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

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Malden and Coombe 1949

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Malden & Coombe]

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An occupier of land (which includes houses, buildings, etc.)
will now be under a legal obligation to give the Local Authority
notice in writing if it comes to his knowledge that rats or mice
are living on or resorting to the land in substantial numbers. It
may be mentioned here that no definition is given in the Act as
to the meaning of 'substantial numbers'.
Provision is made for the enforcement of rat destruction
on infested land and in giving notice to the owner, occupier or
both the Local Authority may specify the form of treatment to
be given and also the work required to prevent reinfestation.
To those Authorities who did not accept delegation of
powers under the old Act this will mean making a commencement
and building up a new organisation but to us, with an
efficient staff already operating who have been doing this work
for a number of years, it will have little affect except perhaps
the strengthening of powers already possesed.
Part 2 of the Act deals with the infestation of food and
will be administered by the Ministry of Food, but power of
delegation to Local Authorities is given, with the exception of
making certain Regulations.
No application was received during the year to bury or
cremate the body of a dead person in accordance with the provisions
of section 50 of the National Assistance Act, 1948.
Measures to prevent undue cricket infestation at the
Corporation refuse tip in the Norbiton Potteries pit and at the
depot, piggeries, etc., in California Road were successfully
Movements of tenants from Council property were far more
frequent than in previous years since the War. In all cases
which numbered forty-one the houses, on becoming vacant are
carefully inspected for any signs of bed-bug infestation before
reoccupation and, in those cases where evidence of infestation
is discovered, appropriate steps are taken.
Choked public sewers (combined drains) were cleared on
one-hundred and sixty-two occasions by the department. In
a few instances the assistance of sewermen from the Borough
Engineer's department had to be obtained.
Several complaints were received alleging excessive noise
from factory premises. The Council has limited powers under
the Maiden and Coombe Urban District Council Act to deal