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1,043 laws in the UK give officials access to peoples homes

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The 1,043 laws – nearly half of which have been introduced under Labour – include the right to inspect pot plants for pests, to measure the height of hedges, to search bedrooms for asylum seekers and to look at fridges for their energy rating.

The information will heighten fears among campaigners that Britain is becoming a "Big Brother" society. The Conservatives claimed that the list of powers of entry was "quietly slipped out" without a press release on the Home Office website.

A total of 420 new powers of entry have been introduced by Labour since it came to power in 1997. Sixteen more are contained in laws due to be approved by Parliament in the next few weeks.

The Plant Health (England) Order 2005 allows inspectors to enter homes to see if plants have pests or if certain types of plants have been smuggled in without a "plant passport".

Section 74 of The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 allows councils to check if a hedge is too high.

The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 can be used to allow officials to ensure accommodation provided to asylum seekers is not being used by others.

Although it is aimed at business, the Energy Information (Household Refrigerators and Freezers) Regulations 2004 can also be used to seize fridges with an incorrect energy rating.

Council bin inspectors already have the authority to enter homes and take photographs for evidence. Those who obstruct them face the threat of a £5,000 fine.

The Tories said the development was proof that Gordon Brown was reneging on his promise to curtail such laws by introducing a "liberty test" to limit state intrusion.

Eric Pickles, the shadow communities secretary, said: "Day by day under Labour, the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens are being eroded."


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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