A survey by the National Pest Technician Association (NPTA) has revealed that the brown rat population has increased by 39% every year since 1999.

The influx has been caused by a succession of mild winters which has extended the rodent’s breeding cycle and the torrential flooding earlier this year forced unprecedented numbers above ground.

The CLA’s Dorothy Fairburn commented that rats were responsible for damaging grain stores and presented a real threat to wildlife: “Ground-nesting birds are particularly at risk, which means an increasing rat population will, in all likelihood, have a devastating effect in the spring.”

It is feared government plans to introduce controversial ‘pay as you throw’ charges for domestic waste removal could further fuel the rat population.

“It seems ludicrous the government hasn’t abandoned new legislation that might encourage people to illegally fly-tip waste or leave more rubbish on the streets,” Miss Fairburn added.

The rest of this article will appear in 8 November issue of Shooting Times.

What is YOUR opinion?

Have you noticed a marked increase in rats where you live? Take part in our weekly poll below….

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.