The Warning Ministers Ignored over Bin Rounds and Disease

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY

LABOUR was warned by its own scientists that abolishing weekly rubbish collections risks spreading disease, it emerged yesterday.

Ministers were told a year ago that cutting back collections to once a fortnight would raise the threat of infestation by rats, insects and other vermin.

A report by the Government scientists warned of 'disease transmission in the home environment'.

They said home composting schemes were also a threat.

But despite such unambiguous advice, ministers have pressed ahead with their campaign to persuade town halls to cut back on bin rounds.

More than 100 local councils have switched to 'alternate weekly collection' schemes in which kitchen waste and other rubbish that can attract vermin is picked up just once a fortnight.

The fortnightly schemes are advertised as necessary to meet European waste directives and combat climate change.

The other advantage for councils, of course, is that they save money.

The damning report was produced by scientists inside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last January.

It shows that the fears of hundreds of thousands of householders who have lost their weekly rubbish collections are shared at the highest level.

The scientists state bluntly: 'There are significant gaps in knowledge to fully understand the implications of changes to collection routines.

Providing alternate weekly collection to facilitate recycling schemes could result in accumulation of waste at households. …