Sutton keep pest control service

Sutton will keep its’ pest control service after I, and my colleagues, spoke out against a proposal to save cash. Last night the newly-formed Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee unanimously voted down the plan to scrap pest control.

In the debate, I said that infestations of pests like rats can be extremely distressing for those affected. We have to take account of the fears of disease and the safety of children. And any pest infestation that is not dealt with promptly can get a lot worse, and affect even more local residents.

The proposed saving of £36,000 was pretty modest in the context of the overall council budget and, although every penny counts in these austere times, the cut simply wasn’t worth the inevitable bad publicity and anger of residents who would feel that a valuable service was being withdrawn.

The committee chair, Jill Whitehead, and Carshalton councillor Hamish Pollock were also vocal in their opposition to the plan.

The council suggested the saving because many of the surrounding boroughs no longer fund free pest control. Merton charge over £100 to deal with rats and mice, and almost £200 to exterminate cockroaches and bed bugs. Neighbouring Kingston-upon-Thames direct their residents to private companies.

However, rather than following other councils, Sutton now has an opportunity to say that it has an advantage over its’ neighbours and will continue work to keep the borough pest free. I’m particularly glad of this as a Sutton North ward councillor, because figures show the ward has the highest reported number of rats and the second highest number of bed bugs.