Potential impact of pest control services cuts

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging local authorities to ensure adequate funds are allocated to the vital pest control facility.

The BPCA National Survey 2016, released to coincide with World Pest Day, shows that staffing levels within UK local authority pest control units have been slashed by almost 25 per cent since 2012 and that response rates have dropped 33 per cent during the same period.

Of the 292 local authorities still operating a public pest control service, only seven per cent offer it free of charge - a trend that the BPCA says has the potential to create big problems, particularly in low-income areas.

Neath and Port Talbot, in south Wales, received more reports per head of population (almost 30 per 1,000 people) than any other authority in the UK. Bridgend County Borough Council, also in south Wales, was named top of the list for rats with almost 3,000 reports making up 93 per cent of its total number of call-outs. Hackney Council received the most requests (565) to deal with cockroaches, Stockport headed the table for wasps (1,949) and the authority with the highest call-out rate for ants was South Tyneside (954).

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: "Local authorities are under immense pressure to produce savings and a number of public services are being cut as a result. Many councils who once provided pest control free of charge have either introduced charges or done away with the service altogether in a bid to balance the books.

"Our survey reveals many of those still providing pest control are responding to significantly fewer reports. It's largely down to a lack of resources and that's really quite alarming. We want to ensure this does not affect public health and that short-term budget cuts don't result in higher costs further down the line.”

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