Test Valley borough council has withdrawn its free rat clearance service on the ground that there are too many rats. Due to the unusually warm winter there has been a dramatic increase in the number of rodents to the level where the council’s three Pest Control Officers can no longer respond to all public requests for rat clearance. “But if the rat numbers are going up then the Council should resource and fund the pest Control service adequately” said Romsey councillor Mark Cooper. “I was given firm assurances by the Leader of TVBC that rat clearance would continue to be a free service for all Test Valley residents“, yet the very next day The Head of Environment and Health announced to councillors a reduction in the rat clearance service for a period of three months, telling them that people who called in would be advised to refer to Yellow Pages, for details of private pest control companies” he said. TVBC will continue to treat for rodents where the householder has a disability, has pre-school children or is over 60 and in receipt of benefit. The Council will also answer a call out where the source of the rats is open land such as a railway or river.
The borough council voted on Wednesday not to allocate more resources to rat clearance…the vote was on party lines. However, Conservative Portfolio holder Peter Boulton did concede that “he wanted to deal with the rat problem.” The issue will be discussed at the council’s next Executive meeting.