Locating the source of an insect nuisance can be a difficult and lengthy process. Local authorities have a duty, however, to take reasonable steps, where practicable, to investigate any complaints of insect nuisance.
From 6 April 2006, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 added to the descriptions of statutory nuisance listed in section 79(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1990 to include:
"any insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance."
This provision does not apply to insects from domestic premises which may in some circumstances be covered by another section of the act or to insects listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (see link on this page), unless they are included in that schedule solely to prevent their trade or sale. This measure is intended to provide local authorities with a remedy to nuisances from insect infestations whether naturally occurring or caused by human activities on 'relevant' industrial, trade or business premises.
However, it is not meant to be used against most naturally occurring concentrations of insects on open land or in ways that would adversely affect biodiversity. Accordingly, it excludes the following from the definition of 'relevant' industrial, trade and business premises:
- Land used as arable, grazing, meadow or pasture land (but not structures placed on the 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 1,2 or 3 above), and which is of a description specified in regulations
- Land included in a site of special scientific interest, and land covered by, and the waters of, rivers, watercourses (except sewers and drains), lakes and ponds.
Certain types of land are exempted from being capable of statutory nuisance from insects in order to safeguard endangered species, and protect biodiversity.
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 stations