Cuts to pest control services could pose a serious risk to Perth and Kinross residents’ health.
The claim came from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) who revealed that Perth and Kinross Council is one of only four local authorities to entirely outsource the service.
BPCA, which represents companies that treat pest outbreaks around Britain, made Freedom of Information Act requests to every local authority in the UK, asking for information about the numbers of call-outs council pest controllers had attended in 2012.
And the results of its 2013 national survey put Perth and Kinross at the bottom bar one of a table detailing the pest control activities of 32 Scottish local authorities.
PKC’s position at the bottom came about because data showed it attended no call-outs in 2012 – because it does not directly provide a pest control service.
A council advice leaflet suggests concerned members of the public to make their own enquiries to find a solution for rats, bed-bugs and ants.
It states: “The council has a responsibility under the Prevention of Damages by Pests Act 1949 to ensure that infestations of rats and mice are eradicated.
“This does not mean that we will carry out the work ourselves or instruct the work to be carried out. Generally speaking it is either the owner or the occupier of the land or property who is responsible for ensuring that the necessary treatment is carried out to eradicate any infestation.”
But the BPCA has warned that cuts in pest control services could pose a risk to public health.
While the Big County, with a population of 147,000, took no direct action on pest problems, Dumfries and Galloway, with a similar population size of 151,000 responded to 1214 pest call-outs last year, putting it 19th in the table.
A spokesperson for BPCA said PKC was one of only four Scottish authorities that outsourced pest control services. Orkney, Western Isles and Aberdeenshire councils are the other three.
She said yesterday: “BPCA has noticed a worrying trend where councils are cutting or out-sourcing pest control services as they attempt to balance their budgets.
“Out-sourced pest control is not always as effective as it could be provided by someone who’s not a highly-trained BPCA member.”
On the UK’s big picture, BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester declared yesterday: “We’re concerned that at a national level, pest control services are being cut.
“Local authorities are under immense strain to come up with savings. The BPCA wants to make sure this doesn’t have an impact on public health.
“In the end, councils will have to step in because of their duty of care responsibilities and it will end up costing them much more than dealing with the problem properly in the first place.”
Credit: Daily Record