Row over figures of people reporting rat problems to Falkirk Council

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A councillor sparked fury when he asked to see figures on the number of  complaints about vermin that had been made to Falkirk Council since its pest control service was axed in February.

Members of Falkirk Council’s executive were told in a report that there “has not been an increase in vermin/pest control complaints direct to council officers”.

The report was produced after Bo’ness councillor David Aitchison told the council that he had seen an increase in people reporting problems with rats since the council had axed its pest control service.

The SNP’s environment spokesman, Paul Garner, echoed the report’s conclusion there had been no increase in vermin.

He emphasised that the food waste caddies – which are secure against vermin –  were still collected weekly.

His SNP colleague Gary Bouse told the meeting: “It’s not the problem it’s made out to be.”

But Councillor Malcolm Nicol was unhappy with the lack of information.

He said: “Councillor Aitchison has raised his personal view that there has been an increase in vermin. We should find out the facts and take note and I’d like to see the figures.”

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn saw the question as a slight on the officers reporting and said: “It’s the connotation of what you are asking that gives me concern.”

Councillor Nicol said: “It’s called scrutiny – the report lacks an important piece of information.”

But Councillor David Alexander said: “It’s a slight on the officers who wrote the report. That’s not scrutiny, it’s being disrespectful.”

The report also said the £30 charge that was introduced in the last budget was for bulky uplift items which would not attract rodents.

And it reported that the council cannot promote one particular pest control company but they have updated the Falkirk Council website to show the national Buy with Confidence Scheme.