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Brussels to form pest control department to tackle rat problem

17:28 15/07/2020

Brussels environment minister Alain Maron (Ecolo) has announced that a new department is being put together to carry out pest control in the region. The department would be charged with the management of pigeons and stray cats, for instance, but mostly rats.

The common rat, or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), is on the increase in Brussels. The number of reports of rats has greatly increased over the last decade. The problem was laid bare last autumn when renovation works started on the Brunfaut tower. The social housing complex with 97 flats had been vacant for three years and was overrun with rats.

In his response to a parliamentary question posed by Fouad Ahidar (, Maron said that the department would consist of six professionals and cost some €520,000 to institute. The staff would need to set policy in a number of areas, including empty buildings, waste management and construction sites.

“Take the white bags for rubbish,” said Ahidar. “Every two weeks when we put them on the pavement, there is a veritable buffet for pests. Or vacant properties: They must be managed professionally to keep out pests, or better yet not stand vacant at all. We also need to better care for public green space, trim back bushes, keep verges clean. We need a uniform and collective approach, on all levels.”

Photo ©Kulbabka/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



I hope that Ecolo will act in an environmentally responsible and ecological manner and only target potentially disease-carrying rats, without using all those funds to randomly dump poison to kill off cats, pigeons etc. Rid vacant buildings and desolate areas of rat infestations by all means but make sure no other animals, birds or humans are killed off in the rush. And stay out of green areas of Brussels.There is already enough nature and wild life being destroyed in leafy communes and in the Forêt de Soignes.

Jul 16, 2020 12:57
Frank Lee

I'm just surprised such a department didn't exist until now. By the way, ALL animals can carry diseases: rats, but also pigeons, ducks, squirrels, even your dog or cat. Please don't kill them all...

Jul 17, 2020 12:12