800-plus call-outs to deal with rats in Burnley

PEST CONTROL: Burnley Council had 22 cockroach call-outs in one year (s)

PEST CONTROL: Burnley Council had 22 cockroach call-outs in one year (s)

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BURNLEY Council was called out more than 800 times in one year, to alleviate problems with rats.

The newly-released figures, from the first British Pest Control Association (BPCA) National Survey, relate to a 12-month period up to April 2011.

BPCA sent Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests to all district, borough and unitary authorities asking for service demand figures, and every council responded.

Out of 314 English local authorities in the UK, Burnley was ranked 39th for problems with rats, with the council having been called out 823 times.

There were 42 issues with bed bugs, the 31st worst figure, while there were 22 cockroach call-outs, the 42nd worst figure.

Overall, Burnley Council dealt with 12.26 pest problems per 1,000 residents over a year, which was the 117th highest figure out of all 314 English local authorities.

A council Streetscene spokesman said: “The council has rigorous pest control programmes in place to improve these figures.

“We have been improving and reducing pest problems year-on-year in the last few years, which has resulted in reduced pest problems and a reduction in call outs.

“The figures referred to are for 2010/11. We had 823 requests for the service for rats, as compared to 910 the previous year, and this has reduced further to 754.

“Our comprehensive sewer baiting programme of the whole borough is working well.

“With regard to cockroaches, the 2011/12 figures were less than half the previous year, dropping from 22 to 10. Our recording system does not differentiate between fleas and bedbugs and these figures for the last three years have remained static.”

But Simon Forrester, chief executive at the BPCA, said that were still concerns that pest control budgets were being hit on a national scale.

He said: “This is the most comprehensive study of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control ever carried out and it covers a period when the austerity measures were starting to bite.

“That may make it harder for councils in England to respond as effectively as they would like, which could have implications for both quality of life and public health.

“Authorities are reducing manpower and looking at new ways of dealing with pests.

“We would urge councils thinking of outsourcing services to use BPCA members – potential public health problems need to be dealt with by professionals.”