Rats! Liberal Democrats move to help plague sufferers in Newcastle voted down by Labour Party
A Liberal Democrats proposal to help local people suffering from plagues of rats has been kicked out by the controlling Labour group in Newcastle.
Newcastle's Official Opposition had wanted all options for reducing or suspending charges for pest control, including for mice and rats - with a minimum charge of £84 - to be examined to support households budgets for as long as is necessary to get the issue under control.
Cllr Pauline Allen who represents the Parklands Ward where such problems have been encountered frequently commented:
"All of us had to change our behaviour during the recent lockdowns as we adjusted to a pandemic. And rats also changed their behaviour, they moved from city centres where they had access to food from bins and rubbish dropped by people out to the areas where people live. They did this is in search of food and at the same time they encountered less people in the suburbs as we all obeyed the instructions to stay indoors. This made the rats confident as they searched for food but unfortunately it has caused problems for residents who have not had to cope with this situation previously.
"I've been contacted by an elderly resident who became afraid to go into her back garden as a rat sat on her doorstep on a regular basis whilst looking for food. I've also been contacted by parents who have become nervous about allowing their children to play in the back garden because of the rats who have been quite confidently searching the garden for food. This sudden influx of rats has terrified many residents who are not used to having rats in their gardens or visible on their streets.
"This change in behaviour is due to the covid pandemic, it has nothing to do with residents encouraging rats by feeding them or having untidy gardens. In fact, the residents who have spoken to me have immaculate gardens but super confident rats have relocated in search of food."
Cllr Wendy Taylor commented : "In over 30 years as a Councillor, I have rarely had any complaints about rats, but that's not been the case this year. I've seen concerns raised on Next Door from residents of Jesmond and Gosforth and had complaints from my ward residents about rats near the play area in Paddy Freemans park, in South Gosforth and Ilford Road near the metro and in Rectory Road in High West Jesmond. I'm not sure of the cause of this increase in rats across the City. It may be related to lockdown, when there were fewer people around, or possibly due to food availability, residents believe this is a significant problem.
"At £84 a visit, many people may not be able to afford to call the Council's pest control team and may instead resort to their own measures, such as putting down rat poison. By this is a serious risk to family pets and other wildlife. So we are asking for a temporary suspension or reduction of the charge while the Council gets on top of the increase in the rat and mice population."