Infested: Town is 20th worst in country

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WIGAN has so many problems with rats, cockroaches and other pests that it has been named the 20th most infested place in the country.

According to new figures from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) there were 6,329 call-outs in 2012 for pests - 19 per 1,000 residents.

However, while figures are still high, they have significantly fallen from 2011. That year, Wigan was ranked 10th in the country, with 8,104 call outs - 25 per 1,000 residents.

Rats, wasps, bed bugs, mice, cockroaches and even pigeons are just some of the creatures council teams were asked to deal with.

Wigan Council assistant director of regulation services, Alan Blundell, said: “We welcome this report as it demonstrates how effective Wigan Council’s pest control service is.

“Wigan Council has a team of dedicated pest control officers who deal with a variety of different pest types: wasps, ants, rats, mice (when issue is indoors), cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas and some other types of insects. We provide a competitively priced service for treatment of pests in both residential and commercial premises, although residents can choose to use other private pest control companies.

“However, this report does not take into account that Wigan is one of the largest metropolitan areas in

England. We have a well-equipped team and a reporting process which has been designed to make it easy for residents and businesses to let us know of any problems with pests. We actively encourage residents to ensure their property is clean and well-maintained, and urge them to report issues to us. This approach will increase the proportion of incidents per 1,000 residents.

“If a resident is troubled by pests at their property we ask that they report this to the council on 01942 404364. More information about the pest control service is available on our website www.wigan.gov.uk by clicking on the ‘Environmental Problems’ icon.”

The BPCA made Freedom of Information Act requests to every local authority in the UK, asking for information about the numbers of call-outs council pest controllers had attended in 2012.

BPCA Chief Executive, Simon Forrester, said: “There are many localised reasons why an area could have a high prevalence of a certain pest, but we’re concerned that at a national level pest control services are being cut.

“Local authorities are under immense strain to come up with savings. The BPCA wants to make sure this doesn’t have an impact on public health.

“If a council stops providing pest control services it is important the public uses a reputable expert such as a BPCA member.

“The BPCA is very keen to make sure that short-term budget cuts don’t result in much higher overall costs down the line.

“If an infestation isn’t dealt with quickly and properly, it will spread. Dealing with it then is much more expensive and it carries a greater risk to public health.

“More councils are starting to charge for pest control services, but this raises the question of whether residents can afford to pay at a time when real household incomes have been hit so badly.

“If residents try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they are cheap, infestations will get out of hand.

“In the end, councils will have to step in because of their duty of care responsibilities and it will end up costing them much more than dealing with the problem properly in the first place.