A HISTORIC town faces being "overrun" by a rat infestation after its council banned killing rodents.
Poison traps have been outlawed in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire amid fears that they could kill protected species such as birds of prey.
The town council has been slammed as "dangerous" after saying "it will, as far as the law allows, deny access to those engaged in, and otherwise prohibit, culling or hunting and other types of animal destruction on lands that it controls or manages”.
It added that "where necessary, this will include deployment of nonlethal methods of rodent control on council lands".
Wiltshire council admitted that rat infestations are a "common problem" in rural and urban areas as they carried out more than 1,200 exterminations last year.
Scott Mays, director of Wiltshire Pest Services, said that Bradford-on-Avon is no exception to infestations thanks to its "old drain networks".
"Rats are pretty prevalent there because of the old network of drains, lots of them get out of the sewers and they can get into properties by those means as well – so it’s always a problem in Bradford on Avon," he told the Telegraph.
Pest controllers normally use snap back traps or poison called rodenticide but the industry is moving away from the latter.
“The only non-lethal type of control would be a live capture trap which would have to be checked every 24 hours.
“I don’t quite know how that would work – the town would be overrun with rats," he said.
Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said the ban could put people's health at risk from rodent diseases.
He said that the decision "would leave pest controllers with the ridiculous option of catching rats and releasing them to their food source".
I don't quite know how that would work – the town would be overrun with rats."
“It is astonishing that a local council would seek to prevent the legal control of rodents and pests when the overwhelming evidence makes clear that it is necessary to do so to protect public health, particularly in a town located next to a river.
“This was a dangerous decision and in the interest of public health, Bradford-on-Avon council should urgently reverse it immediately,” he urged.
Dee Ward Thompson, technical manager of the British Pest Control Association, welcomed the council's decision to reduce their use of pesticides but warned that rodents need to be controlled when they pose a risk to human health.
A Bradford-on-Avon town council spokesperson said: "While rodents in significant quantities and in urban settings can, of course, present health and safety issues, we aim to prevent problems from occurring in the first instance, with regular monitoring and efficient waste management.
"This way we can avoid methods which could cause unnecessary suffering and distress, or the deployment of harmful chemicals."
Source: Read Full Article