Rat rant factually wrong

TREVOR Wilding’s rant about rats in Wanstead has little basis in fact (‘What’s reason for rat-ridden Redbridge?’ Guardian, February 15).

His agenda appears to be about attacking Redbridge Council, so it would be good if he was actually talking about public areas where Redbridge is responsible for the upkeep.

He refers to “rarely seeing people emptying bins in Wanstead Park, what are we paying our council tax for?” Well, Wanstead Park is City of London Corporation land, not the responsibility of Redbridge Council.

Then he refers to the Tarzy Wood area adjacent to Wanstead Church School, again City of London Corporation land.

Indeed, when rats were reported in that area a couple of years ago, Redbridge Council did act, despite the land being owned by another authority.

I do not recognise Mr Wilding’s description of that area now. It is total fantasy to talk about “children on their way to school having to fight their way past hordes of rats.”

While no one is saying that the rat problem has been completely eradicated, the actions of Redbridge Council to deal with the problem previously, and the excellent work of volunteers cleaning up Tarzy Wood, has transformed the area for the better.

Of course rats are a problem in Redbridge as they are across the country. Nationwide, councils could better deal with rats and other problems, were they not having budgets constantly slashed by the Conservative Government.

On the specifics of central Wanstead, there are a number of people who feed the pigeons, despite being told not to. This in turn increases the rat population.

No one denies that rats are a problem, it is just a pity that people like Mr Wilding muddy the water by getting the facts wrong. Some might even think he was more concerned with attacking the Labour Council than dealing with the rat problem.

Tim Harris