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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Blair doubts on fortnightly bins
Rubbish
Fortnightly rubbish collections have attracted some criticism
Tony Blair has stepped into the row about councils switching to fortnightly rubbish collections - saying that he prefers weekly bin rounds.

He said it was for councils to decide, but he told GMTV there must be "better ways" for them to boost recycling.

About a third of councils now collect rubbish one week and recycling the next in a fortnightly system intended to hit recycling targets and cut waste.

But Mr Blair said he was "a bit of a traditionalist" on the issue.

Maggot complaints

The Local Government Association says people in areas using the alternate weekly collection tend to find their bin for non-recyclable rubbish fills up, which encourages them to use the space in their "green" bin.

Last week a study for the LGA suggested that councils which switched from weekly to fortnightly collections had achieved higher recycling rates.

I think it is perfectly understandable why councils want to do it because of re-cycling and everything, but there may be better ways
Tony Blair

LGA chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said the days when people could throw rubbish away without thinking of the environmental consequences were "over".

But fortnightly collections have been criticised, with complaints about bad smells, maggots and vermin.

On Tuesday, Mr Blair told GMTV: "It is for local councils to decide but in the end I am a traditionalist on this one, to be absolutely frank.

"I think it is perfectly understandable why councils want to do it because of re-cycling and everything, but there may be better ways of doing it."

Whitehall advice to councils is not to introduce the idea of fortnightly collections too near polling day.

Its Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) added: "It is advisable to roll out the scheme in autumn, winter or early spring such that by the time warmer weather arrives, residents are used to the scheme and initial resistance has faded."




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