Fears pest control could affect health

Public health could be at risk in Great Yarmouth if a free council pest control is replaced by charges for dealing with rat and mice infestations instead, councillors have been told.

Public health could be at risk in Great Yarmouth if a free council pest control is replaced by charges for dealing with rat and mice infestations instead, councillors have been told.

Councillors look set to approve plans to ditch a free borough-wide pest control service for homeowners in a bid to save �20,000.

On Wednesday night the Borough Council's cabinet is to discuss six options looking at making the �20,000 cut - including charging up to �25 for five home visits, keeping the service as it is or scrapping the non-mandatory free service to rid homes of infestation.

Last year the council's three-man pest control team were asked to deal with 1,422 incidents of rat and mice infestation. In March the foreman is to retire and if the post is not replaced it could save the authority the �20,000 it wants to in 2010/11.


You may also want to watch:


However, cabinet papers circulated to councillors say the two remaining staff have raised concerns over how they would deal with the extra workload. The cabinet has been asked to approve an option to recruit a new part-time pest controller and introduce a nominal charge of �10 - creating a saving of �21,172.

Councillors will also hear how residents, especially in deprived areas of the borough, could be put off using the pest control service if they have to pay up to �25 in another option to be discussed.

Most Read

The cabinet environmental health papers say: “Public health maybe compromised as a result of unreported infestations as people maybe fearful they will face a charge. The introduction of a charge will hit vulnerable households most, particularly in the areas of highest deprivation in central and south Yarmouth.”

Other options councillors will discuss include keeping the system as it is, introduce a charge of �25 and employing a full time pest control officer, outsourcing or stopping the service completely.

If the council's pest control team is scrapped the cabinet papers say it would be lead to widespread increase in rats and mice as people would refuse to pay market prices for removing infestations.

Describing the current free arrangements the report says “The service prides itself on a swift response” and is “Well used and from customer feedback greatly appreciated”.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter