A rural business association has warned closing recycling centres across Surrey to save cash will lead to a rise in fly-tipping and incur clear-up costs.

Country Land and Business Association South East regional director Robin Edwards said: “We understand councils are facing tough budget choices and are looking at where they can make savings.

“But it makes little sense if thousands and thousands of pounds of taxpayer or landowner money has to be spent clearing up dumped waste. That would be self-defeating, not to mention the environmental cost.

“Each incident of fly-tipping on private land costs the owner on average £844 to clean up, but why should innocent landowners bear the burden of this disgraceful crime?”

Surrey county council announced last week it was launching five separate public consultations in a bid to slash over £200 million from its budget by 2021.

The county council is proposing to increase the number of days a week three community recycling centres are open, including in Leatherhead, to seven while closing four centres.

Other proposals would see the closure of six centres in Surrey, while increasing the number of days a week and staff at other centres.

Mr Hodge said: “The financial pressures we’re facing are so severe that we have no other choice but to look again at whether savings can be found at community recycling centres.

“We have to consider closing some centres which are less efficient and have fewer visitors.

“For example, four of our smallest centres only handle around a tenth of the waste dropped off and six take less than a fifth, with the other nine dealing with all the rest.”

The consultations will close on Friday, January 4 2019. They can be found at www.surreycc.gov.uk/consultations.