The role of the National Pest Advisory Panel

09 September 2020, Bob Mayho, Chair, National Pest Advisory Panel

Closeup of an Asian giant hornet insect

CIEH set up the National Pest Advisory Panel (NPAP) in 2001 to provide specialist advice and solutions on the problems caused by pests.

Its membership comprises experts drawn from across the pest management sector, with professionals from within the environmental health profession, industry, academia and relevant government departments and agencies.

The work of NPAP highlights CIEH's continued commitment to emerging public health issues and its determination to overcome these issues effectively. NPAP's mission is to promote the importance of pest management as an integral component of public health strategies and to support the sector with expert advice and guidance.

Over the years, the NPAP has undertaken a huge number of projects designed to raise awareness of pest management issues and to establish successful and effective pest management practices. The panel has published a large number of technical advice and guidance documents, which are available as free downloads on the Urban Pests Book website.

The panel has an ongoing work programme of projects which will add to this suite of advice and guidance. The current action plan includes a comprehensive review of the sewer baiting national protocol. The protocol, first published in 2000, sets out clear guidance on sewer baiting policy and practice and makes a strong case for proactive approaches.

While some local authorities still carry out sewer baiting, under contractual arrangements with water companies, most of this work is carried out by water companies themselves. Budget cuts have, however, inevitably meant that many of the companies have reduced their activity in this area, while proactive baiting is seldom carried out.

A review of the protocol came about in the light of the reduced frequency of baiting activity, changes in the regulatory labelling framework, and research from Germany showing evidence that rodenticide residues had entered aquatic systems. The panel has set up a project group which is overseeing the review of the protocol and it is hoped that a finalised document will be published before the end of the year.

Another project being pursued by the panel is a review of the advice on the Asian Hornet. Working closely with the Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS), the advice is currently being reviewed in the light of any confirmed sightings in the UK. So far this year, despite over 500 reports having been considered by the NNSS, there have been no confirmed cases. A new version of the advice will be issued shortly. At the time of writing, Asian Hornet Awareness Week, run by the British Beekeepers Association (BBA) is taking place. The BBA website has a wealth of information and advice about this invasive species.

NPAP has also worked closely with Public Health England and key government departments on the recent publication of the National Contingency Plan for Invasive Mosquitoes.

The panel keeps all its publications, advice and guidance under review to ensure that they continue to reflect and promote best practice.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to David Oldbury, a Fellow of CIEH and a founding member and former secretary of the NPAP, who has decided to step down from membership after over 20 years of service. David has been critical to the success of the Panel’s work and its impact. He is a passionate advocate of professionalism in the sector and the importance of pest management in public health. His absence will be a massive gap to fill and his retirement is richly deserved.

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