Motion calls for action over rats - but council denies there is a problem

SNP councillors say North Lanarkshire now has a serious a rat problem and more action needs to be taken to address it.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 9:37 am
photo by Lesya Marchuk
photo by Lesya Marchuk

A poll of the party’s councillors serving on North Lanarkshire Council found most wards had  rat infestations in the past year.

The group’s environmental spokesman, Councillor William Goldie, said: “The recent hot weather and an increase of fly tipping has provided an ideal environment for an ever increasing population of rats across the authority.

“The increased temperature increases their activity and can accelerate their breeding cycle.

“Over the past weeks, residents have reported infestations in many areas and report damage to homes, outbuildings and gardens. With a number of residents currently ‘shielding’ due to existing  medical conditions the fact that rats can carry many diseases  only increases the requirement for urgent action to be taken across the authority.

“It has now become apparent that is a major environmental issue rather than one that only affects individual households.”

Councillor Tracy Carragher, who represents Coatbridge South, has opted to raise a motion about the issue after continually trying to address the matter with council officials.

This is amidst claims that officials are not paying heed to the group’s concerns.

She said:  “At the next meeting of full council on August 13 I will raise a motion which states: ‘This council agrees that an evidence based approach is the most reliable and objective form of assessment. Council notes the rising concerns by members of the public in relation to sightings and evidence of rats in our communities. Therefore this council agrees to record and analyse – all – reports of vermin sightings made to North Lanarkshire Council’.”

Meanwhile, Motherwell & Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson, whose casebook has been inundated with complaints about rats for  months, is in full agreement with this move

She said:  “My office was still receiving complaints of rat sightings in areas where reports had already been made. 

“Council workers have been doing an extraordinary job under extreme circumstances But quieter streets, hotter weather, reported increases in fly tipping and pre-existing concerns around waste collection,

“The local authority must not dismiss or deny these issues outright and I would urge council leaders to acknowledge and act upon the concerns of people across North Lanarkshire.”

However, the  council’s convener of environment and transportation, Michael McPake, denied the SNP claims.

He said: “North Lanarkshire Council does not have a rat infestation and to imply so is extremely misleading. When any resident contacts the council about the rare sightings of rats, the council takes appropriate action.

“North Lanarkshire is one of the few places in Scotland to have maintained a full bin collection service since the Covid-19 pandemic – something many of the SNP’s colleagues who lead other councils have failed to do.

“It’s disappointing that at a time when council staff and services have been fully focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and protecting local residents, the SNP are more focused on petty political point scoring.

“They should be joining me in applauding the outstanding work of our staff who have gone above and beyond to continue to deliver services in these unprecedented times.”

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