AWCs pose no public health threat, says report

Alternate weekly collection schemes (AWCs) pose no threat to public health according to a report released last month.

The research, commissioned by Wycombe District Council, was carried out by Cranfield University and Enviros Consulting. It assessed the health impact of AWCs based on Wycombe's own AWC scheme by investigating issues relating to odours, insects, rodents and the risk of disease.

The report stated that the research carried out "provides no evidence that AWC will cause any significant health impacts for residents, or that any health impacts are likely to be significantly greater than those associated with weekly collections."

However, a survey carried out among residents in the area found that those on the AWC scheme reported more incidents of odours and insects than those on weekly collections. But the report goes on to say: "Because of the nature of the questionnaire-type survey, the evidence does not allow us to say whether this is linked to the scheme, or whether it is due to a bias in the data".

A similiar survey carried out among waste operatives found that although the operatives "do receive complaints from the residents [regarding odours, vermin and insects] they did not report any complaints relating to health impacts associated with Wycombe District Council's waste collection scheme".

The report was funded by Defra's waste implementation programme.

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