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Household damage due to grey squirrels is on the rise

New figures reveal just how much of a nuisance the exploding grey population is becoming, with one insurance claim costing £30,000

Current estimates put the UK grey squirrel population as high as five million

No one quite agrees how many grey squirrels there are in the UK, but current estimates go as high as five million. This compares to the all-time high of an estimated 3.5 million red squirrels that were in the UK before grey squirrels were introduced in the 1890s.

Recent figures released by the Liverpool Victoria General Insurance (LV=GI) confirm what many in the country knew already: grey squirrels are becoming an increasing nuisance and one that costs businesses and individuals money. 

According to the data, home insurance claims caused by squirrel infestation increased by 51% across last year. LV=GI said that it had seen a number of claims relating to squirrels
over the beginning of 2023 — most of which related to the critters chewing through pipes, cables, decking and fascia boards. 

The insurer added that one squirrel-related claim had cost £30,000 and required the customer to move into temporary accommodation due to damage to roof timbers and underfelt. 

So far in 2023, LV=GI has seen a number of claims relating to squirrels, with the average claim costing around £3,000. 

“The pest can also move roof tiles, make a home within the loft, come down the chimney, or slide down guttering and cause damage,” the company said.

“Grey squirrels are a huge problem in the countryside too,” said Shooting Times’ airgun contributor Mat Manning, winner of the conservationist of the year award at the Great British Shooting Awards this year for his work tackling grey squirrels. “Their negative impact on red squirrels is common knowledge, but their monopolisation of food sources and the habitat damage they cause by bark stripping is detrimental to a wide range of native birds and mammals.”

There may be some support at hand though. One of the new higher tier Countryside Stewardship grants (WS3: squirrel control and management) available from the Government promises up to £50 per hectare for squirrel management in woodland. We will wait to see if this initiative finally starts to turn the grey tide.