Bridgend council plans to introduce fees for pest control services

Residents of the Bridgend County Borough may soon be faced with charges for pest control services that include rat and bed bug control.

Bridgend Council currently offers a free home pest control service through private company Rentokil, but residents could soon be billed as the contract expires.

Locals have access to free pest control for rats, mice, bedbugs and cockroaches with a fee for fleas and wasps. The council pays Rentokil £ 63,000 per year for the contract, regardless of the workload undertaken.

The contract was due to expire in April 2021 but was extended until October 2021. This is the maximum extension of the current contract, according to a report by Gill Lewis, the board’s acting director of finance, performance and change .

The consultancy firm will consider how future pest control services will be delivered at a meeting on Tuesday, May 18.

Board members developed the following options for members to discuss:

  • Interrupt the service from October, the expiration date of the current contract, leaving residents to make their own arrangements with private specialists.
  • Renew the contract and introduce a fee for all pests with a 50% concession fee for residents receiving benefits.
  • Relaunch the contract as instructed in option 2, but continue to provide a free service that deals with rats in houses.
  • Renew contract and provide free service (according to current arrangement).
  • Bring the service in-house with either a) charge for wasps and fleas only, or b) charge for all pests – this could cost the board £ 191,250 per year.

Currently 22 Welsh councils do not provide a pest control service, while 11 charge residents for treatment for all pests and three charge for all pests except rats.

Under the current contract for Bridgend Council, Rentokil must respond to all home pest control requests within three days, which “is not ideal,” according to Ms Lewis’ report.

Residents cannot book a Rentokil tour in advance, which has resulted in many calls being dropped due to pest control in homes when residents are away.

In 2019, 58% of respondents to a council survey said they did not think the council was suited to providing a pest control service at all.

Pest control demands in the Bridgend County Borough have increased by 47% since 2016. A report from council officers indicated that there was a noticeable increase in pest control demands in the County Borough from March 2020.

Earlier this year, a local councilor said residents contacted her daily about rat problems in their homes and gardens, especially those living in homes close to city centers.

The increase in demand was also reflected at the national level. Rentokil revealed that the number of UK pest control investigations increased by 22% between April and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

Ms Lewis’s report states that if the board decides to introduce a fee for pest control, demand for the service would likely drop to between 20% and 40%, but “when the Vale of Glamorgan board introduced a fee in 2016, the drop in demand was only short-lived “.

If the board decides to consider a charge for the service, a public consultation would be held with residents first for 12 weeks, then the matter would be discussed again by cabinet before a final decision is made.

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