May 22 2013 Latest news:
by John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Monday, July 30, 2012
Barking and Dagenham has some of the highest levels of bug infestation in the country, a new survey suggests.
The British Pest Control Association found the east London borough had the fifth highest infestation of cockroaches and the sixth highest of bed bugs per 1,000 people in England between April 2010 and March 2011.
Its Freedom of Information requests also showed Barking and Dagenham had the seventh biggest infestation of mice and the ninth highest of rats in London that year.
The figures show rat catchers were called out more than 600 times in Barking and Dagenham in 2010/11.
The association indicated high levels of infestation reflected the fact that councils had reduced manpower and were looking at new ways of dealing with pests.
BPCA chief executive Simon Forrester said: “It covers a period when the austerity measures were starting to bite.
“There may be a number of local factors why a council appears towards the top of one of the lists, but on a national scale the BPCA is concerned that pest control budgets are being hit.
“That may make it harder for councils in England to respond as effectively as they would like, which could have implications for both quality of life and public health.”
The statistics showed that Barking and Dagenham came fifth for cockroach infestations with 536 call-outs, or three cases per 1,000 people in 2010/11.
Meanwhile, the east London borough came sixth for bed bug infestations with 296 calls or 1.7 cases per 1,000 people.
There were 1,449 call-outs for mice, or eight cases per 1,000 people, and 635 for rats, or 3.5 cases per 1,000 people that year.
A council spokesman said: “Ranking councils in this way is a very poor indicator of the extent of local pest problems because figures for private treatments are not collected.
“Barking and Dagenham’s priority is to provide a good quality pest control service which is accessible and affordable.
“Because of this approach we have a large number of call-outs. Councils which offer no in-house pest control service, or one which is expensive or low quality, will inevitably have far fewer call-outs because residents will choose to call private companies instead.”