The pest control company Rentokil estimates there are as many as 80 million rats in the United Kingdom, which has a human population of 60 million, The Times of London reported Monday.
Nationwide, calls to pest control units in Britain have risen by 17 percent, the newspaper says.
Figures show the city of York in the north of England tops the list of problem towns with a yearly increase of 208 percent in its rat population, Others with a significant increase in rats are Carlisle, Exeter and Salford.
Director Peter Crowden of the National Pest Technicians Association warns there will be an epidemic unless citizens reduce food waste.
Many local councils in Britain have reduced garbage collections to every other week instead of weekly.
"Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we recycle," said Crowden. "Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for rats to spread disease."