Carmarthenshire County Council is looking to create an in-house pest control service in a move welcomed by a council committee, including a councillor who used to run one.

The local authority used to operate a pest control service but stopped it in 2010. Since then council officers have given advice about pest-related problems and also taken action through enforcement work.

A report before the place, sustainability and climate change scrutiny committee said this had led to a number of issues and perceptions, including private pest companies not eradicating the problem or identifying underlying causes such as defective drains.

The authority re-started pest control work in 2016 but only for council tenants, which the report said led to very positive feedback.

The idea is to extend the service to the wider public, with national statistics showing an increase in pest call-outs to houses of multiple occupation and the private rented sector more generally.

Contract work with businesses such as restaurants and farms could potentially be developed, and eradication work in sewers potentially recharged to Welsh Water.

The report said the service would need to be self-financing but that call-out charges would be set at a “reasonable” level.

Committee chairman, Cllr Kevin Madge, said he felt the need for such a service was there “in a massive way”.

He was worried though that council cutbacks could pose a problem for a new service. He added: “The rats don’t go away. The wasps don’t go away.”

Cllr Colin Evans said the pest control service he managed for the former Dinefwr borough council had led to a dramatic fall in pest-related reports, but that any new one had to work financially.

“If the figures stack up, I don’t see why not only would we cover our costs, but we could actually be making some profits which would benefit other services in the authority,” he said.

Cllr Hefin Jones said he felt that a new council pest control service had to be as responsive, or more responsive, than those in the private sector.

The report said the council didn’t wish to significantly impact existing private businesses.

Cllr Gareth Thomas proposed that the committee ask council officers for a detailed business case, which was seconded and approved.

Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, cabinet member for climate change, decarbonisation and sustainability, said: “We will get back to you as the business case develops.”