Scottish Daily Mail

Boom in town rats!

Crisis, what rodent crisis? said Glasgow leader... but city saw pest call-outs soar

- By Mark Howarth and Bethan Sexton

GLASGOW suffered an explosion of rodents just months after the city’s SNP leader denied there was a rat problem, it has emerged.

Susan Aitken was ridiculed when she said Scotland’s biggest city needed only a ‘spruce-up’ ahead of the COP26 summit amid a series of rat attacks on binmen.

In a clash with Scots Tory leader Douglas Ross in October 2021, she denounced claims Glasgow was in the grip of a rodent boom, while blaming any filthy streets on Margaret Thatcher.

But now it has emerged that the council was hit with a 31 per cent surge in call-outs to deal with rats and mice in 2022.

There were 10,323 residentia­l infestatio­ns reported to the local authority last year, equivalent to more than one every hour.

The total was the fifth highest across the whole UK.

Glasgow Tory group leader Thomas Kerr said: ‘These figures prove Susan Aitken buried her head in the sand when it came to the scale of Glasgow’s problem.

‘On her and the SNP council’s watch, Glasgow residents have shamefully had to accept that thousands of rodents are living amongst them.

‘Susan Aitken owes these Glaswegian­s an apology. Only today I met one resident in my own ward that has had dozens of rats at her property at the one time.

‘Instead of ludicrousl­y trying to blame Margaret Thatcher, Glasgow’s council leader should be demanding her bosses in Edinburgh give her the resources she needs to tackle this problem.’

The figures were uncovered by the insurance company Direct Line, which conducted a Freedom of Informatio­n survey of the UK’s 361 local councils, to which half responded.

Only Swansea, Southwark, Birmingham and Liverpool had more call-outs than Glasgow.

Dan Simson, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: ‘Mice and rats pose a real risk to the home and people’s health. We recommend that anyone with an infestatio­n contacts their local authority or an exterminat­ion service.’

Ian Andrew, chief executive of the British Pest Control Associatio­n, called for a ‘proactive’ approach, with the appointmen­t of a ‘rat tsar’.

Council chiefs in Glasgow said a spike in mice reports, which made up around 3,000 of all call-outs, was behind the overall surge.

Reports of rat infestatio­ns were 18 fewer than 2021, but the number of sightings inside homes increased to its highest for four years.

Infestatio­ns in living areas rose from 1,466 to 1,537 in 2022.

A spokesman for the council said: ‘Reports from Glasgow residents of rats and mice were lower in 2022 than in 2019 and we continue to respond quickly.’

‘Buried her head in the sand’

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