LABOUR politicians have challenged Swindon Council to answer resident concerns about the end of weekly waste collections.

But council leader Roderick Bluh has accused the Labour group of hypocrisy after they voted in favour of the new recycling regime.

In a public letter yesterday Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Central) said households risked being infested with flies, maggots and vermin following the introduction of alternate weekly collections.

He called on Coun Bluh to heed advice from waste experts to ensure similar problems do not hit Swindon.

He said: "We launched our own inquiry into the Tory plans in April and since this time we have spoken to many people who are deeply concerned about the impact of these changes.

"Abandoning weekly collections is a big step. The Government's waste experts state that full consultation is essential, but we see no evidence of this having taken place in Swindon.

"They advise that a weekly food waste collection is provided. However, in Swindon food waste will only be collected fortnightly.

"This risks a Tory-designed blight of smells, maggots, rats and other vermin across Swindon.

"I have asked 15 key questions reflecting the concerns we have heard from people, to find out why they have not been consulted, why weekly food collections are not being provided and what special provisions are in place for larger families and people living in flats."

Coun Bluh (Con, Dorcan) said: "We are extremely disappointed at the comments made by the Labour group, given that they were consulted about the recycling plan and voted in favour of it.

"They were fully involved and consulted in a series of cross-party meetings, because we wanted this to be a non-partisan issue.

"In addition I would add that it is factually wrong to say weekly collections are being abolished.

"We have introduced a weekly collection which makes Swindon quite unique, and there remains a general waste collection every other week.

"The recycling scheme was trialled at 10,000 homes in west Swindon and the majority view was one of support for the initiative.

"The council has already spent £2m of its own money on improving waste collection because the government requires it. We believe this letter to be a partisan attempt to gain political support."