The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has hit back at The Sunday Telegraphs report that ministers tried to cover up a Government-funded report which linked alternate weekly collections (AWCs) with an increased health risk from rats, flies and seagulls.
According to the newspaper the report, funded by the Central Science Laboratory, was kept under wraps by ministers because it found that ending weekly collections would increase pest infestation rates and disease transmission.
However, a Defra spokeswoman told MRW: "No secrecy has been exposed. The research reports have been publicly available for months on the Defra website. We announced we would undertake further research following a select committee report on this subject. The issues raised are easily overcome by common sense measures such as keeping waste tightly wrapped and bin lids closed. No significant health risk were identified."
Earlier this year MRW spoke to National Pest Technician Association chairman Barrie Sheard who said that there was no link between AWCs and rat infestation. He said as long so wheelie bins were properly shut and there was no side rubbish then rats will not be attracted to householders waste.
Previous story, No link between rats and AWCs, (04/02/08)