ALTERNATE weekly rubbish collections will stay in Oxford despite a Government report warning it could lead to more rats and an increase in disease.

Scientists at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published their report from last year this month and campaigners against the controversial scheme in Oxford said it proved their fears.

But last night councillor Jean Fooks, cabinet member for a cleaner city, said it would not change the city's current programme of bringing in alternate collections of household rubbish and waste that can be recycled.

Fortnightly collections of household waste are being brought in across the county and nationally as a way of pushing for an increase in recycling.

In the report, the scientists called for more research into the build-up of rubbish that could result from fortnightly collections instead of the old weekly system.

The report said: "Providing alternate weekly collection to facilitate recycling schemes could result in accumulation of waste at households.

"This could encourage vermin and insects into the home environment, which could potentially increase disease transmission routes."

Eric Murray, of pressure group Collect Refuse in Oxford Weekly (CROW), said: "This is no surprise to us and fits with the other specialists' and experts' views that we have constantly referred to.

"According to the council, under the new scheme there will be 4,500 households storing perishable waste for two weeks in their plastic bags. That will attract vermin.

"The remaining households will have wheelie bins, many overflowing and with side waste.

"We remain concerned about the effect of this on public health as the scheme extends across the city."

But Mrs Fooks said: "Another report by Defra says precisely the opposite. The last thing we want to do is spread alarm and despondency.

"Other authorities have not noticed a problem."

She said further research was needed on the potential impacts but expert advice had been that increasing the number of homes with wheelie bins was better for pest control.

Liza Picard, of Cranham Street, Jericho, said: "It's a plastic-wrapped, modern-day slum.

"A fortnight's worth of food scraps in the purple bags is piled all over the pavement.

"It's going to be a haven for foxes, dogs and rats as it gets warmer.

"If they would only go back to weekly collection."

The government report, called Potential health risks to humans from birds, mammals and insects associated with UK waste management operations, is available at