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Rats increase claim rebuffed

PUBLISHED: 12:45 14 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:29 05 July 2010

A COUNCIL has hit back at claims that scrapping its free pest control service is the only factor which had led to an increase in the number of rats in Waveney.

A COUNCIL has hit back at claims that scrapping its free pest control service is the only factor which had led to an increase in the number of rats in Waveney.

The district's MP Bob Blizzard this week repeated his call for Waveney District Council to drop its charges for pest control - which were introduced last April- in light of an industry report which blames charges for the services for the increase in the rat population.

The National Rodent Survey, released this month, shows a marked increase in rat and mouse problems across the UK over the last year. It states that the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) has “major concerns over the progressive introduction of rodent control charges.”

Mr Blizzard has repeatedly called for the council to give up the charges, which were introduced in April last year.

He said: “This report just confirms what we all knew - that the council's decision to charge individuals for pest control was a terrible mistake.

“When you charge people for the council to get rid of rats, many people won't report them. They will either try - and fail - to get rid of them themselves, or they will just ignore them.”

But Ken Sale, the council's portfolio holder for the environment, said that any increase in rat population is down to a number of factors.

He said: “Waveney was still operating its free, in-house service when it supplied figures to the NPTA in 2006 and 2007 and there was still an increase in the rat population. Therefore Mr Blizzard's suggestion that it can be solely attributed to the introduction of charging is totally without foundation.

“All other councils in Suffolk that provide a service make a charge for domestic rat treatments and Waveney continues to provide people on specified benefits with a subsidy to help with costs.”

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