Nviro news roundup: Unhygienic living conditions leading to pest infestation

November 3rd, 2015 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Unsanitary housing conditions

Half a million homes in the UK are infested with vermin, according to a new report.

Rats and mice are particularly problematic in UK houses, while cockroaches are also a significant issue.

A report by Shelter and YouGov surveyed 3,700 private renters in the UK. Its data showed that almost half (49 per cent) said they had problems with poor conditions or disrepair in the last 12 months.

In fact, the data showed that the problem of pests in UK homes is endemic, with around half a million private rented homes (equivalent to one in nine) suffering from this in the past year.

However, this is not the only problem that many Brits face with their homes. The study also showed that over a third (34 per cent) of private renters surveyed lived in a property with damp or mould this year.

In addition, one-fifth (22 per cent) suffered with poor insulation and excess cold, while 11 per cent complained of electrical hazards.

Speaking about the findings, Shelter helpline adviser, Nadeem Khan, said: "Every day at Shelter, we speak to people desperate for help after being forced to live in appalling conditions for months on end.

"Some of the housing horrors we hear are truly shocking – from people who are forced to live in flats crawling with fleas or rats or with water pouring out of the toilet waste pipe, to those who've been through the ordeal of a fire in their home caused by faulty wiring.

"No-one should have to live in a home which is unsanitary or unsafe, and that's why it's crucial to know your rights as a renter."

Its data showed that a further 15 per cent complained of leaking rooftops, while almost 6,000 private renters called the Shelter helpline and nearly 400,000 people visited the website for expert advice on conditions or disrepair in their homes.

Plastic bag waste

The five pence charge for plastic bags is expected to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that ends up on the streets.

Although critics have claimed the charges are too complex and could lead to confusion and longer queues at the tills, some have accused the government of not going far enough.

Environmental campaigners have said that in order for the policy to be effective in removing street waste, smaller shops should also be included under the legislation.

However, official estimates unveiled by the Break The Habit Group state that the measures are expected to cut litter clean-up costs by £60 million, while simultaneously raising £730 million for charity.

Defending the policy, environment minister Rory Stewart said: "Simple changes to our shopping routines, such as taking our own bags with us or using more bags for life, can make a huge difference in reducing the amount of plastic in circulation, meaning we can all enjoy a cleaner, healthier country."