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Domestic Wastes: Waste Management

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount of waste produced per person in local authorities operating (a) alternate weekly collections, (b) no side waste policies and (c) traditional weekly collections. (142617)

No such estimates have been made by my Department.

Data on waste produced per person are collected as part of local authorities' statutory performance monitoring. However, the Government do not keep data on the waste collection policies chosen by individual authorities. It is, rightly, the responsibility of individual local authorities to decide on the most appropriate waste collection policies for their communities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the incidence of flies and vermin in areas that have introduced an alternate weekly collection of household waste. (142776)

Some representations, in the form of parliamentary questions and correspondence, have been received by my Department from people concerned about possible links between the alternate weekly collection of waste and increases in flies and vermin.

There is no evidence in published studies to indicate a causal link between an increase in flies or rodents as a result of alternate week collection. The characteristics of a location will influence the rodent population and simple hygiene practices can directly prevent or reduce rat and fly populations. An independent, DEFRA-funded research study on the use of alternate weekly collection services, carried out by Enviros Consulting and Cranfield university in 2006, drew the same conclusions.

Proper design of an alternate weekly collection service should avoid any increase in nuisance to householders. The waste and resources action programme is currently updating its guidance for local authorities on the design and implementation of alternate weekly collection services, in order to minimise nuisance and health risks.