Could Mayor John Biggs be the next Pied Piper of Tower Hamlets? Borough tops rat complaints league table

Tower Hamlets has the highest number of complaints about rats in London, according to research by the Conservative group on the Greater London Authority.

More than 30,000 complaints have been logged with Tower Hamlets council since 2012, an average of 16 a day.

Complaints about the borough’s rodents make up 16 percent of the total number of reports across London, according to the research. Tower Hamlets Council’s pest control team carried out 62,316 residential visits in the last six years, with over half relating to council owned properties.

Residents have taken to Twitter to share their concerns over the borough’s rodent issue.

The report “Rat Land” collated statistics from other London boroughs through a Freedom of Information request. Amongst the EastLondonLines boroughs, Hackney ranked 8th with 8,896 rodent incidents since 2012. Lewisham ranked 18th, with Croydon landing at the bottom of the table, at 32nd.

London’s rising population correlates with a rise in rats, according to national pest control experts Rentokil. They outlined in the report why the problem so apparent: “While there are a host of natural places for rodents to seek shelter, food and water in our cities, they may be more prevalent in certain areas because of issues around rubbish, or less apparent problems such as drainage defects.

“With access to a warm nesting area, food and water, rodents can breed extremely quickly. They reach sexual maturity after four to five weeks, meaning that an undetected population could swell from two rats to around 1,250 in just one year.”

Susan Hall, Conservative London Assembly Member, said the report was designed to “put forward a case for the Mayor to lead local authorities in tackling what appears to be a growing issue in London”. Her investigation was influenced by a video of rats scavenging the streets of Harrow that went viral in July.

Tower Hamlets Cllr Amina Ali, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “The GLA Conservative Group report on the number of public complaints about rodents in the borough is interesting.

“We know this is an issue for residents, which is why we encourage them to tell us if they have a problem. As a borough we very committed to doing as much as we can to manage the rodent issue and actively encourage public complaints as we issue free treatments for all rat complaints. We also offer free pest services for all state pensioners who live on their own or with another pensioner.

“The number of complaints we have received has shown that the residents know how to report rodent problems to enable us to tackle the issues through baiting and education. If we did not get complaints, we would be concerned as to who would deal with the rodent sightings.”