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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