Cuts to pest control services posing 'significant threat to public health' finds research
Councils have been forced to cut their pest control units by 25% since 2012, leading to a dramatic decrease in the number of reports dealt with, new research has revealed.
A freedom of information request by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) shows that the number of pest control issues handled by local authorities fell by 22% last year.
It also showed that only 7% of local authorities still provide a pest control service free of charge.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: ‘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.’
The survey found that Neath and Port Talbot received more reports per head of population than any other authority in the UK.
Bridgend County Borough Council was named top of the list for rats with almost 3,000 reports, while Hackney Council received the most requests to deal with cockroaches.
Mrs Ward-Thompson added: ‘There may be a number of localised factors why certain areas feature more prominently than others.
‘Some authorities, for example, will have many urban areas within their boundaries while others will be largely rural. Some will have lots of food establishments, which tend to attract pests, and others could have less frequent bin collections.
‘However, it's important to recognise higher figures could simply illustrate that a local authority is working proactively to manage any issues.’