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Editor’s comment: Rats must be dealt with straight away

PUBLISHED: 16:09 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 19 January 2018

Rats nibble on discarded food in central London  as The Keep Britain Tidy Campaign announced that the UK rat population had increased by 24% to 60 million, due mainly to the rise in fast food litter.   *  The group is launching a campaign to encourage those using takeaways, food halls and concession stands to bin unwanted food rather than dump it on the streets.

Rats nibble on discarded food in central London as The Keep Britain Tidy Campaign announced that the UK rat population had increased by 24% to 60 million, due mainly to the rise in fast food litter. * The group is launching a campaign to encourage those using takeaways, food halls and concession stands to bin unwanted food rather than dump it on the streets.

PA Archive/PA Images

Rats swarming in and out of bin bags, roaming confidently across front gardens and gnawing their way through fences.

The story on page 5 of this week’s paper, on sale now, makes for grim reading.

We all know there is a problem with rats across London – remember the shocking video posted on social media last summer of the vermin swarming over rubbish in the street in Harrow?

The big difficulty is that rats breed like rabbits. According to pest control company Rentokil, given ideal breeding conditions, two rats could become 1,248 within a year.

Which means we have to get rid of them as soon as we see them.

The residents of Passive Close, Rainham, say they reported their rat infestation in mid-December.

In that time, each pair of rats could have produced another 10 rats.

These pests thrive on our rubbish.

More people generally means more rubbish and if Havering is to build thousands more homes over the next few years, we will need to seriously consider how much rubbish we produce and how we dispose of it to ensure rat infestations like that being experienced at the moment in Passive Close do not spread.

Obviously cutting down on food waste will be a big help, but providing every home with a wheelie bin rather than plastic bin bags would also seem a sensible solution.

Neighbouring Barking & Dagenham Council supplies wheelie bins for all households and while a line of plastic bins outside your house doesn’t do anything for the street view, neither does rats and pigeons breaking open plastic bags and strewing the contents across the path.

Apart from removing sources of food – rubbish, bird food etc – you can help to avoid infestations by getting rid of anything rats can see as shelter, like piles of firewood and keep gardens tidy and lawns trimmed. The fewer hiding places the better.

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