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Steve Brine calls for 'robust response' to rat infestation
IT is a story that will strike fear into the hearts of many householders.
When pensioner Evelyn Chakrabarti returned from a holiday this summer she found that some unwelcome guests had moved in.
Tunnelling from a nest in a drain near her home in Chandler’s Ford, rats had found their way into her loft space, causing more than £1,000 worth of damage.
But Mrs Chakrabarti, 73, is by no means the only resident affected in the area – and a Hampshire MP has now said the rat problem is in danger of becoming out of control.
Breeding ground The Daily Echo can reveal that in previous years the sewers, a breeding ground for the pest, were routinely baited by Eastleigh Borough Council to keep the rat population under control.
However, Southern Water withdrew the contract for the service two years ago. Instead the company responds to problems as they arise.
Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine says he is hearing about rat problems in Chandler’s Ford more and more frequently and urgent action is now needed to tackle the issue. He added: “There is clearly an issue with the sewers and we need a robust response before any more of my constituents are subjected to the ordeal currently facing Mrs Chakrabarti.
“I know local councillors are doing their best but what we need now is for the borough to coordinate a multi-agency response and get everyone, environmental health, Southern Water and the main private sector players, round a table to agree a way ahead.
“One way or another, we need to turn this around so the community, not the rodents, are back in control.”
A spokesman for Eastleigh Borough Council said that they were contracted to provide a proactive sewer baiting service until two to three years ago.
He added: “Now, if the council suspects there is an issue with rats in the public sewer system we contact Southern Water to let them know our concerns.
“They will then take responsibility for investigating the issue and take an appropriate course of action within the sewer system.”
But Southern Water has denied that the rat problem has originated in the sewers in the Chandler’s Ford area.
A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the issues in this area and, although we sympathise with those who are affected, our recent investigations have not shown any problems with our sewers that could attract rats.”