Councils can increase recycling rates in "better ways" than moving to fortnightly rubbish collections, Tony Blair said today.

The Prime Minister, speaking on GMTV, said he remains a "traditionalist" when it comes to retaining the weekly bin round. His comments came as growing numbers of local authorities are switching to fortnightly collections in an attempt to encourage more re-cycling - despite intense opposition in some areas.

"It is for local councils to decide but in the end I am a traditionalist on this one, to be absolutely frank," Mr Blair said. "It think it is perfectly understandable why councils want to do it because of re-cycling and everything, but there may be better ways of doing it."

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman said: "The bin men still visit every house every week. But in around two out of five areas they now alternate what they pick up - one week recycling rubbish and the next general rubbish.

"Above all, councils must work with residents to decide what is the system that works best for their local area."