Tower Hamlets is hotspot for bedbugs

Tower Hamlets has one of the highest levels of cockroach infestation in England

Tower Hamlets has one of the highest levels of cockroach infestation in England - Credit: Archant

Tower Hamlets has been ranked as one of the worst places in the UK for cockroach, bedbug and mice problems.

A national survey that collated figures from every UK authority revealed that Tower Hamlets was the second worst place in the UK for bedbugs, fifth worse for cockroaches and 22nd worse for mice problems.

The revelations come from a recent survey by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), who contacted all 406 of the UK’s local authorities regarding pest control in their areas.

According to the data, Tower Hamlets, which has a population of 254,096, ranked 58th out of the 406 authorities, for total calls to the council regarding pest problems per head of population.

The latest figures for 2012 show that 4,205 calls were made to the council about pest problems in Tower Hamlets, down from 17,857 in 2011. That equates to 16.55 calls per 1000 people in the borough.

Tower Hamlets Council received 4,205 calls about pests from residents in 2012, which although high, is down from a massive 17,857 calls made in 2011, which at the time made it the worst place in the UK for pest problems.

Last year it dropped 57 places to 58th worst place in the UK for pest control issues.

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In 2011 Tower Hamlets was the worst place in the UK for mice, with 9,706 calls made to the council, however, last year it dropped to 22nd place with 1,519 calls, or 5.98 calls 1000 people.

The figures are a result of Freedom of Information requests made to local councils by the BPCA about the numbers of call-outs council pest controllers attended in 2012.

BPCA Chief Executive, Simon Forrester, said: “There are many localised reasons why an area could have a high prevalence of a certain pest, but we’re concerned that at a national level pest control services are being cut.

“Local authorities are under immense strain to come up with savings. The BPCA wants to make sure this doesn’t have an impact on public health.

“If an infestation isn’t dealt with quickly and properly, it will spread. Dealing with it then is much more expensive and it carries a greater risk to public health.”

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: “Tower Hamlets Council Pest Control Service operates as a business and is a large team contracted to provide treatment to approximately 40,000 tenants and leaseholders. This will account for the high volume of calls to our service compared to other councils. The service is contracted out to several housing associations and the Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO), Tower Hamlets Homes.

“Pest control in council owned properties is outsourced in many local authorities so figures obtained by the BPCA do not show the true picture of pest infestations in all residential properties across the UK.

“Tower Hamlets Council takes pest control very seriously and works with services across the council and external pest organisations to share best practice.

“If anyone has any issues with pests, they can contact the Customer Contact Centre on 020 7364 5007 (weekdays 8am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 4pm) or visit for more information.”