Council to bring back pest control services

Several years after a council got rid of its pest control service, councillors have voted to bring it back.

Powys County Council
Powys County Council

At the full Powys County Council meeting on Thursday, Labour councillor Sandra Davies, seconded by group leader, Councillor Mathew Dorrance, put forward a motion to re-establish the service.

Councillor Dorrance said: “We know that our communities across Powys are suffering issues of vermin and pests.

“I’m receiving increased calls about pests in people’s homes, particularly rats and it’s causing hardship.”

Councillor Dorrance added that paying for a private contractor to deal with the problem was not an option for some people who “cannot afford” to pay for it.

Councillor Dorrance said: “Other councils like, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Neath Port Talbot, Gwynedd and Blaenau Gwent still run pest control services.

“Some charge, some don’t and some give discount if you’re on social security.”

He pointed out that between 2012 and 2014 when the service was scrapped it had cost in the region of £100,000 and dropped to £50,000.

With an £8 million surplus in its 2020/21 budget, Councillor Dorrance believed re-instating the service could be afforded.

He also pointed out that fixing potholes was used to justify the Covid Recovery Fund objectives by members of the cabinet as “tourists don’t want to see them when they come to Powys.”

Councillor Dorrance said: “I believe that tourists don’t want to see rats and vermin when they come to Powys.

“It’s the right thing for residents and our communities.”

Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Planning and Housing, Councillor Iain MacIntosh said he believed it was “irresponsible” to put a motion forward without having worked out how much it costs first.

Pest control would fall under the sphere of portfolio holder for Corporate Governance and Regulatory Services, Councillor Beverley Baynham,

Councillor Baynham said: “We did decide to cease pest control service in March 2014 and the papers show at the time there was a decreasing demand for it.

“It’s a non-statutory function, there is no legal requirement to undertake this.”

She pointed out there were several private pest control contractors in Powys and reintroducing a council-operated service would affect small businesses.

Councillor Baynham added: “We don’t have the staff to take this back on, there would need to be significant outlay on vehicles, storage facilities and equipment.”

Due to this she said she could not support re-instating the service.

Finance portfolio holder Councillor Aled Davies said that 10 years ago the service had cost £164,000.

He explained that this sum had fallen to less than £100,000 by 2013, but this led to “an unsatisfactory service.”

Councillor Davies also said that the £8 million surplus is a “one-off.”

Councillor Davies urged the councillors to vote against the motion and “allow” private pest control businesses to “carry on delivering their services.”

The motion was approved by 29 votes for, 23 against and two abstentions.

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