Coun­cil cuts pest con­trol to save £60k

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - BELINDA RYAN

THE COUN­CIL has rub­ber stamped plans to re­duce its pest con­trol ser­vices to save £60,000.

Four Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lors at the Cheshire East Coun­cil’s Com­mu­ni­ties Scru­tiny Com­mit­tee voted to up­hold the de­ci­sion to cut the ser­vice at last week’s meet­ing.

The com­mit­tee heard from Coun Brian Roberts that three lo­cal pri­vate com­pa­nies he had con- tacted charge far more than the coun­cil for ser­vices to deal with rats, mice, wasps and other pests.

He said na­tional pest con­trol ex­perts had iden­ti­fied ‘that the main causes of the ro­dent prob­lem in this coun­try are poorly man­aged do­mes­tic waste, in­crease in food waste, de­fec­tive drains and sew­ers, fly-tip­ping and feed­ing of wild birds’.

He at­trib­uted much of the prob­lem to over­flow­ing bins and bin bags left in the street, but said it would be res­i­dents who would end up pay­ing the cost. He said: “Sadly rats do not stay in the of­fender’s yard, so those who have not caused the prob­lem also be­come the ca­su­al­ties of the prob­lem and the health risk. They have a right to be pro­tected by the coun­cil.”

Coun Gil­bert said the coun­cil’s statu­tory func­tion to take all prac­ti­cal ac­tion to con­trol ro­dents would con­tinue. But pest con­trol was dis­cre­tionary.

“The real ques­tion for me is, who pays for the ser­vice? Should it be the ser­vice user or tax­payer gen­er­ally? If I call out a plumber to fix a leak in my house I ex­pect to pay his bill. If I call out a pest con­trol con­trac­tor to get rid of my mouse should I ex­pect taxpayers gen­er­ally to pick up the tab?”

He said there were a num­ber of ways res­i­dents could help pre­vent pest prob­lems, in­clud­ing by not feed­ing birds.

He added: “We will main­tain an in-house pest con­trol ser­vice but lim­ited to rats and mice with charges that are in­tended to cover the costs. The lim­ited re­sources avail­able to the coun­cil in a pe­riod of aus­ter­ity in­evitably dic­tate hard choices.”

The vote means the coun­cil will now scrap all ser­vices deal­ing with pests such as wasps, ants and fleas.

It will still deal with ro­dents but the price for that is to jump by 400 per­cent from £10 to £40, with a con­ces­sion­ary charge of £20 for peo­ple on in­com­ere­lated ben­e­fits.

This latest cost-cut­ting mea­sure was rat­i­fied less than four weeks af­ter the coun­cil voted through pay in­creases to­talling £55,000 for four of its top bosses.

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