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Overgrown gardens

What can be done about vermin in overgrown gardens?

In some circumstances, overgrown gardens can provide harbourage to vermin such as rats and mice. Whilst overgrown and untidy gardens may be considered an eyesore to some residents, it does not necessarily mean such conditions will result in vermin infestations which would raise any public health concern.

It is not uncommon for most gardens to be visited by rodents at some point or another. As part of their exploratory movements, they can travel between feeding or nesting sites. Even in well-kept gardens, it is not unusual to witness rodent activity under sheds and decking areas where they are provided with shelter.

It is important to understand that a rat sighting does not necessarily mean that there is an infestation, and it is unlikely that any further action will need to be taken.

When can the council get involved?

The council will investigate when there appears to be harbourage to vermin that could give rise to an ongoing infestation. The Council has a responsibility under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to ensure the district is, as far as possible, kept free of vermin. Therefore, the presence of certain waste may need to be investigated this may include:

  • a build-up of general waste e.g. black sacks full of general rubbish including food.
  • soft furnishing such as mattresses, sofas, carpets, clothes, and textiles
  • piles of wood at ground level which could provide a nesting environment
  • irresponsible bird feeding e.g. large quantities of food being thrown directly onto the ground or leaving out bowls of food at ground level or on raised platforms

If you are concerned about any of the above being present in a neighbouring garden, then you may wish to contact the department. Please be advised that in certain circumstances, the council may require you to provide evidence if you claim that an infestation exists.

Last modified on 01 March 2024

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