Twin bins blamed for rat numbers

A COUNCILLOR has claimed that the rat population in a Suffolk town could be increasing because of his council's twin bin scheme.Babergh district councillor Albert Pearce, responsible for the Sudbury East ward, was responding to a senior environmental health officer's claim that a rise in complaints about rat infestations was due to residents putting too much bird feed out in the winter months.

A COUNCILLOR has claimed that the rat population in a Suffolk town could be increasing because of his council's twin bin scheme.

Babergh district councillor Albert Pearce, responsible for the Sudbury East ward, was responding to a senior environmental health officer's claim that a rise in complaints about rat infestations was due to residents putting too much bird feed out in the winter months.

He said: “There is a statement from the environment office saying do not overfeed the birds because the bird seeds could encourage the rats to have a good feed in the winter and explode the population.

“But what difference does a few seeds make when there are household rubbish bins only being collected once a fortnight.”


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He said he had nothing against the recycling aspect of the twin bin scheme, which had been a “tremendous success”, but added that his constituents were “totally against” household waste collections being every two weeks - or even longer if the bad weather persists.

“Do we want our lovely wildlife to suffer in the winter while encouraging the kingdom of rats to have a good feed from our rubbish?” he asked.

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He said that three out of 47 councillors were against the twin bins and it would be an “uphill struggle” to fight the scheme but added that in the meantime they would need to hire pied pipers to drive the rodents out.

“This is in the winter so imagine what it is going to be like in the summer. This scheme is not going to drive them away it's going to promote king rat's lifestyle,” he said.

Malcolm Firth, head of environmental services, said: “The number of complaints about rat infestations in Babergh has fallen by nearly a third in recent months. The most up-to-date figures suggest that there were 485 incidents between April and September 2003 compared to 700 for the same period in 2002.

“Therefore, there is no discernible linkage between rodent numbers and Babergh's TwinBin Scheme,” he added.

nBabergh District Council and its waste management contractors, Cleanaway, advise residents who normally have their bins collected todayto put them out for collection despite the adverse weather conditions.

If Cleanaway is unable to make the collections on the normal day, residents are being asked to put their bins out each day and the contractors will ensure that they are emptied at the earliest possible opportunity this week but the collections could roll over to Saturday.

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