Use of Rat Poison in small Therfield Heath Carpark.
The last few months have been incredibly challenging for the Heath and the car parks with increased foot fall and litter. It is therefore not surprising, yet is most regrettable, that we have found that we have a growing rat colony in the small and very well used Therfield Road car park.
Background to why we needed to act
We are required to take action by NHDC under the Pest Act 1949 because of the risk to humans from the infestation. The Pest Act of 1949 can be seen here
A copy of the letter (with personal information redacted) which we received on 10 March from NHDC can be read here . The letter asked us to engage a pest controller and we did so.
The need to take action
Given that notice under the 1949 Pest Act has been served we need to take action. Our Pest Controller estimates that there are well over 100 rats within the car park. Rats can breed at a prolific rate. An online search will highlight some of dangers that rats pose to humans. We have not taken the decision to use rat poison lightly. We have taken this decision after the receipt of notice from NHDC under the Pest Act 1949 and upon receipt of professional advice from a pest controller.
We have engaged the services of a pest controller. A site survey was carried out. A copy can be seen here with more information here. An Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) was carried out. A copy can be seen here.
The CRRU code (Code of Best Practice for the use of rodenticides) says that there should be a site survey and an ERA and both have been undertaken. We do not expect to bait the area in the long term.
Communication, domestic animals and wildlife
We have communicated widely and successfully with the dog trainer, dog walker and dog owner communities. For those who were not contacted in advance, or by the time that baiting started, then there are many onsite signs to alert dog walker and also any casual visitors.
We think there will be few pet cats in this area as it is a significant distance from any houses and in any case we would hope cat owners would not allow their pets to hunt or explore in a nature reserve.
We have engaged with local wildlife groups, and Natural England, and hope they will assist in ensuring our approach minimises any impact on wildlife.
We will maintain the regular bin emptying and litter patrols and have arrangements in place to remove any rats/rat remains and for those to be disposed of correctly.
Monitoring and modifying our approach
Along with our pest controller we will monitor the infestation and we all remain ready to modify our approach. We will do all we can to minimise adverse consequences but must be responsive to NHDC and comply with the Pest Act 1949. We are obliged to provide regular updates to NHDC in respect of this matter and to comply with the terms of their letter to us which again can be seen here.
Work with us to reducing food availability
We have a plan to upgrade the bins to versions that stop rats from getting into them. This will (we hope) reduce the availability of food once they have been delivered and installed.
Although we have twice daily bin emptying and litter picking we note some litter / waste and food is still being left on the floor by the public.
We ask everyone to play their part and to take their litter home with them.
Work with us to make Therfield Road car park rat free.