In a bid to rid our roads of rubbish, a new anti-litter scheme is being rolled out in some areas, with the installation of the new LitterCam to begin in April. Maidstone Borough Council in Kent will be one of the first to introduce the scheme.
The LitterCam will be able to identify motorists who discard litter from their car windows whilst driving, with fines being as high as £120. Litter includes items such as coffee cups, fast food, cigarette ends, and even apple cores.
This new initiative comes after Highways England revealed that a staggering 200,000 sacks of litter are removed every single year from England’s road, often including items that take several years to biodegrade.
While motorists can already be fined for littering, catching offenders in the act has previously been the responsibility of wardens, meaning that many motorists have continued to litter unnoticed.
However, with the new LitterCam, offending motorists will be caught on video footage that will then be scanned by high-tech LitterCam software. The video footage and photographic evidence will then be passed on to the DVLA after the vehicle number plate has been verified. As with speeding tickets, an address for the vehicle’s registered keeper will be identified, and a fine will be sent out. The fine begins at £90 and will rise to £120 if left unpaid for 15 days.
The initiative has been met positively by motoring organisations and environmental experts alike.
Freda Rashdi, Highways England, stated: ‘The simple fact is that if litter wasn’t dropped in the first place, it wouldn’t need to be picked up.
‘Litter is not only unsightly and a risk to wildlife and the environment, but it also puts our workers at risk collecting it and diverts time and money that could be better sent improving the network.’
Environmental expert and presenter Jeremy Paxman also praised the initiative and questioned the conscience of those who litter from their cars without thought:
‘What goes through people’s minds, I guess, is that they want to keep the inside of the vehicle clean and therefore throw the rubbish out the window without realising they’re making it a problem for everybody.’
[Image Source: Shutterstock, March 2021]
LitterCam latest in long line of new fining initiatives
While the LitterCam initiative is a positive step towards improving our roads for all, it has been noted that there appears to be an upward trend in the number of fineable offences coming into play for motorists.
In January of this year, for example, it was revealed that in addition to motoring offences like speeding, drivers will now also be at risk of being fined for more minor offences. These include driving in cycle lanes, failing to follow one-way systems, entering yellow-box junctions without clear exit and failing to give priority to oncoming traffic.
Similar to the LitterCam scheme, the minor traffic offences initiative uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to catch offending motorists and issue fines of up to £130.
Understandably, this was met with some contempt from motorists: ‘Most motorists think local authorities will rush to install cameras as a way to generate extra revenue’, said head of road policy, Nicholas Lyes.
He also stated: ‘Two out of five drivers we spoke to fear road layouts and signage will be made deliberately confusing to increase the number of penalties issued.’
Despite concerns, however, motoring lawyer Nick Freeman has defended minor offence fines, including the LitterCam and the penalties that come with it, even suggesting that this may not be enough to deter litterers completely:
‘Plans to use cameras to catch drivers dropping litter is a good idea in principle. But what’s the point of catching offenders if you then don’t punish them in a way that hurts? It’s just doing half a job.’
He continued by suggesting that a fine was not a heavy enough deterrent and should be accompanied by penalty points or even litter picking duties:
‘A fine isn’t enough. An endorsement of three penalty points is much more powerful.
‘What’s more, if offenders have to spend half a day picking up rubbish as part of their punishment, then they’ll literally have to clean up after their crimes.’
He concluded by dubbing the offence of littering a ‘shameful behaviour’ and suggesting that he is hopeful that the new LitterCam scheme will ‘lead to a change in attitude and prevent reoffending.’
Are you pleased that the LitterCam will catch offenders in the act? Or are you concerned about the increase in fines for motorists?
Let us know in the comments.
Amazing initiative! Will this also catch flytippers at night?
I truly hate litter and flytipping – it has such a negative effect on our immediate environment, and I don’t understand how many people are OK with it. I don’t like the idea of a draconian 1984-style nanny state, but am definitely in favour of fines for not disposing of rubbish responsibly (and also for vandalism such as smashing bus stop glass, and graffiti etc).
I do suspect that the £90-120 fine would make a big difference, and that most people would get into the habit of taking their rubbish home with them – and that a heavier fine will probably not be necessary. Vandalism, on the other hand, should incur hefty fines. Litter / flytipping is laziness, but vandalism is just unnecessary destruction which is horrible for people to see, and very costly for the council to repair.
Doubtful but it’s a step in the right direction.
Good news, the fine is not enough of a deterrent though. It should be £1000 as a starting point.
