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MP steps into rat service row

PUBLISHED: 17:57 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

THE controversial issue of how to deal with rat infestations across Waveney reared its head again last night with an MP stepping up his campaign against the district council's decision to scrap its free pest-control service.

THE controversial issue of how to deal with rat infestations across Waveney reared its head again last night with an MP stepping up his campaign against the district council's decision to scrap its free pest-control service.

However, Waveney District Council returned fire, saying it had received no complaints and insisting the new set-up had been a success.

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

Pensioner Chloe Aylward, 71, of Clare Road, said she had regularly seen rats in her garden and was angry when told she would have to pay to get them removed. She believes some of the rats 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 prolifer-ation of rats because people will not report them if they get charged.”

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

Waveney scrapped its free pest- control service in a bid 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 could not discuss individual cases but said residents got 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.

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 commonplace 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 arrange-ments 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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