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Council takes rap on rats

PUBLISHED: 22:59 30 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:32 05 July 2010

THE thorny issue of how to deal with rat infestations across Waveney reared its head again this week.

MP Bob Blizzard stepped up his campaign against Waveney District Council's decision to scrap its free pest-control service.

THE thorny issue of how to deal with rat infestations across Waveney reared its head again this week.

MP Bob Blizzard stepped up his campaign against Waveney District Council's decision to scrap its free pest-control service.

But the council insisted it had received no complaints and said that the new system seemed to be working well.

Waveney MP Mr Blizzard has long been a critic of the council's decision to remove free pest control, and he launched his latest attack after visiting a constituent at Kessingland.

Pensioner Chloe Aylward, 71, of Clare Road, said she had often seen rats in her garden and was angry when told she would have to pay to get them removed. She believes some of the rodents come from neighbouring council-owned land.

Mr Blizzard said: “I am getting a lot of complaints about this. Rats know no boundaries, but if you are the only person who reports a problem you will pay for it in the end.

“It is a shared problem and it should be a shared solution. I think we will get a proliferation of rats because people will not report them if they get charged.”

Mr Blizzard said he would write to the council to ask it to pay for removing rats in Clare Road because of evidence that they were coming from local authority-owned land.

Waveney scrapped its free pest control service to save £60,000 a year. The cost of dealing with a rat infestation is now about £40, although the council provides a £20 subsidy to people on certain benefits.

Mrs Aylward was told she would have to pay £17.50.

A council spokesman would not discuss individual cases but said residents received an improved service thanks to special arrangements set up with Suffolk-based Command Pest Control, which has dealt with 65 rat treatments since April 1. And Ken Sale, Waveney's portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Feedback has been positive, and we have no evidence that residents are unhappy with an arrangement now common-place in councils across Suffolk.

“Frankly, the MP is trying to present isolated cases as a picture of widespread dissatisfaction.

“Although it is early days, the new arrangements are proving to be a success.”

For more details about the new arrangements visit www.waveney.gov.uk or call 01502 562111.

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