The Government has not made any assessment of the effectiveness of local authorities' powers to deter pigeons and pests in town centres. However, there is a range of legislation in place to support local authorities in controlling pests and problem wild birds in urban areas.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allows for the control of wild birds, under licence from Natural England, in the interest of public health and safety or to prevent disease. Local authorities, businesses and individuals are also able to take action to manage urban bird populations e.g. using bins with secured lids, ensuring domestic animals are not fed outside and that streets are clear of litter.
Dealing with problems caused by wild birds and pests is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the property where the problem occurs. Where this is the local authority, it has the same powers to control pests as any other owner or occupier.
There is also a range of legislation in place to support local authorities in managing rodent infestation and statutory nuisances, such as litter and refuse, where these are attracting pests. The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 obliges local authorities to ensure that their districts are kept, as far as is practicable, free of rats and mice.