TV programme, for once, correctly portrays pest control

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BBC’s Panorama programme last night (6 August) showed our industry in a very positive light.
It’s a shame that audience figures were probably lower than usual with the draw of Olympics no doubt stealing some of the audience. However, the programme is still influential in political circles so the points made so well by BPCA’s Simon Forrester, CIEH’s Graham Jukes and NPTA’s vice chairman Adam Hawley are to be applauded. The local authority pest controllers featured on the half-hour programme, Peter Roy from the London Borough of Southwark and Chris Woodard from Stevenage Borough Council, were also both a credit to the industry, showing enthusiasm and real pride in what they do. As were David Channon and Neil Parkes from Microbee and Cleankil respectively, who spoke on behalf of commercial contractors.

Some genuine concerns about the demise of local authority pest control services, particularly free/subsidised services for rodents, were raised.

The impact on low income families was clearly demonstrated with an example in Cornwall where the Council had decided to come out of pest control altogether. Here a family had been quoted £100 just to come and look at a rat job and they’d been told that monthly visits might be necessary. The patchy nature of the service offered by local authorities was also highlighted.

Panorama logo
As broadcast on 6 August. Click here to view.

Whilst the programme acknowledged that there are many good private sector pest controllers out there and that a well managed contracted-out service can work, it also highlighted the ease with which unqualified individuals can all too easily set-up as a pest controller. Reporter Simon Boazman simply got himself a branded van, placed a few local adverts in shop windows and the like and was soon picking-up enquiries and was able to get his hands on potentially dangerous products, including aluminium phosphide. Whilst the reporter acknowledged that there are changes underway to tighten-up the aluminium phosphide situation, the point that no qualifications are required to be a pest controller leaving an open-door for the cowboys was extremely well made.

The final current issue to be well covered was the rise of rodenticide resistance and the use outdoors of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. Dr Alan Buckle made the position quite clear saying the UK was developing the world’s most resistant rat.

If you missed the programme you can see it on BBC’s i-player – click here.

The Panorama programme also attracted more publicity in the national press with an article trailing it appearing in The Sun on 6 August. Click here to read.

And a feature in The Daily Mail also appearing on 6 August. Cick here to read.

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