Incidents of fly-tipping in parks and open spaces in Sheffield have rocketed, according to council statistics.
Figures show 576 cases were recorded in 2012/13, compared with 204 in 2011/12.
The statistics were seized upon by opposition Liberal Democrat councillors as proof that cuts to opening hours at recycling centres have caused a big increase in dumping.
But ruling Labour councillors said it was not fair to compare the numbers because of a change in which areas count as parks or open space - and that the overall figure is for a downward trend.
In one of the worst incidents of dumping in Sheffield’s treasured green spaces, Star reader Andrew Sobieralski highlighted this February how land next to playing fields off Sutherland Street, Pitsmoor, had been left covered with a lorry load of waste.
Coun Joe Otten, Sheffield Council’s Liberal Democrat recycling spokesman, said: “The council’s promise to get tough on fly-tipping appears to be nothing more than empty words.
“While Labour seem to be taking action in their ‘favoured-areas’, communities elsewhere in the city have been forgotten.
“Instead of only taking action once fly-tipping has occurred, Labour should be improving recycling services to tackle the causes of the problem.”
Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said year-on-year figures for fly-tipping incidents are ‘not fully comparable’.
Some categories have changed, such as parks which now includes public open spaces like Devonshire Green, he added.
Coun Scott said: “The Lib Dems are playing silly games here.
“The changes are the result of how we categorise fly-tipping. Overall, across the whole city, fly-tipping incidents have reduced and not gone up.
“At the end of the day, fly-tipping is caused by irresponsible, ignorant and criminal behaviour.”
Numbers of fines for littering and fly-tipping have increased over the last year under a council crackdown.
Incidents of fly-tipping across all categories of land were below 1,200 in 2012/13, down from 2,700 the year before, the council said.
Ian Ashmore, the council’s head of environmental regulation, said: “Only a city-wide view gives the whole picture.”