The number of rat infestations in Leicester is going up – Leicester Mercury

Concerns have been raised that Leicester City Council does not have enough pest control staff to deal with rising complaints of rat infestations.

Figures released by the council show its exterminators were called to complaints about the rodents 2,114 times last year, with 1,221 call-outs so far in 2017, compared with 1,824 in 2012.

Over the total five-and-a-half-year period there were more than 11,600 rat complaints made to the authority.

Councillor Lucy Chaplin, who represents Stoneygate ward, raised concerns about cuts to the vermin control service.

The council has six pest control staff posts but Coun Chaplin said she understood the number of people actually doing the job was three.

She said she brought up the issue at a recent council meeting after residents in Waldale Drive, off London Road, complained to her they were facing problems with rats from a piece of privately-owned overgrown land near their homes.

She said: Over the years, the support offered by members of staff has been brilliant but it is diminishing as the workload goes up and the number of staff goes down.

She has asked senior council figures to ensure the service was properly staffed.

Rats, in particular, do cause public health issues and, in terms of the stress for residents, the mental health of families is getting to a point where the impact is significant.

Councillor Adam Clarke, assistant mayor with responsibility for the environment, said: There is an establishment of six posts.

There has been a review where there has been a reluctance to fill those posts. That establishment remains because the executive determined it is an important service.

It is not a statutory service but it is one we feel is important to provide for the citizens of Leicester.

He said the number of pest control staff has fluctuated since 2012 but on average five of the posts had been filled. The council responds to rat complaints free, as it does for mice, cockroaches and wasps.

There is a 62 charge for dealing with other sorts of pests.

Coun Chaplin has presented a 29-name petition to the council signed by people in Waldale Drive seeking action to deal with the problems.

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The number of rat infestations in Leicester is going up – Leicester Mercury

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