SOMERSET MP Tessa Munt is calling for action over a 65% increase in fly-tipping in the county. Damning figures released yesterday by the Government highlight a dramatic increase in fly-tipping incidents in Somerset during the period from 2011 to 2012. These show that whilst nationally there was an overall decline of 9%, fly-tipping in Somerset has increased a staggering 65% during the same period.

The figures come just days after Conservative councillors on Somerset County Council voted to stick with their decision last year to reduce opening hours at local tips.

At last week’s full council meeting, Lib Dem opposition councillors also urged the Conservatives to scrap so called 'tip taxes' at Somerset’s waste re-cycling centres, including those in Highbridge, Dulcote and Cheddar.

Addressing the issue in Parliament yesterday, Thursday, December 20, Wells MP Mr Munt said: “In 2011, the leadership of Somerset County Council announced that Somerset would be the first county to introduce partial closures and charging for the use of recycling facilities.

"The public expressed their concern that this would lead to increased fly-tipping. The resulting costs, which are £303,615 this year, have to be picked up by the taxpayer through the District Councils.

"Will the leader of the house allow a debate on how ministers might be empowered to intervene to protect the environment and stop this irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money?”

Replying on behalf of the Government, the leader of the house answered: “I am very interested in what my Honourable Friend has to say, and I will ask my colleagues at the Department for Communities and Local Government to respond to her specifically.

Commenting later, Mrs Munt added: “These expenses are unnecessary and outrageous. We Lib Dems objected to the Conservatives’ decision to cut opening hours and to introduce charges on some types of waste at local re-cycling centres, predicting this would increase fly-tipping and increase costs to the taxpayer. Hundreds of local people wrote to me about this. Sadly for the countryside and the taxpayer, we've been proven correct."