Sutton Council to vote on cutting the free pest control service
Free pest control services look set to be cut by Sutton Council.
By cutting the service, which provides free treatments for residents from rats and bedbugs, Sutton council will save £36,000 a year and residents will have to pay themselves.
The council claims the legal duty to keep land free of rats and mice lays with the owner and occupier of the land and not the council.
According to the council, demand for the service has remained "reasonably static" over the past three years at around 625 call outs a year.
Sutton will join Merton, Reigate and Banstead, and Croydon in charging for the service, meanwhile Kingston, Richmond and Epsom and Ewell do not charge. However the proposal, which goes before the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee tonight, looks likely to be met with opposition.
Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council, said: "Very few councils provide a free pest control service, so in these tough times it's only right to discuss it. However I expect all my fellow councillors will share my reservations about this proposal."
According to experts, rats and other rodents often move into buildings to escape flood waters, so the current conditions could pose further problems to the council.
Environment spokesman for the Conservative Party Tony Shields, said: "As short sighted decisions go this must be the shortest yet , we all know rats reproduce at a phenominal rate so how on earth can the decision to cut this public safety service be justified it is utterly stupid?
I am voting against the cut for resaons of public health and common sense."