Has cuts to bin collections in North Lanarkshire led to rats infestation?

Rat sightings are on the increase
Rat sightings are on the increase

North Lanarkshire Council’s decision to reduce the number of general waste collections is being blamed for an increase in the number of rat sightings.

In a bid to make savings and work towards Scottish Government targets on recycling in September 2017 bins started being collected every three weeks.

In that time rat sightings reported to the council have almost trebled from 624 in 2017 to 1238 in 2018, and then 1657 in 2019.

Similarly, call-outs reported rose from 443 in 2017 to 878 in 2018, then to 1,181 in 2019.

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows, says communities in Newarthill, Carfin, Muirhouse and Newmains have all required assistance dealing with rats.

This follows reports last year that areas of Cumbernauld & Kilsyth were battling the issue last year

Mrs Fellows believes the council has a duty to all residents to keep streets clean and the administration must face communities and reverse bin cuts.

She said: Bin collections have been slashed and communities across the local authority are now facing a public health crisis. Cuts to uplifts must be reversed at the next budget before the infestation grows.

“I have written to North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue about these issues and I have always received a response from a council officer.

“It is embarrassing that in the fourth largest Scottish local authority, they are hiding behind council officers, council leaders must be publicly accountable and face communities.

“North Lanarkshire Council has a duty to residents – whether they are private or social tenants – to ensure we are able to live in our homes free from rats. This is basic stuff!

“It’s time for Councillor Logue to scurry out of the woodwork; face up to communities; and reverse cuts to bin uplifts in the upcoming budget.”

Murdostoun councillor Cameron McManus, who represents part of the affected area, added: “Due to the shambolic cut backs in the waste management department over the last two and a half years there has huge spike in fly tipping and pest sighting.

“The introduction of uplift charges, three weekly bin collections and scrapping of the three free uplifts a year means charging people from one of the most deprived areas in both North Lanarkshire and Scotland, who simply can’t afford to pay.”

The council says it is following Scottish Goovernment guidelines for collectioncapacity and urged residents to ensure their bin lids remain closed to deny rats access to a food source.

A spokesperson said: “Our three weekly household waste collection provides capacity for 80 litres of waste every week, the maximum level suggested by the Scottish Government, under the terms of its Code of Practice for Household Recycling in Scotland, to encourage residents to recycle as much waste as possible.

“If the three recycling bins are used fully, there should be adequate space in the residual black bin. If any resident needs more recycling capacity, larger recycling bins are available free of charge and we can provide advice on recycling to reduce your household waste.

“We are aware that certain areas are currently affected by rats, but this is not a problem across all council areas. This would suggest specific issues in those areas and we will work with the local community to address this.

“Rats rely on a food source to thrive so it is important that residents do not leave out any food and keep their household bin lids closed and away from a fence or wall. Rats will be able to get into bins if the lids are open even slightly.

“Problems with rats must be treated by professional pest control experts to ensure baiting is carried out safely and correctly.

“For information, contact the council by calling 01698 403110.”