Warwick District Council set to scrap parts of its pest control service due to rising costs

Warwick District Council has said it will no longer treat rats, mice and other pests other than those on their own land or in their own properties.

A telephone advice service will deal with all other enquiries, directing callers to commercial pest control companies or other council departments such as the environmental health team if the problem was related to a food outlet.

Cllr Judy Falp, the council’s portfolio holder for health and community, said the decision followed a three-year struggle to balance the books and recruit the right people.

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Warwick District Council will no longer treat rats, mice and other pests other than those on their own land or in their own properties. Stock Image

In her report to councillors, Marianne Rolfe, the council’s head of safer communities, leisure and environment, explained that while local authorities were not legally required to provide a pest control service, they had certain statutory duties under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949.

These included serving enforcement notices on any landowner who failed to keep their land free from rodents.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Geraldine Cullinan said: “People are dealing with a really serious problem. They are seeing rats in their gardens, rats in the road and rats in nursery play areas.

"It is a serious problem that I feel can’t be left to just the private sector to deal with.”

Referring to current issues in north Leamington at the back of a number of restaurants she added: “What happens when a whole area is struggling with these problems, individual treatments are not going to work.”

Cllr Chris King added: “There are invitations all over town for rat infestation. It is a problem and we have nothing to offer residents concerned about it. This is a very unsatisfactory situation.”

The report said the council were regularly left out of pocket when dealing with rats and other vermin and that the switch to an advice and regulatory intervention service would save more than £60,000 each year – with the sale of the two pest control vans bringing in an additional £3,000.

Councillors were told that there had been discussions with neighbouring authorities about joining forces but both Rugby Borough Council and Stratford District Council declined and Coventry City Council stopped its pest control service in July.

The decision was approved at the council's cabinet meeting on Thursday (November 3).

Cllr Alan Boad added: "The simple thing is that we are not providing a very good service now so you can argue as much as you like but we can’t deliver the service. Some home truths have to come in here."