A Merseyside borough is “over run with huge rats” in a problem that is “out of control”, residents say.
The problem of rats in Page Moss has almost become consistent with the area in recent years. People have spoken out on a regular basis over infestations in their homes and rats wandering the streets in “broad daylight” and described them as being “as big as cats”.
However, despite work by Knowsley Council and partners to tackle the issue earlier this month, frustrated residents say there is still a problem and more needs to be done. Resident John Carine told the ECHO that the whole place is “over run” but it’s not just in Page Moss.
READ MORE:Work underway to tackle ‘crawling’ rat problem of Page Moss
He said: “Making out like it’s an issue just in a small area of Page Moss or Page Moss alone is untrue, it’s a problem all over Knowsley at the moment. Prescot councilors are raising it at their council meetings because they are suffering with this , it’s not just us.
“It’s no good coming around and replacing wheelie bins, there needs to be borough-wide action to tackle all areas that are infected.” Mr Carine, who is the Green Party candidate, added: “Bins have got to be left outside, whether they are in entry ways or the garden rats are still getting there. People have tried moving bins away from walls but rats are chewing through the bottom of the bin instead.”
Earlier this month, on Page Moss Avenue, councilors and officers alike said the problem needed “everybody on board” with a collective approach in order to get the situation under control. Action included replacing people’s chewed up bins as well as bating sewers in the community.
But frustrated residents say the issue needs to be addressed further. One person told the ECHO: “We still have rats running round day and night chewing through bins and sleeping in car engines.” Another said: “They are everywhere, it’s terrible, even in the daylight.”
Concerns have been raised over sightings in Brandearth Hey, Woolfall Heath Avenue and Jubilee Park as well as Brookwood, with residents across the community saying they are “everywhere”. One woman said: “Huyton House Rd is a major issue, if they’re not out in the streets, they’re dead in the roads.
The issue of clearing up rat droppings is “falling to residents” as they find mess in their own back gardens and front lawns. Another woman said: “They have completely destroyed the grass in my back garden. I’ve got over 50 holes where they’ve burrowed in, I’ve injured myself a few times falling in them, begged the housing for two years to flag the garden and make it safe.”
Knowsley Council previously said that rats need the “tiniest invitation” to explore land including bird feeds, overgrown gardens and food that hasn’t been bagged or binned properly. With rats reproducing “quickly”, the situation can instantly become a larger problem, so “preventative measures are by far the best way to tackle the issue”.
A Knowsley Council spokesperson said “The Council and its partners are working hard to tackle the issue of rats in Page Moss including paying for ongoing sewer baiting in the area.
“Earlier this month the Council organized a Day of Action – bringing together Council officers from numerous departments and representatives from United Utilities and Livv Housing to visit the area to talk about how to prevent rat infestations. Those on hand were able to identify issues on the spot, resolve problems wherever possible, and also provide advice for residents and businesses as to how they can help to reduce the risk from rats in the area.
“There were a number of issues identified including broken bins, waste build up in gardens, dog fouling in gardens, and bird feeders being left easily accessible to rats. All of these issues can easily attract vermin. During the Day of Action, the Council replaced the broken bins, cleared accumulations of waste, and talked directly to residents to alert them to the potential issues and the steps which they can take to keep their homes and neighborhoods safe.
“This issue will only ever be tackled by all parties working together to play their parts (the Council, partner organisations, residents, and businesses).
“If residents are experiencing problems, they can contact our Environmental Health Team on 0151 443 4712 or through firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also lots of advice on our website.”
In Knowsley, the council jointly funds a sewer-baiting program with United Utilities, a £15,000 investment per year, who are responsible for the work being carried out. This helps to control the rat population across the borough.
In 2020, 57 manholes were accessed as part of this program and a further 65 were visited in 2021. The 2022 program is already underway with inspections taking place across the borough. Other preventive work includes the tackling of fly-tipping, cleaning streets as well as regularly visiting ‘hot spot’ locations.
According to the council, there are a number of simple things you can do to help prevent rats:
- Clear up food spillages immediately and move household refuse outside regularly – ensure rubbish is securely bagged and then binned.
- Use suitable containers (such as wheelie bins) and ensure they are put out for collection regularly.
- Dispose of fast food wrappers and containers responsibly – food stained boxes and paper are attractive to rats.
- Make sure you replace any cracked or damaged bins.
- Do not put food waste in compost bins.
- Place compost bins on a wire base to keep rodents out.
- Remove any accumulated rubbish (including garden cuttings and unwanted garden furniture) as rats can make a home in untidy outdoor spaces, especially if there is a local food source.
- Don’t leave pet food outdoors and don’t use bird feeders (even suspended ones). Rats can climb and any spoiled food will attract them.
- Keep gardens well maintained – overgrown gardens can attract pests.
- Repair external structural faults to your home, holes and around pipes or cover damaged air vents with fine mesh (do not block air vents).
- Secure areas located under raised decking, underneath sheds and summer houses.
- Install draft excluders to fill gaps beneath external doors.
- Remember that issues such as fly tipping, overflowing bins etc can lead to rat infestations so please report any issues online, promptly at knowsley.gov.uk.