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Tower Hamlets has most pests in UK, study finds

A bed bug.

Tower Hamlets has the highest number of infestations of bed bugs, mice, cockroaches and others pests in the country according to a new survey.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) said the borough registers 80 infestations per 1000 people, the highest in the country.

In the study of over 390 local authorities Tower Hamlets had more than twice the number of infestations of mice than the next highest area, Southwark.

Richard Moseley, the technical manager for the BPCA said: “This doesn’t mean they [Tower Hamlets Council] are doing anything wrong. They have a very active pest control department and until recently provided a lot of free pest control services.”

Historically the authority offered free pest control services to all residents. However, recent budget cuts have forced them to begin charging for some pest control services.

Those on state pensions, residents of Tower Hamlets Homes and approved social housing providers will continue to receive pest control services at no cost, as will anyone needing a call out for rat infestation; all other residents will be charged for pest control services.

Charging for pest control services is a worrying trend across the UK, the BPCA said: “There’s a very real possibility that there could be an increase in pest activity.”

Tower Hamlets also has the highest levels of over crowding of all local authorities in the United Kingdom, a factor which Moseley says contributes to these high levels of infestations: “Where you have high density housing and occupation, in such areas you’re going to see a higher incidence of call outs and infestations.”

The authority is seeking to reduce its overcrowding problem.

A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets said: “The report recognises that London has very high infestation rates and so it follows that the council’s service will be under great demand.”

“Charging for pest control services was introduced in August 2011. However, pest control still remains free to many residents.”

Hackney also featured highly in the report, recording in the top ten areas for bird, mouse, cockroach, ant and ‘other mammal’ (foxes, rabbits and moles) treatments.

 

By Emma-Jane Burgess

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