Glasgow risks ‘public health disaster’ as rats and foxes ‘run riot’

Hillhead representatives say the conditions facing workers and residents living in tenement blocks is 'no longer acceptable'.

Glasgow risks ‘public health disaster’ as rats and foxes ‘run riot’ iStock

Glasgow is facing a “public health disaster” as the city council’s cleansing department continues to struggle with its workload, according to west end councillors.

Hillhead ward representatives say the conditions facing workers and residents living in tenement blocks is no longer acceptable and it is time to stand up for cleansing services.

It comes after the local authority issued an apology at the beginning of the week for delays in bin collections over the festive period which led to overflowing bins across the city.

The council said the delays had been down to staff absence issues as a result of Covid, illness and annual leave over Christmas.

An update was brought before the Hillhead area partnership on Tuesday morning.

Councillor Martha Wardrop said: “I do feel that tenement buildings are suffering the most because of lack of resources being made available through cleansing.

“Blue bins are overflowing and there was no reliable collection service over the last year because of staff issues.

“Because of the workload and the number of complaints we have had to deal with it is now a public health disaster and it is no longer acceptable.

“We need to have proper resources put in place in Hillhead as well as the rest of the city.

“There is a complete disconnect from residents who don’t know what is going on. There are rats, foxes and mice running riot around the community.

“People are really scared about rats and mice coming into their homes during the winter. Residents are being let down badly by this council.

“Why should we put up with it? We have to stand up for cleansing services. There’s a high level of staff sickness and people are exhausted.”

Her ward colleague, councillor Ken Andrew, said he echoed these sentiments and that councillors were receiving around 300 complaints a week over missed bin collections which he described as an “extraordinary amount”.

A council officer said they were working extremely hard to try and catch up with the missed collections.

NRS officer Francine O’Rourke said: “You only have to turn on the news to see how frontline services have been affected by Covid-19 and the Omicron variant. Cleansing services are no different from that.

“We had a series of unfortunate events with strike action and the pre-Christmas period with high levels of absence coupled with Covid-19 cases.

“We are aware there are a number of properties that need to be serviced. I am not disagreeing with anything you are saying.

“You are right, we need to work together to iron out some of those nuances. I would like to support that in any way I can.”

By local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter