That was the question posed by Labour councillors today after Kirklees Council figures showed waste taken to household tips had fallen by 1,780 tonnes in three months.
Labour group leader Clr Mehboob Khan described the drop as "shocking" and blamed new charges introduced for waste collection. He also claimed tipping permits were responsible for an increase in fly tipping and a drop in recycling.
Clr Khan said responsibility lay with the Liberal Democrat and Green party groups who introduced the charges for waste collection and a permit system for tipping household waste.
Figures show that in the three months between April and June last year, there was 7,283 tonnes of waste collected at tips and 1,285 tonnes recycled.
In the same period this year, the amount of general waste fell to 5,503 tonnes and the amount recycled dropped to 1,067 tonnes.
"During April, May and June 2003 the total tonnage of waste being tipped at household waste and recycling centres has fallen by a massive amount," said Clr Khan.
"This coincides with a really huge increase in fly tipping and sharp drop in recycling," he said..
"Quite obviously waste that is not going into council tips is being illegally fly tipped
"Labour councillors have always opposed charges for waste collection and tip permits because this would damage the environment. Our case has been proved.
"I am also alarmed that 269 fewer tonnes of waste was recycled at council tips compared with the same three months in 2002," he said.
"Liberal Democrat-controlled Kirklees is the only council in West Yorkshire to have charges for this essential public service."
Clr David Payne, cabinet member with responsibility for environment, said: "We are concerned about fly tipping but there is no evidence it has risen as a result of the charges.
"It took a while to get over the teething troubles but it seems to have sorted itself out now.
"The refuse collectors say there is still fly tipping in the places where it was before. And most of it is from traders so it is not related to the domestic charges.
"Fly tipping is a criminal offence and if anyone sees it happening they should contact Kirklees environmental services and the police."
An ad hoc scrutiny panel has investigated this issue and will present its findings at cabinet on November 5.
Related stories and messageboards