Newarthill residents are demanding action after being plagued by a smarm of rats for months.
The office of Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows facilitated a street meeting in Culzean Drive on Monday morning, which was attended by around 50 residents from the nearby area.
They believe the rats were disturbed when Network Rail starting upgrading the Shotts railway line and have demanded that North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail gets together to provide a solution.
The residents gave reports of having laid their own traps, with one women catching 13 rats in her garden, children falling ill, and parents being too afraid to let the youngsters play outside. In one incident two pet rabbits were attacked and killed.
Residents have made numerous complaints to the council with many paying £45 a time to have pest control come out to put down poison.
Mrs Fellows said: “The rat infestation of Newarthill has been allowed to spiral out of control. We need urgent and extensive action to tackle the problem once and for all and for Network Rail and council officials to meet with the community.
“Residents are right to be outraged. Many are being charged £45 a time for pest control services to deal with the problem at their property – only for it to be moved down the road.
“The council needs to consider refunding people and any future action must be free in order to finally tackle the problem and protect public safety.
“Works on the nearby train line could have disturbed the rats’ usual dwellings. Network Rail have to investigate this and look at compensating the council for whatever action is taken.
“Irresponsible landowners must also be held to account to maintain their lands and council must look into installing CCTV to curb fly-tipping to prevent habitats.
“The local community have been incredible in organising and mobilising. They aren’t taking this sitting down and nor should they.
“I am arranging with residents a meeting for next Monday in Newarthill and I have asked officials from the council and Network Rail to attend to listen to residents, answer questions and outline what action will be taken. Enough is enough.”
Motherwell North councillor Ann Weir added: “I share residents’ anger over the extent of the rat problem and how long it has gone on for – action needs to be taken now!
“Officials must meet with residents on Monday night to listen to them and include them in this process.”
Officials from the council’s Enviromental Services department are due to meet with representatives of Network Rail today (Wednesday) to discuss the matter.
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of issues with rats in this area and our pest control service is investigating this problem.
“We are planning to meet Network Rail and are doing all we can to ensure our public health responsibilities are met.
“As with any pest infestation a number of factors require to be controlled to bring about an improvement and eradicate the infestation but the matter is in hand.
“To help avoid rats or mice around homes, residents should ensure all household rubbish, particularly food waste, is tied securely in bags and placed in bins with the lids closed.
“Residents can request a pest control service from the council, which includes problems with rats and mice, ants and other insects, by calling 01698 403100 or visiting www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk.”