The Nelson streets plagued by junk food eating rats – and what's being done to tackle the problem

Action is being taken to tackle rats, waste food left in yards behind businesses and illegal fly-tipping in parts of Nelson.

By Robbie Macdonald
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 9:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 9:14 am

Sewers, streets, yards, back lanes and businesses in the Manchester Road and Hargreaves Street areas are being inspected by Pendle Council pest control, waste, fly-tipping and environmental health officers.

Action includes putting rat bait down into sewers to tackle the rodents, according to an update report for councillors on the borough’s Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley Committee.

Information such as dates, times and photos of dumped waste provided by residents can be vital in taking action against offenders. But people are advised not to directly confront suspects face-to-face.

Sewers, streets, yards, back lanes and businesses in the Manchester Road and Hargreaves Street areas are being inspected by Pendle Council pest control

At a previous Nelson area committee meeting in January, councillors asked for a report from the borough’s environmental services department about what was being done to tackle rats in the Manchester Road and Hargreaves Street areas.

In particular, councillors asked how often spot-checks were made, the frequency of bin collections and if any legal enforcement measures were being used?

A new report for the committee’s upcoming meeting on Monday, February 28, gives a range of information.

Regarding rats, it states: "Pest control officers have carried out several rodent treatments in the area recently including some sewer baiting. An officer has visited properties in the area and has identified that there are some commercial food premises with food waste in rear yards. An environmental health officer from the food safety team has been notified and will be attending to these issues.”

On the frequency of bin collections, blue and brown recycling bins are collected every four weeks, according to the report. General waste grey bins are emptied every two weeks. Local streets are cleaned weekly by vehicles or mechanical sweepers and litter bins on pavements are emptied three times every week.

In addition to these routine bin serves, the report states “The area including and around Manchester Road and Hargreaves Street is visited each Friday by a street cleansing team, who remove larger items from the highway (roads and lanes). This team additionally checks for evidence of a producer (the person responsible for the waste) to enable enforcement investigations to be made.

“The area is additionally visited three times each week by an enforcement officer who again monitors the level of waste on the highway. During this inspection work, the enforcement officer will make initial investigations to obtain information on an offender.”

Councillors will be told that recent records show that enforcement officers have issued two fixed penalty notices for littering, one fixed penalty for fly-tipping and made one visit to a business regarding their duty to carefully handle and transfer commercial waste. If evidence was found, the council would seek to meet with an alleged offender, the Nelson committee report states.

There are various offences linked to fly-tipping, including the offences of ‘knowingly causing’ or ‘knowingly permitting’ the dumping of waste. Action can be taken by both the Environment Agency and the local council.

Households and businesses in the Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley areas need to write down or record any dates, times and places of incidents. Information is also needed on what the waste looks like and how much there is; any descriptions of any people or vehicles involved, such as the registration numbers or names or addresses of suspects.

The report to councillors also emphasises: “Residents and councillors should note that because fly-tippers are doing something illegal, they will not want to be caught. We advise that you do not approach or confront a fly-tipper or put your own safety at risk. Both the council and the Environment Agency have powers to tackle fly-tipping.

“Councils will deal will smaller scale, more-frequent incidents. The Environment Agency will deal with larger, more-serious incidents of illegal waste disposal, or fly-tipping including hazardous wastes and carried out by organised criminals.”

The Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley Area Committee meets at Nelson Town Hall on Monday, February 28 at 7pm.