VISITORS spreading food for birds and other wildlife near a historic park’s ponds are causing a rat problem.
Councillors have been told that their generosity has caused a ‘constant battle’ against the rodents around the ponds and lakes in Blackburn’s Corporation Park.
Now signs are being put up to deter people from leaving the bread and other foodstuffs.
The scale of the problem is revealed in a report to Blackburn with Darwen borough’s full council forum from environment boss Cllr Jim Smith.
It says: “Additional signage is being placed around the ponds and lakes at Corporation Park to deter residents from leaving food for the wildlife in the area, as it is causing continual problems with rodents eating the food left by residents with the best of intentions.
“The council continually has to bait the locations to control the rodent population, but is fighting a constant battle due to the amount of food being left for birds and other wildlife.”
Nicola Beswick, chair of the Corporation Park Supporters Group, said: “For a number of summers the rat population has swelled, this is true of many urban area where there is access to food scraps from bins or discarded waste.
“There have been several attempts to curb the number of rats.
“People leaving food on the banks of the lakes is a big contributing factor, whether it is dumping food waste (often wholly inappropriate things like rice, chips and bread) or just leaving excess crumbs from feeding the ducks.
“Ideally people should only be feeding the ducks with bird seed and not leaving any on the bank. The council’s pest control team have continued to bait traps, but the rats are more attracted to the discarded food scraps.
“The most effective action was the park warden talking to people by the lake to let them know what was and wasn’t appropriate”
The council has recruited an additional enforcement officer to tackle the issue.