You may have read press speculation about weekly household waste collection instead of fortnightly. Forgive the pun, but it's misleading rubbish. It would cost millions for councils to change. For example, a minimum £7m for Sefton.

That's at a time when our council is already struggling to somehow cut almost eight times this amount of money off its total spending over the next few years. A challenge no different from that facing local authorities all over the country because of the huge financial overspending mess left by the previous government.

The background to this speculation is that the coalition government is, quite rightly, conducting a review of waste policy. It will not report until Spring next year. However, the environmental minister has stressed that, as was the case with the previous government, all councils will be free to operate collection systems that suit their area, because they know local circumstances best.

Currently, well over half the councils in the country pick up household rubbish fortnightly. More and more are switching over to the system all the time because it encourages residents to separate their waste -  and recycle.  All the top performing recycling councils use the system.

In Sefton, the council tax we pay  is lower than it would otherwise be simply because the cost of disposing of our rubbish is less than other Merseyside councils. That's the direct cash benefit of the hard work put in by local residents to achieve our high recycling rate. It's a saving of more than £1 million a year, compared to the average total amount that other local councils have to include in their council tax charges for household rubbish disposal. 

Campaigners against fortnightly rubbish collection go on about it being unhygienic because of the food in wheelie bins, in spite of expert research proving that this is not the case if it is sensibly handled and wrapped up and that its no threat to health.

However, that argument doesn't stand up at all in our area.  In Sefton, unlike some other councils, food waste is collected every week by the recycling crews from households who ask for the service, using the special council-supplied containers, which can be lined with compostable bags.  All this food waste is turned into valuable soil-improving compost.

Green garden waste is also collected under the alternate week system.  This is another service we never had before. Previously, it tended to go into black bags and finished up, together with everything else, dumped in landfill where, being organic, it created damaging greenhouse gas as it rotted.    Now, taken away separately by the council, it is not wasted and becomes very useful compost. 

To collect both rubbish and garden waste separately every week - remembering that green garden waste is heavy and and really helps reach our recycling targets all based on weight - obviously could not be done with the existing fleet of vehicles.  A huge replacement cost.

There is also no doubt that, going back to weekly, our recycling figures would drop and, therefore, the amount of rubbish going to costly  landfill would  increase.  Let's face it, human nature being what it is, there would be a natural tendency to dump everything in the grey wheelie bin rather than separate and recycle. 

These are just some reasons - and there are many more - why the majority of councils in the country have a fortnightly collection operation because it makes sense both environmentally and financially.

In spite of all the facts, it's a pity that one Southport councillor, who is on the Cabinet and so has no excuse for not understanding the serious financial consequences, has gone on record in the local press supporting a return to the old weekly system, claiming, in the face of extensive UK scientific and medical research findings,  that fortnightly is "not healthy".

Perhaps that person hasn't woken up to the fact that food waste  collection is actually weekly already ? Isn't this service used in their household ?  The answer is to stop putting messy food waste in the grey wheelie bin altogether. It creates horrible ozone layer damaging methane gas as it rots in landfill.  Get unwanted food and plate scrapings collected instead by the council and relax.  Just ask !