wales and make fox control in some agricultural areas of Wales extremely difficult to undertake.

The MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast Karen Adam chaired a public meeting virtually on Wednesday 22 September with 45 attendees on the seagull issue prevalent in Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Residents in the area had contacted her with concerns about the number of gulls along the north coast and the impact on the public’s well-being and safety.

She invited Council representatives, conservation and pest control figures and locals to partake. Ms Adam said: “...collaborative working is so important, by introducing a package of measures, we may be able to tackle the gull issue head on.”

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