The Brown Rat has only been in Great Britain for about 300 years and has spread virtually over the entire planet, basically wherever humans are. Last week I observed rats in Crawley on three separate days including twice during the day, despite the fact that rats are mainly a nocturnal species. This suggests to me that their local population has soared, probably helped by a hot summer and warm autumn plus ample food sources. I was particularly concerned to observe rats in Crawley’s Memorial Gardens on two successive days. An average rat produces 40 droppings a day and urinates frequently. These are major disease risks as well as being unpleasant to come into contact with.
The Council are aware of the rat problem in the Memorial Gardens and are trying to eliminate them, but they are up against it due to the lazy and thoughtless behaviour of some visitors to the gardens. It is not hard to realise how rats are sustained there, when I observed a rat enjoying the remains of someone's lunch that had been left on the ground in front of a bench, just ten feet away from one of the many bins provided. I also observed a large amount of bread on the grass that presumably had been put out to feed birds but in reality was feeding the rats.
I am all the more saddened by this behaviour when you think why the Memorial Gardens are there. As well as being anti-social it is disrespectful, both to other visitors to the gardens and to those we remember for giving their lives for our country.
The Council need to challenge this thoughtless behaviour by getting tough with people who litter. It is regrettable that the Labour Administration at Crawley Borough Council hasn’t issued a single fine for littering since they won political control of the Council in 2014. This means there is no deterrent and this behaviour continues unchallenged. The next Conservative Administration at the town hall will issue fines for littering, so that those who spoil our town by littering will start to think twice.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
21st November 2018