Update from the Environmental Health Department on fly issue in Feniton

Lesser houseflyThe following information has been received from the Environmental Health Department at East Devon District Council.

The information emphasises how important it is to work with Environmental Health officers to deal with any fly outbreak which can come from any number of sources.

During a time when there is a fly issue, in the first instance, any complaints should be referred to the Environmental Health team on 01395 517457 or email environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk.

We are also grateful for updates on how residents are being affected along with any evidence to show the severity of the fly problem. This usually involves either fly papers being put up in the areas worst affected inside the property or a collection of flies which have been knocked down by the resident over a certain period of time. This provides us with a snapshot of what the resident is experiencing in their homes and this helps us identify the specie of fly which in turn can assist us in our investigation to find the breeding ground.

Unfortunately, we do not have staff availability to visit each resident and collect fly papers, etc.  Any evidence should be placed inside a clear bag, similar to a food bag with a zip seal, and details written on the front which should include the residents name and address, along with details of how long it took to collect the flies (these can be sent to our new address in Honiton). This evidence is essential as it can provide that vital link with a potential source. There have been times when we could clearly show fly levels increasing and decreasing in line with the breeding ground being identified and action taken.

Our priority is always to try and ascertain where the flies are coming from and resolve the matter quickly.

We always take on board information provided by residents as they are usually best placed to know what is going on in their area and this is how links can sometime be made. Again any information concerning a potential breeding ground can be referred by email or called in to the Environmental Health team.

We have dealt with fly issues all over the district and  where the householder has collected 10 flies in a week and we do not see this as a nuisance. Other cases can involve any number of flies from 50 to 500 stuck to a paper over a week and these are the cases we concentrate on and ask the resident to monitor. Without this evidence we are unable to investigate their complaint and locate the source and bring the fly issue under control quickly. The level of flies and the duration of time someone is being affected is key to any nuisance investigation. Our main aim when we start receiving these kinds of figures is to make sure the problem is brought under control. If the source of the problem is identified and our recommendations are not carried out straight away or they have not exercised ‘best practical means’, then we are in a better position to start legal proceedings. If we have no evidence of the problem, then we will struggle to serve a legal notice on the business or pursue further if the notice is appealed.

We always have to ensure the link is proven and the source is unable to provide a defence of ‘Reasonable Excuse’.  If we are able to prosecute the business for breaching the notice and they are found guilty, they will receive a financial penalty. Neither the courts nor the Council has the power to shut a business down.

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A word about flies …

I share the concerns about the seemingly constant outbreaks of flies in Feniton and I appreciate the frustration that these outbreaks engender.

Lesser housefly

Lesser housefly

Everyone has a pet theory about the cause of the fly outbreak and voices these theories on the village Facebook page. That may help to make us feel that we are a community sharing the same (revolting) experiences, but in itself this will do nothing to help.

So … what to do?

We absolutely have to work with the Environmental Health Officers (EHO) at East Devon District Council to find a solution to the problem. And there won’t be one solution … each outbreak may be caused by different sources of flies.

The much favoured culprit used to be the poultry units around the village, but EHOs have been working with the farmer and he has been scrupulous in maintaining rigorously to an effective larvicide regime.

Flies on fly paper

Flies on fly paper

It may be tedious, but those affected need to put up fly papers for a week, date them with a start and end date, roll them up carefully at the end of the week and place them in a cardboard box (a cereal box is fine). These need to be taken to Blackdown House (the new EDDC headquarters on Heathpark in Honiton), addressed to Lucy Turner, Environmental Health Department, complete with your contact details, including address so that Lucy can monitor the geographical area of the complaint. If the outbreak continues, collecting evidence with fly papers has to continue too.

Lucy has the unenviable task of counting the flies to assess the level of the outbreak. She will be looking for numbers upwards of 100 … anything below that is not really considered a problem. She will also be able to identify the type of fly and this gives a clue to the source of the outbreak.

I know it’s tedious and time-consuming, but without the evidence, EHOs can’t act.

I’m in frequent contact with the EHO each time there’s an outbreak and she is out and about in the village, sometimes on her day off, to try and find the source.

Please don’t enter private property yourself (and apart from footpaths, farmland is private property) to try and find the source. We have to work with Lucy and help her in her job … please spare the time to collect and send her the evidence.

A couple of links which might be useful to give further background:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/pest-control/nuisance-flies/

https://susiebond.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/environmental-health-officers-are-on-the-case/

https://susiebond.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/latest-on-fly-outbreak-in-feniton/

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Amazing news for Feniton!

Viridor grant application successful …

The Parish Council heard last night that their application for funding to improve the Ely Close play area in the village has been successful.

Chairman of the Parish Council, Martyn Smith, announced the news on the village Facebook page, Feniton Focus:

Great News. The Parish Council have just heard that their bid for a grant from Viridor to renew the play area in Ely Close was successful and we will be receiving £28,000 in the near future. This means we will be able to start the work in the spring. Along with the Lottery grant of £10,000 for the QEII play area, this is more than we could have hoped for. My thanks to those who gave up their time to “go through all the hoops” needed for both of these grants. It was well worth all the effort!

20180710_120700

The Ely Close play area in desperate need of refurbishment.

The grant from Viridor will be swelled by contributions from local businesses, residents in the village, a grant from County Councillor Phil Twiss’s Locality Budget and monies from Feniton Parish Council reserves.

While funds were being sourced, a great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to get to this stage.

  • Community Engagement Officers from EDDC went into the primary school to consult with the children, so that the scheme is truly led by them.
  • Parish Councillors met with play area companies, each of which had their own ideas and thoughts on how best to spend the budget.
  • A steering group was set up to engage as many of the residents of the village as possible.
  • In November, a number of families came along to the Parish Council stand at St Andrew’s Fayre in the primary school to chat about the proposals and when they might come to fruition.

It’s been a busy and exciting time. However, we must now wait patiently.

In their email, Viridor says that we must wait for final sign-off by the Regulator before we can proceed. As soon as that comes through, the Parish Council will be looking to get the work done as soon as possible. The path through the Ely Close site is likely to be closed for the duration of the works (about a week).

However, that small amount of disruption will mean that Ely Close play area will provide up-to-date play facilities for the youngest (under 11 years) in the village.

 

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