Bolton Council to offer free rat catching service as rodent infestations rise

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A free service to control rats in homes is to be introduced by Bolton Council after neighbours fell out over ‘who owns the rats’.

The decision was made after the authority said that since charges were introduced for domestic pest control, there had been a ‘noticeable decline’ in requests for rodent treatments at the same time problems with rats were getting worse.

Prior to June 2020, the council provided a free of charge rodent treatment service for all domestic customers.

The Bolton News said that, at that time, due to budget cuts, the authority introduced a charge of £40 for treatments relating to rats and mice in homes. The fee currently stands at £46 per booking.

A report to the cabinet member for regulatory services, Cllr Sue Haworth, outlined the arguments for a return to free pest control in homes.

It said: “Prior to June 2020, the service provided a free of charge rodent treatment service with the underlying principle behind this to look after the public health of of residents.

“Following this change in policy, a noticeable decline in requests for rodent treatments relating to domestic dwellings became apparent, suggesting that demand was being influenced by the cost of the service.

“The pest control team also reported evidence of some residents using less costly methods of treatment that were ineffective when compared with industry standard methods.

“Evidence suggests that pest and vermin disproportionately affect the poorest sections of society, and the problem appears to have been exacerbated as a result of the cost of living crisis with fewer residents contacting the service at a time when local indicators suggest the problem is worsening.”

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With more than 25 years' experience in business-to-business publishing, Simon is editor of LBM titles Pest and OvertheCounter. Big fan of Manchester United.