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Rat infestation fears

PUBLISHED: 11:15 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:18 05 July 2010

An MP campaigning against a council's decision to axe its free pest control service has reignited fears about an explosion of the rat population in his constituency, following fresh complaints from residents.

An MP campaigning against a council's decision to axe its free pest control service has reignited fears about an explosion of the rat population in his constituency, following fresh complaints from residents.

Bob Blizzard, who represents Waveney, said the recent wet weather had sparked new reports of infestations and called for council chiefs to reverse their decision to bring in a private company to run pest services.

Waveney District Council scrapped its free service in a bid to save £60,000, meaning the cost to residents of dealing with a rat infestation is now about £40.

Mr Blizzard, who was contacted by three separate constituents during the first week of September, said: “I was told by the former head of pest control at Waveney District Council, Mike Soloman, that rats are bolder in wet weather, and he was absolutely right.

“As I've said before, people are becoming more and more reluctant to report rats on their land, for fear of being charged. People understand-ably don't see why they should pay for rats coming from someone else's property…

“I'm particularly concerned that, with a wet autumn on the cards, Waveney could before too long be overrun by rats.

“Rats are a public problem, which requires a public solution. How many more examples will it take for the council to admit it has made a mistake?”

Mr Blizzard also called on the council to take action to tackle rats thought to be nesting on local authority-owned land next to pensioner Chloe Aylward's home in Clare Road, Kessingland.

Mrs Aylward, who first revealed the problem in May, said: “The rats have come back again and they are running all over the allotments and coming through to my garden. I have put bait down for them, but I can't afford to keep doing this.”

Ken Sale, Waveney District Council's cabinet member for the environment, said he was pleased with the high standard of service provided by the company brought in to run the service. The council provides a £20 subsidy to people on certain benefits.

Mr Sale added: “Customers have complimented the new company on its prompt and efficient service and the three complaints received by the MP, following his concerted publicity campaign, need to be viewed against the hundreds of successful treat-ments that go unreported.

“As for dealing with pests on its own land, the council takes its responsibilities very seriously and I would hope that residents with any concerns would contact the council direct, so we can take appropriate action to deal with such infestations.”

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