Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows has welcomed action by North Lanarkshire Council to meet half-way Newarthill residents affected by problems with rats.
It follows a recent town hall meeting called by Mrs Fellows which was attended by members of the public and at which council officers agreed to her request to offer refunds to those charged for pest control services and to cease charging.
Residents who have been charged for the past two weeks will now be refunded.
More than 100 residents were given the chance to make elected members and council officers aware of the issues affecting them. They had demanded action after being plagued by a swarm of rats over many months.
They believed the rats were disturbed when Network Rail started upgrading the Shotts railway line and demanded that North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail get together to provide a solution.
Despite Mrs Fellows’ request, Network Rail were not in attendance which she said was “disappointing” although she pointed out that the company will carry out a survey to establish the presence of any rats near the local railways.
A change to the council’s bin collection policy was also identified as an issue along with people feeding birds in their gardens and litter left by school pupils.
Mrs Fellows said: “I am glad that NLC accepted my invitation to attend the meeting and my requests for refunds and a halt to charges so we can finally deal with the problem once and for all.
“It is disappointing that Network Rail did not attend. It is important they address peoples’ concerns that works are displacing rats.
“They will, however, survey the railways in the local area for signs of rats and report back.
“I hope NLC has grasped the scale of the problem and that residents are angry as the rats have not been adequately dealt with for over a year.
“There was a strong belief amongst some residents that the increase in rats coincided with the reduction in the frequency of bin collections. These concerns must be addressed.
“I will be writing to schools to ensure that they make further efforts to ensure pupils are not littering and creating a food source for rats to thrive. Not to mention to ensure they respect their community.
“Tackling this issue will require the community, elected representatives, NLC and Network Rail to work together. We’ve made progress but there is still a long way to go.”