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What impact will the Glue Traps (Offences) Act have?

Published 11th November, 2022 by Ian Andrew

Ian Andrew

Ian Andrew

CEO
BPCA
The British Cleaning Council

Ian Andrew, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), discusses rodent control and the impact this new law could have on public health and businesses.
Ian Andrew, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), discusses rodent control and the impact this new law could have on public health and businesses.

GLUE traps are trays coated with sticky adhesive and used to catch pests. Having been at the forefront of the battle to keep glue traps for professional use, the BPCA has heard all the arguments for and against them.

It’s fair to say most glue trap misuse comes from amateur users and not professionals, so we agree that stopping amateur use of rodent glue traps can only be a good thing. But as public health professionals we had to consider the implications a total ban would have.

Pest professionals use glue traps for the rapid control of infestations on sensitive sites, like hospital wards and care homes. These are often sites with extremely vulnerable people, who are more at risk from diseases carried by pests, such as Salmonella and Listeria. This is why we lobbied for a licensing system to keep these tools in the kits of professional pest technicians.

Our concern was that if you remove a fast and effective tool from the toolkit, we might end up with more rodent activity in those sensitive sites, particularly around food. No one wants an extra helping of rat poop in their porridge!

Skip to April this year and the Bill became law, after receiving Royal Assent. But our lobbying was successful and glue traps will still be available to professionals under a licensing scheme in England. We are still in conversation with the devolved nations. Government ministers in Scotland and Wales are calling for an outright ban. No ban is being considered in Northern Ireland currently.

The Glue Traps (Offences) Act will ensure licences to use them are only issued to professional pest controllers on ‘an exceptional basis’. Anyone found to have used a trap without a licence could face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine. The ban will come into force by April 2024.

Currently glue traps are still on the shelves, with a lead-in period of two years set by the Government, giving them time to create the licensing system and take glue traps off sale for the public. However, there are still some concerns that we share with our members.

The details of the licensing scheme have yet to be decided and we have a considerable interest in making sure that the system is workable. What do we mean by that? As mentioned, glue traps are used in situations where rapid control is needed, before infestations get out of control. For example, one breeding pair of rats has, on average, around eight kittens per litter, two litters in two months and within a year, with no control measures in place and the kittens now breeding, you're looking at over 1000 rats.

You can see why time is of the essence, and if licences are issued on a case-by-case basis, this could render glue traps useless. You’ve now got an established infestation that’s going to take much longer to control and people’s health will be at risk.

We’ve always understood the concerns of animal welfare groups on the subject of glue traps, but professional pest controllers need to have the tools to protect public health and that has to be our priority.

They’re right - in the wrong hands, these can be nasty tools with potentially disastrous consequences for non-target and target species. But a licensing scheme that works is now critical in order for our industry to continue to protect the health of the general public.

Could your organisation lend support to the BPCA? We’re on the lookout for allies to put up their hands and support the continued use of glue traps for professionals. Please reach out to me to start an informal and confidential conversation: ian@bpca.org.uk

About the contributor

Ian Andrew

Ian Andrew

CEO

BPCA

An experienced senior leader with extensive experience in the field of membership, qualifications, training and development.

Senior management experience in a variety of environments including major national training company, customer contact centre, charitable organisation, professional body and trade association.

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