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Nuisance from insects

Insect infestations can be considered a statutory nuisance, but only under certain circumstances.

The following is a brief summary of the relevant laws. For the full versions, please see the relevant external websites.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005 states that the following counts as a nuisance;

  • any insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance

This does not apply to insects from domestic premises, though these might be covered elsewhere in the act. Nor does it generally apply to protected species of insects as listed in schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.

The measure is intended to provide local authorities with a remedy to insect infestations on commercial premises, whether they occur naturally or are caused by human activities. But it is not meant to be used against concentrations of insects on open land or in ways that would have a negative effect on biodiversity. Therefore, there are exemptions, including;

  • land used as arable, grazing, meadow or pasture land (but not structures placed on that land)
  • land used as osier land, reed beds or woodland
  • land used for market gardens, nursery grounds, or orchards
  • land forming part of an agricultural unit (but not covered by the above three points)
  • land included in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and rivers and other waters (except sewers and drains)
  • likely sources of insect nuisance
  • poultry houses/farms (buildings on agricultural land are not exempt)
  • sewage treatment works
  • manure/silage storage areas
  • animal housing
  • stagnant ditches and drains
  • landfill sites, refuse tips and waste transfer premises
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