Nearly 400 complaints about rats in Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 06:37 06 February 2019

A dead rat in Hatfield town centre.
Picture: Kieran Thorpe

A dead rat in Hatfield town centre. Picture: Kieran Thorpe

Archant

Nearly 400 reports of rats were made by households in Welwyn Hatfield in the last financial year.

In terms of pest control, rats were the most complained about issue in the borough.

This was followed by wasps (284 complaints), mice (126) and bed bugs (19).

The council also received a small number of complaints about bees, black ants, fleas, squirrels, cockroaches and hornets.

The council provides a subsidised pest control service for households throughout the borough, even though there is no duty to provide this.

A recent council report on pest control noted: “Pest control remains an important service to residents of the borough and is of particular relevance to the most disadvantaged.”

The report also touched upon the issue of rats in Hatfield.

It noted how an “extensive extra treatment plan” was funded by the council to tackle rats in the town.

The report highlighted how concern had been raised by officers and the public, including postings on social media of the “high levels of rats in Hatfield”.

A council spokeswoman said: “Work we have carried out includes extended baiting throughout Hatfield Town Centre, improvements to waste collection and litter picking, enforcement action where required on land owners to remove waste and advice to all residents and businesses in the town centre to not leave waste and litter.

“We don’t count numbers of rats who die as a result of the baiting as it’s not practical.

“This is because the locations of the bait boxes can change regularly depending on the issues in that area, and some locations – and boxes – are bigger than others.

“SDK [the council’s pest controller] will move these on a regular basis.

“There are baiting points throughout the two town centres which are monitored monthly.”

The local authority has a duty to keep its own land free from rats and mice and make sure other owners and occupiers do the same.

An Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee sub committee was formed to look specifically at the prevalence and eradication of rats in the borough.

In February and March last year there was a number of meetings, examination and presentations to the sub committee.

Members hope to replicate the model of partnership working used to tackle rats in Hatfield in other areas too.

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