CLAIMS that a fortnightly waste collection scheme will lead to maggots infesting bins have been rubbished by council chiefs as 'irresponsible'.
Vale Royal Borough Council says it carried out an extensive risk assessment and public consultation before unveiling its Kerbside Recycling Scheme - which will be launched in April - two weeks ago.
The idea is to encourage residents to recycle by getting them to think about the type of waste they are disposing of.
Refuse collectors will pick up garden waste one week, along with other recyclables such as newspapers and bottles, and household rubbish the next.
The council's Labour Group had claimed the fortnightly collection of different types of waste will mean black bin bags will pile up outside houses, while maggots and flies will infest garden waste bins.
But Cllr Malcolm Gaskill (Lib-Dem), the lead councillor for waste services, dismissed the fears.
He said: 'I recognise change is difficult and that people will have concerns about this new scheme.
'However, we have conducted a lot of research, which proves categorically to us that what we are doing is the right thing for Vale Royal residents now and, just as importantly, in the future.'
He added: 'The sensational claims by the Labour party are irresponsible.
'The scheme, which was originally supported by them, is the right way forward and we will be working hard to ensure that people understand the need for recycling and how to manage their waste in a safe and healthy way.
'We are only asking people to put the right type of rubbish in the right bin, it is not rocket science.
'We have been told by the Government we must recycle three times more than we are doing at the moment. The penalty for not recycling more will be 'punitive'.
'We have got a world with only finite resources and we have got to stop using more than we need to. We have a duty to future generations.'
Residents of Vale Royal will be supplied with two bins, one for garden waste and one for household waste, along with bags and baskets to collect recyclable goods such as paper, tin cans and bottles.
On alternate weeks refuse collectors will pick up first recyclables and garden waste, then household rubbish. Recyclable goods will be sold, with the profit poured back into council services.
According to Cllr Gaskill, detailed research during the development of the scheme proved a fortnightly collection of household waste kept in a wheelie bin does not create a health or hygiene hazard.
He said this was confirmed by a detailed risk assessment, conducted by council officers and endorsed by the Institute of Waste Management, which also congratulated the council on the initiative, the first of its kind.
Recoup, a recycling organisation, agreed. A spokesman said: 'Concerns have proved unfounded - all the evidence from councils already operating fortnightly collections of residual waste confirms this is not a health hazard.
'Bagging refuse and tying bags shut prior to placing them in the bin will prevent spillages and will not attract vermin.'
Steve Bakewell, head of environmental operations at the council, said: 'When we launch the scheme we will be providing people with information about how to dispose of their waste in a safe way and will be supporting people who have concerns.'
But Labour Group leader Cllr Brian Lloyd insists the fortnightly collection policy is a bad idea.
He told the Chronicle: 'Even if the council doubled its current levels of recycling overnight, it still means that more than 80% of all waste would sit about uncollected for two weeks.
'Many families, even those with children out of nappies, will still need to resort to using black bin bags, which the council has said it will not remove.
'There exists a real danger of contamination of the green waste as families who have filled one bin move to another.
'There is also a major concern of pests and vermin. Maggots swarming in bins is a real likelihood in the summer months, which is a potential health hazard as well as being very unpleasant.'