Polegate residents ‘angry’ at rat infestation they say is caused by roadworks

Residents in Polegate say nearby roadworks on the A27 have caused an increase in rats in their gardens and homes.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:01 am
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 1:11 pm

Alexander Jones, who lives in Reynoldstown Lane with his wife Carol, said ever since work started on the A27 in April this year, they’ve seen more and more rats in the area.

He said, “We have been plagued with rats since Highway England started digging and piling for the roadworks. People I speak to say it’s the roadworks that are causing the increase in rats along A27.”

Mr Jones used to work as a builder so said he knows when rubble is moved and piled up, the rats nests beneath are disturbed so the animals move.

Reynoldstown Lane. Photo from Google Maps. SUS-211020-162248001

He said, “They’ve disturbed the nests so they’re coming to our gardens and homes. They’re getting used to us!”

Mr Jones said he’s caught rats in his kitchen by the fruit bowl and under the floorboards. He even said the scratching is so loud it wakes them up at night.

He said, “My wife has to go into a spare bedroom as she hates the scratching. It’s upsetting her.”

In terms of his neighbours, Mr Jones said others are having the same issue – one residents on his road has caught 48 rats since the work started.

Rat problem in Polegate SUS-211020-101046001

Mr Jones is frustrated by how the situation has been handled because he said elsewhere in Polegate work has stopped due to a dormouse being found.

He said, “It makes me angry they stop for a dormouse in Berwick but ignore us - where’s the justice in that?

“They’re not worried about us getting rats.

“They’ve nearly finished the roadworks now but Highways England should have done something about this.”

In response to his complaints Mr Jones said he’s been told by the authorities that the roadworks haven’t caused the rat problem.

He said, “Highways England won’t accept they have disturbed the rats nests causing them to move into our gardens.”

A spokesperson at Wealden District Council said, “We did investigate this issue earlier in the summer and visited a number of properties to give advice. Rats only appear where there is a food source, we therefore encourage residents not to feed wild birds and to remove compost heaps.

“The council provides a pest control service that residents can use or employ a private contractor to treat rats on their properties. Rodenticides used by professional pest controllers are the only effective way of eliminating rats from a property. There are strict legal controls where, how much and for how long these biocides can be used.

“If residents are concerned about rat infestations on neighbouring land we will investigate the causes.”

Mr Jones said residents followed this advice and stopped feeding birds six months ago, but rats are still a problem.

National Highways project manager Tom Beasley said, “We are aware of a rat problem around the A27 at Polegate. As part of the improvements scheme, we have been carrying out work which is fairly noisy and may have disturbed rats nests. The wet weather recently may have also contributed to the number of rats seen around the area.

“We have employed contractors to deal with the rats. However, we offer our apologies to any residents who have been disturbed by the rats.”