To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what powers his Department has to initiate action under the Prevention of Damage By Pests Act 1949; and in what circumstances those powers have been used.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times his Department has used powers under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1945 in each of the last five years.
The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 places a duty on local authorities to ensure that their areas are kept, so far as practicable, free from rats and mice. Should Defra become aware that a local authority is failing to discharge its responsibilities, Defra has certain default powers to initiate action.
Additionally Defra may give direction to any business involving the manufacture, storage, transport or sale of food. These directions may include:
- prohibiting or restricting the business or use of any premises, vehicles, or equipment which is or is likely to become infested;
- prohibiting or restricting the acceptance, delivery, retention or removal of any infested food or of any other infested goods which are likely to come into contact with food manufactured, stored, transported or sold;
- carrying out any structural works or treatments necessary for preventing or remedying infestation in any premises, vehicle, equipment, food or other goods;
- In cases where the infestation cannot be remedied the Minister may order the food or container to be destroyed within a specific timeframe.
The Department does not have any record of any case where the Minister has had to exercise his powers under the Act in the last five years.