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Hungry rats regard wheelie bin roll-out as rubbish

Hungry rats regard wheelie bin roll-out as rubbish

🕔08.Sep 2016

Good news about rubbish collection is as rare an event in Birmingham as the discovery of hens’ teeth, but the city council has triumphantly found a positive spin to put on the switch from plastic sacks to wheelie bins.

The rat population, it seems, detests the bins almost as much as some councillors.

Requests to deal with the rodents have slumped by up to 30 per cent over the past year, and the council says this is because the bins stop food waste from spilling out onto the street thereby depriving the rats of a healthy meal.

The rats, no longer having sacks to nibble through, have presumably gone elsewhere to find sustenance.

Cllr Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, who regularly finds herself under attack from Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors over problems arising from the move to wheelie bins, quickly got her teeth into the rat issue:

One of the key advantages of using wheelie bins instead of sacks and small recycling boxes is the reduced risk of spillage of waste onto the street.

This significantly reduces the source of food available to pests and means citizens can enjoy cleaner, greener streets in the process.

It is really pleasing that our figures show a direct link between the decision to introduce bins and a fall in requests for assistants with rodents.

Question time at city council meetings have been dominated for more than a year by complaints about wheelie bins, ranging from the difficulty some people have in moving fully-laden bins to countless missed collections.

Cllr Trickett said the council remained fully committed to a service improvement plan to use technology to provide a “smarter, more effective and increasingly reliable service for citizens” – with an aim to send no waste to landfill by 2035.

At the heart of the plan is the use of in-cab IT by collection crews, enabling depots to better monitor services and respond to any issues as they arise, and the development of a new Waste Strategy for Birmingham.

Figures for calls from the public to deal with rats based on the city’s four waste collection depots are as follows:

Montague St (Ladywood District)

Year before wheelie bins: 149.83 requests per month average

Year after: 120.08 requests per month average

Change: 20 per cent decrease

Lifford Lane (Edgbaston, Northfield and Selly Oak Districts)*

Year before wheelie bins: 330.83 requests per month average

Year after: 258.77 requests per month average

Change: 22 per cent decrease

Redfern Road (Hall Green, Hodge Hill and Yardley Districts)

Year before wheelie bins: 521.5 requests per month average

Year after: 363.33 requests per month average

Change: 30 per cent decrease

Perry Barr (Erdington, Perry Barr and Sutton Coldfield Districts)

Year before wheelie bins: 323.33 requests per month average

Year after: 234.5 requests per month average

Change: 28 per cent decrease

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