Sutton Councillors vote against plans to end free pest collections
Rats and bedbugs will still be removed by Sutton Council free of charge after councillors threw out plans to scrap the service.
At the first meeting of the new Environment and Neighbourhood Committee last week, councillors voted against the plans, which would have saved the council £36,000.
Sutton, Richmond, Kingston, and Epsom and Ewell offer free pest control services whilst Merton, Reigate and Banstead and Croydon charge.
Councillors unanimously voted against the move, with Liberal Democrat Lester Holloway telling the committee, "the negative publicity would outweigh the savings."
Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chairwoman of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council, said: "Like any responsible council, we're carefully scrutinising every penny of residents' money we spend, but all the councillors on the committee felt that this was a step too far.
"We were concerned about the impact this could have on some of our residents, and of course there's the fear that it could lead to an increase in pests across the borough."
Conservative Councillor Tony Shields, who sits on the committee, said: "How on earth did this mad cap idea ever get as far as a committee and how much staff time has been spent on coming up with this daft idea in the first place."