London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Holborn 1929

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Holborn Borough]

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Where rat catchers are employed under the arrangements made by the Council,
information is given to the Medical Officer of Health by the firms employed
as to the work done and the results, but in many cases these or other firms are
called in apart from the Council's arrangements and information in such cases
may not be given to the local authority.
The question might be thought worthy of consideration whether it would be
advisable and useful if statutory obligation were placed on all persons carrying
out rat repression work to notify the presence of rats to the local authority. In
the absence of a statutory obligation to do so, it would be unreasonable to expect
the contracting firm to notify, as strong objection to such action might be taken
by occupiers. On the other hand, knowledge of the presence of rats in a particular
building might enable the local authority to initiate concerted action by owners of
other property in an infested block and so enhance the prospect of dealing effectually
with the pest. The firms who undertake rat repression work in the Borough
under the arrangements made by the Council have agreed to furnish information
of all their work in the Borough.
Rat Week.
In the observation of Bat Week in the Borough we endeavoured as in previous
years to secure during the six days, 4th to 9th November, intensive action and
co-operation by occupiers in rat infested blocks. As a corollary to this, the
importance of systematic routine work for the extermination of rats and the
prevention of rat infestation was emphasised.
Suitable poisons were sold in the Public Health Department and an increased
quantity of rat baits laid in the sewers under the Council's control. It is customary
to put down about 400 baits per week. During Rat Week the number was
increased to about 1,300. The sewermen reported that dead rats are not often
seen and they expressed the view that when dead the rats are washed away down
the sewers, and further that there has been a decrease in the number of rats
seen in the sewers during the past few years.
The results obtained from the special work in Bat Week are included in tho
summary table on page 22.
Rats from Disused Drains.
Tho London County Council (General Powers) Act, 1928, contains the following provisions
with respect to disused drains: —
(1) The owner or (in default of the owner) the occupier of any premises in, under
or attached to which there is to his knowledge a disused drain, shall give notice in
writing of the existence of such disused drain to the council of the metropolitan
borough in which the disused drain is situate.
(2) Any such notice as is required by sub-section (1) of this section shall be given
by the person required by that sub-section to give the same—
(a) where any channel work or apparatus is a disused drain at the commencement
of this Part of this Act forthwith after such commencement or Boon af'er
such commencement as the existence of such disused drain comes to the knowledge
of such persons; or