Pest control fee waived in midst of rats and mice woes
North Lanarkshire Council has agreed to suspend charging for services to control rats and mice for one year.
The council introduced a charge, currently sitting at £49.15, for these pest control measures as part of a previous budget but during the pandemic rodent sightings have increased significantly.
During the full council meeting of Thursday, June 17 councillors discussed the proposed suspension of charges,
Council leader Jim Logue (Airdrire Central) said the 42 per cent increase in rat enquiries – up to 2,132 in 2020/21 – was not unique to North Lanarkshire and many other authorities had experienced similar problems during the pandemic because of several key factors.
The increase was partially a result of the lockdown causing town centre food businesses to close, rodents had moved into more residential areas to find food while the number of residents working from home had resulted in increased amounts of food waste at their homes.
Also, the charge had deterred people from calling the council and adopting other pest control methods which were frequently less effective.
Councillor Logue added: “This situation is across the whole of Scotland.
"I have seen on social media the conspiracy theory that this was brought in because of one particular area – Murdostoun - in which there is a by-election. I want to reassure everybody that is absolutely nonsense. So let’s come off the half-baked conspiracy bandwagon and recognise it is a problem throughout all communities in North Lanarkshire.”
SNP group leader Jordan Linden (Bellshill) tabled an amendment which called on the council to acknowledge the rodent problems only came to light due to monitoring introduced via an SNP motion and that it had been exacerbated by changes in policy such as changes to bin uplifts and reductions grass cutting and land maintenance.
Councillor Linden pointed out that with the Murdostoun by-election a week away, Labour campaign literature was already highlighting the freeze in charges which he called a “blatant political manoeuvre”.
The motion, supporting the suspension of charges until June 30, 2022, was carried with 42 votes to 28.