Skip to main content
Menu

Pest control (2015)

Request

  1. Which control methods are used to control mice and rats in the Houses of Parliament?
  2. Is rodent pest control managed in-house or contracted out? If the latter, who currently holds the contract and for how long have they held it?
  3. What is the cost of rodent pest control in the Palace of Westminster (itemised by year) since 2010?
  4. Are glue traps (glue boards) used? If so, in which parts of the Palace?
  5. If rodent glue traps are used, what measures are taken to ensure the timely and humane disposal of animals caught in glue traps (please provide any documentation or guidance for staff in the Houses of Parliament regarding the humane disposal of animals caught in glue traps)?
  6. Does rodent pest control fall under the remit of any body which includes Members of the House of Commons or House of Lords? If so, which body/bodies?

 

 

Response

Please note that while the House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities according to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, pest control is a bicameral service, so our answer covers the whole of Parliament, as requested.

  1. Which control methods are used to control mice and rats in the Houses of Parliament?
    All pest control methods currently employed by the Palace of Westminster are part of an integrated pest management programme. This means that a variety of approaches are used, including rodenticide baits, snap traps and glue boards, along with the elimination of access points (pest proofing). In addition, staff who work in areas which are more likely to attract pests are provided with training to cover good hygiene practice, and ensure such areas are as inhospitable as possible to pests.
  2. Is rodent pest control managed in-house or contracted out? If the latter, who currently holds the contract and for how long have they held it?
    The pest control service is contracted out. The contract provides for a full-time pest control technician who conducts control of pests on the parliamentary estate. The contract is with Shield Pest Control UK Ltd, and has been held by them since 1 December 2011. You may like to note that the pest control contract covers a wide range of pests and not just rodents.
  3. What is the cost of rodent pest control in the Palace of Westminster (itemised by year) since 2010?
    Information about the cost of pest control from the financial year 2008/09 to 2013/14 is already available on the parliamentary website.
    The pest control spend for the 2014/2015 financial year is held by the House of Commons. This information is being withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act, as it is due for publication in July 2015 at the same link as mentioned above. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it.
    The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. There is also an interest in the cost to the tax-payer of pest control on the parliamentary estate. Against disclosure the argument is the interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing. It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities. Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.
    Please note that information is only held by financial years, not calendar years.
  4. Are glue traps (glue boards) used? If so, in which parts of the Palace?
    Glue traps are used as part of the integrated pest management programme, along with other kinds of traps. These are laid in high risk areas, which may change from time to time according to requirements.
  5. If rodent glue traps are used, what measures are taken to ensure the timely and humane disposal of animals caught in glue traps (please provide any documentation or guidance for staff in the Houses of Parliament regarding the humane disposal of animals caught in glue traps)?
    All pest control on the parliamentary estate is taken in accordance with appropriate regulatory standards. Glue boards are used in areas where rodent activity is higher or at more persistent levels, and alternative methods of control have proved ineffective. Treatments of this type are only conducted overnight or out of hours so as to avoid contact with people who work on the parliamentary estate. The site technician is present for the entire duration of treatments, and boards are inspected regularly. All rodents trapped in this way are dispatched promptly, using approved methods to minimise suffering. Treatments are always concluded prior to commencement of business the following day.
    Details of the best practice guidance (pdf 64KB) used by our contractor to humanely dispose of animals caught in glue traps on the parliamentary estate.
  6. Does rodent pest control fall under the remit of any body which includes Members of the House of Commons or House of Lords? If so, which body/bodies?
    Rodent pest control falls under the remit of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate and does not fall directly under any bodies which include Members of the House of Commons or House of Lords.

The House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords Committee are bodies that are ultimately responsible for services provided for and by the House, and some House Committees contain within their remit responsibilities which will ultimately govern the nature and level of services, including pest control, provided for Members of Parliament, staff and the general public whilst on the parliamentary estate. However, these bodies would not ordinarily be consulted on routine operational matters.