Wales

Pest control services cut by quarter of Welsh councils

Rat in pipe Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nine local authorities in Wales now charge for dealing with infestations

More than a quarter of Welsh councils will not provide pest control services to private homes from 1 April.

Wrexham and Denbighshire will be the latest authorities to withdraw the service after Powys, Monmouth and Newport stopped providing it in recent years.

Carmarthenshire was the first council to withdraw the service in 2011.

Nine local authorities now charge for dealing with all infestations, which is up from six councils two years ago.

Swansea, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Ceredigion and Conwy deal with rats for free, but charge for other types of infestations.

Health professionals are now warning of potential risk to children and pets from accidental poisoning as people try to solve problems themselves, rather than call private pest control companies.

'Real concern'

Julie Barratt, director of Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Wales, told Newyddion 9: "It's important to remember that council officers, pest control operatives were specialists.

"They knew what they were doing. They put pest products down in the right places, in safe places, they came along and checked them regularly and took them away.

"There is a real risk if people are left to their own devices that we're going to see cases of accidental poisoning of children and domestic pests and that's a real concern."

A Welsh Local Government Association spokesperson said: "Local councils in Wales face huge financial challenges, and this year alone will have to manage a collective £300m shortfall in their budget.

"With public sector austerity expected to last well into the future it is unavoidable that non-statutory services like pest control will continue to be placed under increasing financial pressure as councils try to balance the books."

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