Waste Management

07.06.17

Council cuts lead to ‘alarming’ drop in pest control responses

Cuts to council budgets have led to a sharp drop in the number of pest control issues responded to by local authorities, it has today been revealed.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) investigation by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has found that the number of pest problems councils dealt with fell by 22% last year.

All but 26 of the 390 district, borough and unitary authorities in the UK replied to the FoI request.

The BCPA added that its research demonstrates how staffing levels within UK council pest units have been cut down 25% since 2012, and that response rates have also dropped by a third (33%).

“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,” said Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager.

“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.”

Ward-Thompson added that the BPCA wanted to ensure that this does not affect public health and that short-term budget cuts don’t result in higher costs further down the line.

The BPCA has also warned that of the 292 local authorities still operating a public pest control service, only 7% offer it free of charge – something that is likely to create bigger pest problems in low-income areas.

“Pests carry diseases and pose a significant threat to public health, but the cost of professional treatments, either through the local authority or the private sector, can be prohibitive when people are struggling to make ends meet,” Ward-Thompson continued.

“An infestation is likely to spread if it isn’t dealt with quickly and effectively. Treatments will then become more expensive and carry a greater risk.”

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