COULD try harder - that's South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove's verdict on Swindon Council's recycling efforts.

But the council has hit back saying that it is improving - and without Government help.

"Figures I have seen have Swindon Council's recycling and composting rate at 32 per cent," said Ms Snelgrove, pictured. "And it is excellent that they are doing what they are doing.

"But when you look at Wiltshire County Council it is recycling 38 per cent of the waste it collects. So although it looks like we're doing okay what we need to be doing is exceeding our targets.

"MPs need to keep the pressure on our councils so that they beat their targets quickly and we can all reduce our carbon footprints.

"One of the big problems we have in this town is that the main recycling point we have is in the northern part of the borough. I think we need a new facility in the south of the borough.

"It could be a one-off capital project. Once up and running it would not cost too much to maintain and it would make a huge difference to the amount we recycle.

"We all know the council is receiving a fair amount of cash from building works - I cannot think of a better issue to put money into."

Councillor Rod Bluh, leader of Swindon Council, said the MP's comments were "unjustified" and that she had not talked to the council about the issues.

"I totally reject the accusation that we're not being ambitious," he said.

"We've set ourselves a target to recycle 50 per cent of our waste by 2010, which will be 10 per cent more than the Government's national target. If that's not ambitious I don't know what is.

"We've already achieved 38 per cent currently, and that will climb once the new service has settled down.

"All the changes we've made this year have cost the council an extra £2m to introduce, yet we've had no financial assistance from the Government to do it.

"As far as a second waste site goes, we are actively investigating the options, and this will represent another significant investment we'll have to finance from within Swindon.

"When we consulted residents about what they thought our priorities for waste should be, they placed a comprehensive kerbside recycling service for the whole borough, including plastic bottles, above a second waste site.

"We've now delivered that."