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Sun, 14 April 2024

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By Baroness Fox
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Commons Has Spent Over £50,000 Ridding Parliament Of Pests

A seagull in Westminster (Alamy)

3 min read

House of Commons authorities spent more than £54,000 on pest control measures to keep mice, rats, foxes and birds at bay in the first seven months of this year, data has shown.

Between 1 April and 1 November 2023, the Commons spent £54,532 excluding VAT on pest control of all forms, according to data obtained under freedom of information laws.  

The spending is to tackle pests on the Parliamentary estate – which according to authorities include mice and moths, as well as other animals such as pigeons, foxes and rats. 

The figures indicate that the total spend for the 12 months to April 2024 could climb above last year’s total of £75,697 for pest control across the whole year. 

Parliament releases these figures annually, and the amount spent has increased year-on-year since 2020, when there were fewer people in Parliament as a result of the pandemic. 

In 2021/22, the pest control charges totalled £73,418, and in 2020/21 it was £65,738. 

Last year’s total is some way off the total pest control spend for 2019/20, however, when the costs totalled £89,604. 

Of the 2022/23 total, £61,114 was spent on what Parliament called ‘general controls’, while £12,312 was for bird control, and the remaining amount for consultancy. 

Increases in costs in recent years have been attributed to rising inflation and an increasing amount of building work being done on the parliamentary estate. 

While the number of mice and moth sightings are recorded individually, all "other" pests, which according to Parliament can include rats, foxes and pigeons, are recorded together as one category.

Figures also show that mouse sightings across the estate for 2023 are up on recent years. Up to the 30th October this year, 265 mice sightings were reported, up on the 259 across the whole of 2022. 

These numbers are up on 2021 and 2020, when 107 and 231 sightings were recorded respectively, but there were periods of those years with fewer people working on the estate due to Covid restrictions. 

All of these years are significantly down on 2019, when 661 mice sightings were reported on the estate.

In 2022, there were 78 detections of "other" pests on the estate, while there were 44 reports of moths. 

It is thought that the proximity of the estate to the River Thames as well as Westminster tube station makes the area particularly vulnerable to pests. 

“Parliament is a safe place to work, with robust hygiene processes in place," a Parliamentary spokesperson said.

“We are committed to maintaining a humane and ethical pest control programme, focussed on preventative measures and, where necessary, the use of various control methods.

"Value for money remains a key consideration and we will, as ever, continue to follow all legislative and regulatory obligations.”

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