Report your flies

The Parish Council are trying hard to ensure that we do not have a re-occurrence of the flies which plagued the village last year. We have been in contact with the Environmental Health officers at South Cambridgeshire District Council and I am copying a letter from Susan Walford, the operational manager, below. The Russell referred to is Russell Watkins, who was the case officer last year. I suggest that, if you have any concerns whatsoever about flies in your property, you should phone the number given below. If you are in contact with Environmental Health it would be great if you could drop me an email so that the PC can keep track of potential problems and make contact with Joice and Hill (the operators of the poultry units).

Dear Ms Macpherson

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your concerns about potential ongoing problems with the flies which were associated with Home Farm last summer. I have consulted with Emma Trollope, Russell’s line manager who was involved with one of the site visits last year so she is fully familiar with the history of the case.

Emma witnessed first hand the seriousness of the infestation and I spoke to a number of complainants therefore we fully understand the level of concern felt by residents following last year’s problems. We have reviewed the actions taken by Russell and also had discussions with him to confirm the situation as of now.

• All of the recommendations in terms of structural works to the hen houses have been completed, this was confirmed by his visit on 17/3/14 and his subsequent e-mail to yourself. These works are internal and so would not be visible to anyone outside the site.

• All farm supervisors/managers underwent training in February on fly monitoring techniques.

• The hen houses are monitored every 5 days and this involves both sampling of manure for maggots and pupae and monitoring for live adult flies. All results are recorded and available for inspection by Environmental Health. The last samples taken were 100% clear for both maggots and flies.

• Any required insecticide treatments will be informed by this monitoring programme and carried out when necessary (you will recall from last year that the use of insecticides is heavily regulated and controlled and therefore needs to be applied under strict control).

I note that you have requested that Russell carry out surprise visits to the site this year, including sampling. We support Russell’s view that this is not an appropriate intervention in such circumstances. It is the company’s responsibility to manage pest control at it’s site. Last year monitoring was carried out by an experienced entomologist (financed by the local authority) in order to inform and advise the company on how to manage the infestation and our role was to verify that his recommendations were implemented by the company. The actions listed above have evidenced that the infestation was brought under control and the training staff have received together with the new monitoring programme put in place will mean that should the fly problem begin to establish itself, treatment will be applied at a very early stage before the adult flies emerge thus precluding the infestation experienced last year.

Flies are common place in the rural village environment and vary in numbers dependent upon weather conditions throughout the year. I would ask that if resident’s feel that there are an unusually large number of flies and wish to report this then they can do so via our contact centre by calling 03450 450063. Emma will ensure the contact centre manager is briefed on the history of the case so that residents do not have to give a lengthy review of the issue. We will then undertake to investigate further.

I hope that this helps to clarify our position and to allay some of the fears concerning a repeat infestation this summer.

Best regards
Susan

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Flies 2014

After the horror of last summer the PC, with the local Environmental Health officers, has ensured that the necessary structural improvements to the chicken houses have been made. These should significantly lessen the likelhood of a similar fly plague this year. The situation is being closely monitored. We ask that if anyone notices an increase in flies to let us know straightaway so action can be taken – fingers crossed for a fine, fly-free summer.

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