Higher charges have come into force and will continue when a new contract comes into operation later this year.

St Albans council offers services for residents that are provided by an external firm and with the current contract due to end shortly, a new one has now gone out for tender.

For cockroaches or bed bugs, the cost per treatment will be £100, up from £30, and for wasps it will be £50, up from £40.92.

The council says charges were reviewed by senior officers in consultation with councillors.

It claims fees charged by private firms and neighbouring councils were taken into account.

And it says the new fee charged for cockroach treatments is the mean average for that of the other nine Hertfordshire district councils.

St Albans council added that it was the only local authority in the county not charging for rat and mice treatment and it was decided that this service could no longer be free.

A charge of £50 per treatment will be made with a discounted rate of £33.30 for people on certain benefits including universal credit.

Pest control charges will only partially cover the costs to the council of supplying the services which it will still subsidise.

According to the council the prices are below what a resident would have to pay a commercial company for the same treatments. Rat and mice baiting, for example, would cost around £100 to £140.

During the pandemic, the council’s budget was impacted and it was felt that the fees could not be frozen.