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

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City of Westminster 1966

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

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The City Council's sewers discharge into the trunk sewers of the Greater London Council and are
controlled and maintained by the City Engineer. All premises in Westminster are connected to the
main drainage system, the sewage passing to disposal works of the Greater London Council outside
the area of the City. Although on occasions of exceptionally long and heavy rain-fall the trunk
sewers at some points have been unable to accept the discharge of the City Council's sewers, in
general, the arrangements for Westminster appear to be adequate and there were no reports of
flooding during 1966. Flood levels reached at times of peak discharge are notified to the City
Council and are taken into account when development plans etc., from Architects or others are
under consideration.
Town Planning
Observations were made by the Department on 78 plans submitted to the Council under the Town
and Country Planning Act 1962.
Rodent Control
During the year a Pest Control Officer was appointed and he is responsible for a staff of eight
rodent operatives who are based on two centres, 313/319 Harrow Road for the northern half of the
City, and at Brydges Place, Covent Garden, for the southern half of the City.
Primary and follow-up visits are made in respect of complaints of rat and mouse infestation in
domestic and business premises without charge. A free disinfestation service is provided for
domestic premises; for work carried out in business premises an undertaking is signed and a charge
is made for short-term treatment only. Where treatment is necessary on a long-term basis and
requires regular attention, business firms are advised to employ a commercial pest control organisation.
A review of methods of treatment has been undertaken during the year with particular regard to
formulations of poison baits now in use in accordance with the recommendations of circulars
issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Statistics in regard to Rodent Control are given in Table 13, page 69.
Insect Pest Control—Disinfestation
The work of insect disinfestation is carried out from two centres, Lissonia, 217 Lisson Grove,
N.W.8. and Wedlake Street Medicinal Baths, Kensal Road, W.10., by a staff of five disinfectors
who combine disinfection work with vermin control.
Insecticidal treatment has been revised during the year and the formulations of spray and powder
now in use are specified with particular regard to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
recommendations in respect of residual effects of certain persistent organochlorines.
As for rodent control, a free service is provided in domestic premises but in business premises
where insect control is a matter of routine maintenance it is advised that a commercial pest control
organisation be employed.
During the year, 1,818 rooms were disinfested.
During the year, 89 rooms, 4,145 articles of bedding and clothing, and 644 books were disinfested.
The Department continued to be asked by residents to certify that clothing intended for despatch
to foreign countries, mainly in central and eastern Europe, was free from infection. Disinfection was
carried out only when the articles concerned had actually been in contact with infectious disease.
Sixty certificates were issued indicating that no infectious disease had been reported for at least
one month at the premises from which the clothing was purported to have come.
Pigeon Control
Section 74 of the Public Health Act, 1961, empowers the City Council to take any steps necessary
for the purpose of mitigating any nuisance, annoyance or damage caused by the congregation
of pigeons in a built-up area.
Where pigeons congregate at their feeding or roosting sites much fouling of the adjacent buildings,
or other surfaces, is caused by their droppings. At their nesting sites the fouling is more concentrated
which, apart from being unsightly, encourages insect and mouse infestation. The control of
pigeons is not helped by the indiscriminate and regular feeding of pigeons by members of the public
which is almost always the cause of the concentrations of pigeons which give rise to complaint.
The investigation of complaints is carried out by the Public Health Inspectors and the Pest Control
staff who, depending upon the circumstances of the complaint, arrange wherever possible the
remedial measures to be taken and give advice, where necessary, on the use of repellants.

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