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Continued Free Pest Control of Rats and Mice Recommended

Published on: 11 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 16 Dec, 2013

rat 1Free pest control of rats and mice will continue to be provided by Guildford Borough Council if, as expected, a council committee’s recommendation is accepted by the Executive.

The Customer and Community Scrutiny Committee heard last night, (December 10) that as well as rats and mice, pest controllers had also dealt with bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, and wasps which, after rats and mice, were the most troublesome pest in the borough.

Some reports state that the  booming UK rat population will reach 200 million in 2014. In Guildford borough, rats and mice were, according to council figures, by far the biggest pest problem in the last five years. For the single year 2012/13, of the 1640 requests made 1394 were for these rodents.

Charges are made for the control of other pests, a policy questioned by some at the meeting. They considered it questionable that if the maintenance of public health was the reason behind the free council services then why were pests such as bed bugs and fleas, known to the potential vectors of disease, not also free.

mouseBut it was pointed out by the council officers presenting the recommendation that concessions for those in receipt of Housing or Council Tax benefits are available.

As part of the work  leading to the recommendation, the age of those requesting pest control services had been analysed. The result showed that those aged over 50 were far more likely to request council pest control services than others.

Several theories were put forward to explain this including the belief that older residents were more likely to know that the council provided a pest control service. Younger residents, it was thought, might be more likely to deal with the problem themselves.

The recommendation, agreed by the committee, was for GBC to continue to offer a contracted out pest control service but include administration, a function the council has retained in house, until now. The new contract will be jointly procured with Surrey Heath and Woking borough councils.

The costs of the service to GBC amounted to almost £68,000 in 2011-12 and nearly £80,000 in 2012-13.

Committee chairman, Cllr Terence Patrick said after the meeting: “I think the committee came to the right decision this evening in accepting the recommendation put forward by the council officers and passing it up to the Executive, for their approval.

“It is important that certain pests are controlled for the maintenance of public health.”

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