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

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City of Westminster 1951

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Westminster, City of]

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Rat and Mice Repression.

Complaints received1,306
Treatments carried out1,072
Inspections by Rodent Officer3,863
Inspections by the Sanitary Inspectors369
Notices served.
Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, 1949345
Rodents destroyed.
Black rats5,676
Brown rats1,417
Mice8,229
15,322
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Pigeons.
Under the provisions of Section 121 of the Public Health (London)
Act, 1936, the City Council, as a Sanitary Authority, is empowered for
the purpose of abating or mitigating any nuisance, annoyance or damage
caused by the congregation of pigeons in the City, having no owner,
or for preventing or minimising any such nuisance, annoyance or damage,
to reduce the number of such pigeons.

The following action was taken during the year in this connection:—

Premises visited5
Visits made120
Pigeons destroyed278
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Starlings.
In view of complaints received of nuisance and damage caused by
starlings roosting on buildings in the City, the Medical Officer of Health
has been exploring ways and means of preventing the birds from roosting
on buildings. As many Cities in America are similarly troubled with
starling roosts, the Medical Officer of Health has been in communication
with the civic authorities there on the subject.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has been consulted, also
the London Natural History Society who have made a special study
of the problem.
No ready and effective means of preventing starlings from roosting
has come to light. A limited experiment was carried out on one building
where a selected cornice was wired with low.power electric wiring
operated by batteries similar to the methods used to prevent cattle
from straying. This experiment showed that starlings avoided the
portion of the building so wired. It must be pointed out, however,
that this method is only capable of application to easily accessible ledges
on buildings, otherwise the erection of scaffolding for comprehensive


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