‘Alarming’ numbers of rats on the streets of the Southside

Problems with rats are affecting many streets in the Southside.
Problems with rats are affecting many streets in the Southside.

The number of call-outs for pest controllers in Glasgow has been branded “alarmingly high” – with areas of the southside the worst affected.

Glasgow City Council has been asked to deal with rats both inside houses and at street level more than 14,000 times since the start of 2016.

In the Southside, the streets where there have been the most requests to deal with rats are: Pollokshaws Road, 121 requests; Allison Street, 119; Cathcart Road, 111; Calder Street, 68; Langside Road, 66; Kenmure Street, 60; Albert Road, 55; and Victoria Road, 48.

The council says it is tackling the problem through a multi-million pound bin replacement scheme which will see 50,000 steel bins replaced with wheelie bins, due to have “significant impact” on the rat population.

Rats, which can carry diseases such as listeria and Weil’s disease, and cause structural damage by gnawing electrical cables or gas pipes, are also found in residential buildings.

Govanhill is by far the worst affected area of Glasgow. It’s home to a third of the worst 30 rat-infested streets.

However, according to Jim Ewen, of Southside Studios on Westmoreland Street, the problem is better now than it was when he first opened his studio in 2005.

He said: “I think there has been a massive improvement. Rubbish was a massive problem but Govanhill Housing Association and Glasgow City Council have spent an awful lot of money and it has become a lot better.

“They have used laws that they have available to get rid of slum landlords and gotten rid of a couple of flats that had terrible living conditions.

“There is more to do but it is very much the landlords who are the issue. They own the buildings and are responsible for their tenants, it is the landlords’ responsibility.”

Leader of the Labour Party in the city’s council, Frank McAveety, said the figures were “alarming high”.

He said: “They are alarmingly high and we need to try and discover the basic reasons for them being so much higher than any other city.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The current initiative to replace 50,000 old-style steel bins across the city will have a significant impact on the rat population.

“Steel bins are small and often in poor condition which can lead to the spread of litter and waste, which encourages vermin and creates health and safety issues.

“We always aim to respond to calls from the public for pest control support as quickly as possible while focusing resources where intensive treatments are required.”