FLYTIPPING of building waste in North Devon has risen by 208 per cent and North Devon Council's member for waste and recycling lays the blame for that squarely at the door of Devon County Council.
Independent district councillor Rodney Cann last week claimed the rise was the result of a hike in charges to dispose of building waste at recycling centres imposed by the county council.
There were just 12 incidents of building waste being dumped between April 2010 and March 2011 but 37 between April 2011 and March 2012, a rise of 208 per cent.
The charges were introduced on April 1, 2011.
Devon County Council is not legally obliged to accept non-household waste and after a £54.6m cut to Devon's budget opted to introduce the charges rather than not accept the waste at all.
But Mr Cann says flytipping is now a growing problem for the area.
"I think the cost of disposing of building waste has simply been transferred from the county to the district council," he said.
"It's a cost-cutting measure that has succeeded only in raising costs."
And Mr Cann says the policy is "nonsensical".
"You can buy a concrete block for about 80p or £1," he said, "but to dispose of it costs £2.50. It's ridiculous.
"And people are also still confused about what they can and can't take to the tip.
"Given the confusion, and the cost, people are just taking the easy way out and dumping their waste where they think they can get away with it.
"But it's not an easy way out."
The cost of disposing of the waste, says Mr Cann, has been passed from DCC to the consumer and then directly on to North Devon Council when the consumer decides to fly tip, which is far more expensive.
"People are just ruining their own countryside," said Mr Cann.
He also said there was a further, connected, problem. "There's a significant amount of DIY waste being hidden in black bins and, again, that is expensive for the district council to deal with.
"I'd urge DCC to think again about this policy, it just isn't working."
But Devon County Council does not agree with Mr Cann and claims any waste NDC collected would be accepted free of charge at the county council's recycling centres.
The cost of collecting the rubbish appears not to have been taken into account.
A county council spokesman said: "Due to significant budget reductions, the only way to continue providing a service for small volumes of soil and rubble waste at our recycling centres is by making a modest charge of £1 per sack.
"Fortunately, the vast majority of residents are law abiding citizens who care for their local environment and we would urge anyone who witnesses fly-tipping to report it to either the Environment Agency or their district council."
"You can buy a concrete block for about 80p or £1 but to dispose of it costs £2.50. It's ridiculous."