There are several statutory instruments relating to the work that we do within pest control. These can generally be divided into four categories.

  • Animal Welfare and Control

Legislation relating to the humane control of harmful creatures and the protection of non-target species and the environment.

  • Pesticide Legislation

Legislation relating to the way pesticides may be brought to the market, their sale, use, storage and disposal.

  • Health and Safety Legislation

Legislation protecting the health and safety of employees and the general public from activities being carried out at work.

  • Food and Public Health Legislation

Legislation relating to the provision of food fit for human consumption and prevention of unsanitary conditions within neighbourhoods.


  • Act

A primary piece of legislation, passed by parliament, laying down in broad terms what is permissible and what is not permissible under the Act.

  • Regulations

A more specific piece of legislation made under the Act. Regulations are legal documents and an Act can have several sets of regulations made under it.

Animal Welfare Control

  • The Pest Act 1954

This act principally affects the control of rabbits, giving all occupiers a continuing obligation to control rabbits on or resorting to their land. Spring traps are only to be used if approved under the Spring Trap Approval Order 1995 and set wholly over the overhang of the burrow.

  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

This is the principle piece of legislation protecting birds and other animals. All wild birds, their nests and eggs are given protection. There are a number of general licenses issued under this act that enable certain birds to be killed or taken by authorised persons at any time. The general license most commonly used for general pest control is one which allows certain species to be killed or taken for the preservation of human health and safety. The Act also gives protection to wild animals including bats, red squirrels, otters, water voles, grass snakes, adders and many more. It also prohibits certain methods for killing and taking wild animals such as self-locking snares, bows, crossbows and exploding devices.

  • The Protection of Badgers Act 1982

This Act makes it an offence to kill or attempt to kill, injure or take a badger or interfere with a badger set. Provision has been made to apply for a licence to carry out actions that are forbidden under the Act

  • The Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996

This Act makes it an offence to mutilate, kick, beat, impale, stab, burn, stone, crush, asphyxiate, drown or drag any wild animal with the intent to cause harm. Exceptions allow for pest control provided the animal is killed swiftly.

  • Animal Welfare Act 2006

This Act is mainly concerned with captive animals. Animals in traps are the responsibility of the person placing the trap and the animal should be provided with food and water.

Pesticide Legislation

  • Food and Environment Act 1985
    This Act is often referred to as FEPA and has four main objectives:

1) Protecting the health of human beings, creatures and plants
2) Safeguarding the environment
3) Securing safe, efficient and humane methods of controlling pests
4) Making information about pesticides available to the public

  • Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986
    These regulations are often referred to as COPR and are made under the
    Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. Under these regulations only approved pesticides may be advertised, supplied or used.

Health and Safety Legislation 

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This Act places the responsibility and duties on employers and employees, the self-employed and others with regard to the health, safety and welfare of people at work and protecting other people to risks to health and safety arising from activities of people at the work place.

  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

Often referred to as COSHH Regulations, they impose duties on employers to protect employees and other persons who may be exposed to substances hazardous to health.

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992

These regulations are made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and are primarily concerned with the safe working practices of employers. It is these regulations that require employers to implement health and safety measures that are identified by Risk Assessments on all jobs carried out by employees

  • Work at Height Regulations 2005

These regulations are made under the health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and are concerned with all aspects of working above ground level.

Food and Public Health Legislation 

  • Public Health Act 1936 and 1961

Under this Act Local Authorities are given powers and responsibilities regarding ‘verminous premises’, under this Act, Local Authorities can;

1) Serve notice requiring the removal of wall paper and other coverings towalls and take action regarding the control of vermin

2) Service notice requiring the disconnection of drains or the sealing of disused or unnecessary drains

3) Serve notice requiring the removal of rubbish

4) Deal with nuisance or damage in built up areas caused by feral pigeons

  • The Prevention of Damage by Pests Acts 1949

This Act puts responsibility on the Local Authority to make sure that its district is kept free from rats and mice. The Local Authority can enforce duties on the land owners and occupiers of the land to get rid of rats and mice living on their land.

  • The Food Safety Act 1990

This Act is not directly concerned with pests or pest control but with the safety of food and human consumption. Pests contaminate food and spread diseases and are therefore relevant to the Act.

Offences under the Act:

To sell food for human consumption that fails to comply with food and safety requirements.

Food will fail to comply with food safety requirements if it is so contaminated that it is unreasonable to expect it to be eaten.

This offence may not just apply to food for retail sale or offer but at any point in the food chain and therefore covers food ingredients.


Food and Public Health Legislation 

  • The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006

These regulations are made under the Food Safety Act 1990. Different regulations have been produced for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

These regulations have requirements that relate to pest control: 

  • The layout, design and construction of premises shall permit good food hygiene practices and pest control.
  • Windows which open to the outside should be fitted with insect proof screens
  • Refuse stores must be designed and managed so as to enable then to be kept clean and free of pests.
  • Adequate procedures to control pests must be in place such as:

1) Proofing of entrance points

2) Insect screens

3) Electric Fly Killers

4) Good stock rotation

5) Regular surveys and monitoring for pests

Contact BioPest Management Ltd today so that we can offer our expertise and knowledge to support you in your quest to adhere to the above law and legislation.

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