Pipe down! Rats not a big issue despite amount of council calls
THERE'S no need to call the Pied Piper into the Swansea Bay area just yet according to council chiefs.
The claims come in the wake of a new survey which identifies South Wales as a UK hotspot for rats and other pest call-outs.
The British Pest Control Association survey found that for rat problems, eight of the top 12 call-out rates — out of 406 local authorities — were in South Wales.
While Swansea came in ninth in the league table and Neath Port Talbot eleventh both councils said the problem was under control.
A spokeswoman for Swansea Council said: "The figures do not compare like with like because much depends on whether or not the local authority offers a free rat treatment service and on factors like the population density of a particular area.
"For example, the number of incidents of rats reported to councils is higher in areas like Swansea where the council provides a free call-out service compared to areas which charge for the service."
She added that there were few complaints from residents, saying: "The service Swansea provides is rated highly by residents, with 94 per cent of calls dealt with within three days and a 98 per cent satisfaction rate from customers."
A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot council said that there was not a problem with rats in the borough.
Carmarthenshire, which stopped offering pest control services entirely in 2011 to save £82,000, was not in the top 12.
Laurence Barnard of the BPCA admitted that authorities which did not charge for call outs would place higher on the list.
He said: "It's because they offer a good service. It's either free or subsidised in a lot of cases and people trust the council to do a good job." Praising such local authorities he added: "The councils are doing a good job and not letting people live with the problem.
"We would definitely say it's good that they are dealing with pest control.
"It would be good if more took in pest control or stopped charging."
Birmingham City Council came top of the call-out table for rats, with 25.22 requests to deal with problems per 1,000 residents, just ahead of Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend.