A CONTROVERSIAL green bin tax in South Gloucestershire is being blamed for a surge in fly-tipping across the region.

The local authority recently introduced a £36 annual subscription service for residents' green bins to be emptied.

The opt-in charge, which was fiercely opposed by many residents, is for a fortnightly collection which was previously covered by the council tax.

Conservative councillors say this is causing a spike in fly tipping around South Gloucestershire, seen most recently in Easter Compton.

Cllr Robert Griffin, representing Pilning and Severn Beach, said: "The surge in fly tipping is one of the most damaging effects of the green bin tax, but it shouldn't come as a surprise because warnings were given during last year’s consultation about the likelihood of increased fly tipping if green bin charging was introduced.

“It's essential that the council gets on top of this growing and unacceptable problem because fly tipping can encourage other forms of crime."

The Gazette previously reported that less than a quarter of South Gloucestershire residents had signed up to pay for their green bins to be emptied ahead of the launch of the opt-in at the end of March.

Of the district’s 110,000 households, just 22,000 initially subscribed, leading campaigners against the changes to question what the remaining 88,000 householders would do with their garden waste.

The council said there was no evidence that charging for green waste increased fly tipping and burning over the long term and they had seen just six additional green waste tips this April compared with the same time last year.

A spokesman said: “Our figures to date suggest only a minor increase in fly tipping of green waste since the opt-in subscription service was introduced in South Gloucestershire last month.

“However we take fly tipping very seriously and we will continue to monitor, investigate and prosecute fly tipping offences when they occur.”

The council said it continued to promote responsible waste disposal and particularly residents’ options for garden waste, which include home composting and free disposal at all local Sort IT! centres.

There are now more than 30,000 subscribers for the green bin service.

South Gloucestershire residents can purchase compost bins at the council's partner at www.getcomposting.com