A LUDGERSHALL GP has criticised Kennet District Councils failure to use wheelie bins and claims refuse bags encourage rats.

Parish councillor Dr Tony Greig also believes the black bag system endangers the health of refuse collectors and children by increasing the likelihood that they will come into contact with syringes used by drug addicts risking exposure to hepatitis and HIV.

A lot of food had been decomposing in these bags for up to six days before it is collected and cats and rats can smell it quite easily, said Dr Greig, at a meeting of the council which had received a letter complaining about the rubbish problem.

It is not a very satisfactory way of storing and collecting rubbish as the number of rats is directly proportional to the amount of food available.

Drugs were another worry and Dr Greig spoke of a recent incident involving children.

A young mother whose children had found two syringes said she called police in Andover who told her to wrap them in tissue and dispose of them in a bin but this advice is unsatisfactory, added Dr Greig.

It puts people at risk, especially the dustbin collectors.

Some people also chose to ignore the warning printed on the bags.

The wheelie bins would help protect public health by reducing the potential for rats and giving greater protection against puncture wounds caused by infected needles.

Chairman Jim Calder said the bins are a matter for Kennet council. Kennet said it had found bags to be a cost-effective method of rubbish collection.

Test Valley Borough Council, as well as two of the four Wiltshire district councils, have had bins for many years. One of the councils, West Wiltshire, charges £30 for replacement bins to offset costs.