The amount of fly-tipping across the county has skyrocketed since the opening hours of waste and recycling centres were scaled back, it has emerged.

At a meeting of Hertfordshire County Council on Tuesday, it was revealed that instances of fly-tipping have increased by nearly 18 per cent since tip opening hours were slashed last year.

Councillor Nigel Bell said he was pleased the council admitted there was a problem with the illegal practice but could not comprehend their assertion that this was simply “a coincidence” unrelated to the reduction of opening hours or the closure of sites such as the Wiggenhall Depot in 2013.

READ MORE: Six mattresses dumped near playing fields 

“They should admit it’s their policy that has done this – most people realise that. If you close recycling centres and shorten the hours then the amount of fly-tipping will increase,” he said.

“They’re not going to say it’s because they closed them but we’re pleased they accepted that fly-tipping has increased.”

Cllr Bell is now calling for a return of seven day opening hours at the dumps and a “proper, well-run and efficient recycling service” in order to rid the county of the fly-tipping “blight”.

“We, along with residents in petitions and campaigns, warned that fly-tipping would increase in west Watford and beyond, and it clearly has created issues for local residents here,” he added.

“The supposed saving is simply a transfer of costs to the ten borough and district councils which have to pick up the bill for clearing fly-tipped rubbish.

“The county council has created more problems locally instead of listening to the views of residents and local county councillors.”  

Councillor Richard Thake, who is responsible for waste, said: “Although opening times were reduced in 2015, these are coordinated across the county so that there’s always an alternative site nearby available, and no tips were closed.  There is no evidence to suggest that changes to opening hours has led to the increase in fly-tipping.

“This is a nationwide problem and it is concerning that instances in Hertfordshire have generally increased over the last few years. We will work with the borough and district councils, the police, the Environment Agency and the National Farmers’ Union to target fly tipping hotspots as a matter of urgency.

“We are clamping down on commercial waste being brought to tips, as it should be disposed of at a proper trade waste site and not paid for by the taxpayer.

“Fly-tipping is a crime that impacts on everybody, detracting from the county’s environment and placing an unacceptable financial burden on local taxpayers.”

Meanwhile, Watford borough councillors Sohail Bashir and Ahsan Khan suggested several measures to reduce dumping in their Callowland ward, including a fly-tip patrol and an increase in weekend litter picks.