Pests Act 1954 (England)

Rabbits and Occupier’s Duties

Under Section 1 of the Pests Act 1954, the whole of England, apart from the City of London and Isles of Scilly, has been declared a rabbit clearance area. Under Section 1(2) of the 1954 Act, all occupiers of land in a rabbit clearance area have a continuing obligation to kill or take any wild rabbits living on, or resorting to, their land, unless they can establish that it is not reasonably practicable to do so.

If it is not practicable to destroy the rabbits, occupiers have an obligation to prevent the rabbits from causing damage elsewhere by, for example, fencing them in with rabbit-proof fencing.

The obligation to control rabbits is irrespective of the use being made of the occupier’s land or that of their neighbours.

Section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947 gives powers to the Secretary of State to serve a notice on an occupier to take specified action against rabbits.

Natural England further information is here.

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