Glasgow rat problem ‘alarmingly high’ as city sees six times more callouts than Edinburgh

The number of callouts for pest controllers in Glasgow because of rats has been branded “alarmingly high” as it was revealed the city saw six times as many requests than Edinburgh.

Glasgow's rat problem is significantly higher than in Edinburgh, according to callout statistics. Picture: SoS licence
Glasgow's rat problem is significantly higher than in Edinburgh, according to callout statistics. Picture: SoS licence

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

The numbers are staggering when compared to similar statistics in Edinburgh with the council receiving 17 complaints in connection with rats on average every day.

The capital only dealt with 1,800 callouts connected to street-level rats in the same time period, compared to Glasgow’s near 11,000 requests.

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.

Where is the problem the worst?

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 in the south of the city is by far the worst affected area of Glasgow by rats and is home to a third of the worst thirty rat-infested streets.

Allison Street in the area had 68 complaints about rats in living areas, almost double the next highest, Cathcart Street, also in Govanhill.

However, according to Jim Ewen, 41, 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.”

‘Alarmingly high’

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.”

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