A BID to end controversial charges for dumping DIY waste has failed.

Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Cooksey claimed at a Surrey County Council meeting that fly-tipping has increased since the charges were brought in.

More than 1,400 people signed a petition calling on the council to end the fees at community recycling centres (CRCs).

Speaking at the meeting at County Hall, Cllr Cooksey said the decision to impose the charges was having an affect on fly-tipping. He said: “It’s clear from information supplied by organisations such as the National Trust that fly-tipping has increased significantly since the introduction of charges.”

Cllr Cooksey said in January and February this year there were 3,300 fewer trips to CRCs every week compared to the same two months last year.

He suggested this would not have happened if the charges had not been imposed. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a consultation to clarify the law which allows local authorities to charge residents to dispose of DIY waste in January this year. SCC chose to introduce the charges in September 2016.

Household DIY waste refers to rubbish from construction or repairs of homes and gardens, such as bricks, stones and tiles.

Conservative councillor Mike Goodman, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “The waste consultation is an importation consultation. It’s about tackling waste crime and poor performance in the waste sector. It covers fly-tipping and is a very technical paper.”

He denied the claim that fly-tipping had increased and stressed tonnage figures of waste at the community recycling centres were down.

“We have achieved this because we have a team of excellent officers,” he said.

“A significant change was the cost to supplying our CRCs. Some people said this would lead to an increase of fly-tipping but tonnage figures are down.”

The tonnage in waste taken to CRCs has reduced from 140,000tonnes to 105,000tonnes since 2015/16 with kerbside collections of waste tonnage staying the same.

Cllr Goodman said a significant change in the amount of tonnage being produced was due to a change in how the CRCs are run which had seen a drop of 35,000 tonnes of rubbish taken to the dumps. Measures such as revised opening times, charges to DIY waste, tighter controls over business use and restrictions on non-Surrey residents using the centres had all contributed to savings of £1.7 million each year.

Residents Association and Independent councillor Jan Mason said people were putting fridges and freezers outside their homes on the pavements ready to be picked up by tradesmen as many were confused about what they could take to the dumps.

Cllr Goodman admitted there was confusion in what was considered DIY waste but that the council was still right to impose the charges.

He added: “The law will need to change to stop councils charging. Without such a change I don’t believe this council should change its policy.”

Councillors voted 60 to 9 to keep the charges but to continue consulting with the Government and looking for sustainable ways to dispose of the waste.