Public health officials are calling for a halt to the spread of monthly bin collections.
Trials of four-weekly pick-ups for non-recycled waste have led to more vermin and infestation, they warn, and families are burning waste because they cannot get rid of it.
The intervention comes after a decision by Conwy council in Wales to bring in permanent monthly bin collections.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health warns that cost savings from delaying collections are small and likely to trigger extra spending to deal with the resulting pollution.
Public health officials are calling for a halt to the spread of monthly bin collections
Tony Lewis, the institute’s policy chief, said fortnightly bin collections, which were brought in a decade ago in a government-led drive for compulsary recycling, had already taken the reduction of bin rounds as far as it should go.
‘We do not wish to see any further reduction in collections,’ Mr Lewis said.
‘We already have problems. Over the past summer in areas with fortnightly collections, we have seen infestations of maggots, more pests and smells.’
The institute is the professional body for 8,000 public health staff in charge of controlling local pollution and hygiene.
Conwy’s move has been closely watched by other councils which believe they can cut costs and force up recycling rates.
Trials of four-weekly pick-ups for non-recycled waste have led to more vermin and infestation, they warn
Ministers continue to insist that councils should try to hit EU targets of recycling 50 per cent of household waste – although many are failing to achieve this aim.
Conwy is estimated to be saving £390,000 a year with the monthly switch for 50,000 homes.
Mr Lewis said: ‘We cannot hide our disappointment at this retrograde step. There are real risks with moving to a monthly collection system, such as elevated levels of fly tipping, domestic refuse burning, pest infestations, odour nuisance and fly nuisance, especially in the summer months.’
He added: ‘Any immediate financial benefit of moving to monthly collections is likely to place an additional long-term burden on environmental health resources.’