The place believed to have the most rat problems in the UK has been named – and it’s in Wales

it is arguably the accolade no town or city wants but Bridgend has been named as the rat capital of the UK.

According to figures from 2015-16, Bridgend council dealt with more rat problems per head than any other authority in Britain last year.

The figures show pest controllers responded to almost 3,000 issues at a rate of more than 20 per 1,000 residents – the highest in the UK.

The figures show pest controllers responded to almost 3,000 issues at a rate of more than 20 per 1,000 residents – the highest in the UK

Problems with rats accounted for 93% of calls made to the authority’s environmental team, lifting it to seventh in a list ranking each authority by the rate at which it was called out to deal with all pests.

The data comes from the fifth study carried out by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) analysing nationwide demand for pest control.

The not-for-profit trade body sent freedom of information (FOI) requests to all 390 district, borough and unitary authorities in the UK and all but 26 replied.

Within Wales 21 of 22 authorities responded to the FOI request with only Conwy council not responding.

Of the remaining 21, Carmarthen, Newport, Powys, Denbighshire and Monmouthshire didn’t offer a pest control service.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said: “Our study provides the most comprehensive indication of the demand placed on local authorities for pest control.

“There may be a number of localised factors why certain areas seem to have high numbers of particular pests.

“Some authorities, for example, will have many urban areas within their boundaries while others will be largely rural. Some will have lots of food establishments, which tend to attract pests, and others could have less frequent bin collections.

“But it’s important to recognise higher figures could simply illustrate that a local authority is working proactively to manage any issues.”

The survey reveals the number of reports responded to by councils across the UK plummeted by 22% last year.

Bridgend is the most rat-infested place in Britain

It shows staffing levels within their pest control teams has dropped by almost a quarter since 2012 and response rates have dropped by 33% during the same period.

Mrs Ward-Thompson said: “Local authorities have been under immense pressure to produce savings over the last five years and pest control seems to have been one of the services to have taken a big hit.

“Many councils who once provided pest control free of charge have now either introduced charges or done away with their service altogether in a bid to balance the books.

“And our survey reveals many of those still offering a service are responding to significantly fewer reports due to a lack of resources, which is quite alarming.

“That has already had a significant impact on the pest population, according to our members, and the problem is only likely to get worse.

“We want to ensure this does not have an impact on public health and that short-term budget cuts don’t result in higher costs further down the line.”

Of the 292 local authorities still operating a public pest control service only 7% offer it free of charge.

The BPCA warned it was a trend which had the potential to create big problems, particularly in low-income areas.

“The cost of professional treatments, either through the local authority or the private sector, can be prohibitive when people are struggling to make ends meet,” added Mrs Ward-Thompson.

“But if an infestation isn’t dealt with properly and effectively it’s likely to spread and that can create a much bigger issue.”

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