Great now get fly tippers doing clear up, ankle tracker if needed to call to task. Fine must cover cost of employing warden ( gunnery officer will drill them into shape). Just need the law courts to do the correct sentence and justify there place in society. (Standing down from soapbox now).
I guess my litter picking activity embitters my feelings, more need to do this to understand the magnitude of the problem.
Good for you, meant sincerely. No excuse for litter or fly-tipping. Make the fine or whatever cover more than the cost.
Brilliant. I hope Maidstone Borough Council publish the outcomes
Brilliant new scheme, if people don’t litter then they have nothing to fear.
Mmmmmmm, I don’t throw litter out of my car. It’s a disgusting habbit.
That said money can be spent better elsewhere. How many drop litter on the roads?
Litter campaign – fantastic and long overdue.
Although it pains me greatly that the UK is well on the way to becoming a Big Brother society, the real shame is that there are too many idiots who behave antisocially and littering is one of those inexcusable acts indulged in by such ignoramuses. So on that score, bring on the cameras and the fines, and yes certainly, more severe penalties for repeat offenders.
Right on. Absolutely. No excuse. I think the rubbish bin in my house is the appropriate place. ‘The Environment’ did not ‘environ’ for this sort of abuse. And you are correct about Big Brother. I now get stuff ‘commanding’ me rather than ‘asking’ me for it. You are a good guy. I hope you will regard me as such.
This is mainly down to burger eaters throwing out the rubbish from the car windows. I see this happen all the time at Cheshire Oaks Ellesmere Port.
Well round here there’s a big problem with minicab drivers. Absolutely disgusting! Fine them initially, then fine plus penalty points plus litter picking. And always publish their names for the shame angle too. Go in hard on these people, no point otherwise.
LitterCam means fines for Litter Louts, not decent Motorists!
People chucking litter forget some person will at some point have to pick it up. If its roadside, then they create a risk of injury for the litter picker. Think that through, before you lob your KFC litter out because it makes you feel guilty
I personally think its a great idea! people who litter are often clean tidy minded individuals, who, if they think at all, will assume ‘someone else’ will collect it, or ‘I’m creating a job for someone’! The problem is, these cameras, the sighting of them, including their maintenance and replacement, and the surveillance cost of operators and the software will cost tremendous amounts of taxpayers cash! If the fines can economically be collected, hopefully the generated revenue will self fund the operation.
Picking up the litter costs money too though, Harry.
I’m happy to have litter cameras Also the probation service could consider getting those sentenced to community service to do the picking ; they might have possibly been the litterers!.
Great idea. Some inconsiderate people wont be happy until we are waist deep in litter.
Absolutely brilliant idea for a change, yeh I know the motorist is hit hard but I couldn’t agree more with this. I drive for a living and the crap all over the side of the road just about everywhere is appalling. My only regret here is the slobs that just chuck rubbish out the window aren’t hit a hell of a lot harder..I’d dump it in their front room too !!
I am happy for there to be cameras to catch all sorts of anti social and dangerous behaviour. Maybe those who indulge in littering, tailgating, undertaking, speeding, fly tipping, theft and violence would think twice if there was a realistic chance that their actions would be captured on camera and they would face the consequences.
Agree mostly Neil, except with the undertaking comment. If people are to be photgraphed and fined for undertaking then I think the same should happen to people who sit in the middle lanes of motorways for no reason whatsoever.
I am concerned that a “lawyer ” believes that it is best to have high fines and add penalty points which should reflect the standard of your driving. Just so he can earn even more out of the motorist. The idea is reasonable but lawyers like this one should be made illegal for just stirring up anything that will give them more hard earned motorists money. I say ban money grabbing lawyers.
This is really a futile attempt to appear to be doing something positive about litter, however I don’t see it getting to grips with the problem on the thousands of miles of country minor roads where the problem is just as acute and major roads. A group of os regularly have litter picks on our lane, it’s only about half a mile long but during most of the year we can fill a couple of bin bags every week. Always the same sort, , McD stuff, cans of all types, and now used face masks. One person even threw away a receipt that had his phone number on it, as you can imagine the police were not interested and when one f our team phones him, all they got was a tirade of foul abuse.
Yet more cameras to watch us all. Yet again, rather than implement change through education, compliance will be through enforcement, which impacts the liberties of all. Amazingly, people now appear to accept liberty reducing measures as a first response to very real social problems.
All this does is show how education has failed which is largely due to the ‘greed is good’ attitude which came to the fore in the 1980s and has now permeated all areas of society (but thankfully not all people). Selfish behaviour promoting self love is now mainstream in TV and still ever more legislation is welcomed to oppose this behaviour. Insanity is everywhere.