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The use of glue traps to catch rodents by the general public will be banned across England after a Bill the UK Government supported was unanimously passed by the UK House of Lords in April 2022. Glue traps are currently widely sold to the public for as little as 99 pence, but from Summer 2024 it will be illegal to use them unless possessing a licence to do so.

The Glue Traps (Offences) Act 2021, which was a private member’s bill proposed in the Commons last year by Jane Stevenson MP, contains an exemption for “pest” control operatives who receive a licence to use them from the Secretary of State, so this is not a total ban. The exemption mirrors that of the 2015 glue trap ban in New Zealand. The glue trap licence may be, to any degree, general or specific, may be granted to all pest controllers, a class of “pest controllers” or a particular “pest controller” (whether or not on an application from the controller or controllers concerned), and may be subject to any conditions specified in the license.

Once enacted, it will be an offense in England for a member of the public or any animal controller without a licence to set a glue trap to either deliberately or accidentally catch a rodent, with a fine and/or up to 51 weeks in prison. Discovering a glue trap but failing, without reasonable excuse, to ensure it is disabled will also constitute an offence.

Naturalist Chris Packham said: “When wildlife, like mice and rats, are successful at living alongside humans, we label them ‘pests’ or ‘vermin’ and seem to think that’s a green light to completely disregard their welfare. Glue traps are a prime example of this. That attitude has to change. I commend HSI/UK on their Unstuck campaign victory and I’m delighted that cruel and unnecessary glue traps will now be taken out of public use, prompting a more compassionate and also effective approach to dealing with unwanted wildlife. This law is great news for mice and rats, but also for the many unintended victims who get stuck in the glue, such as delicate birds, grass snakes, frogs and hedgehogs.” The Scottish Government has indicated that it will ban glue traps as well.