Police traffic cameras should be used to catch drivers and passengers who drop litter from cars and trucks, a former environment secretary has insisted.
The call for litter-cams comes as new technology make it possible to snap louts hurling rubbish from vehicle windows.
Theresa Villiers said “we need to get tougher on enforcing our litter laws. It disfigures the places where we live. It damages wildlife and costs council taxpayers hundred of millions of pounds every year.”
Not long ago the government changed the law so that if prosecutors show that litter was thrown from a vehicle, they can fine the owner and do not have to prove the identity of the person in the car at the time. This important legal change should open the way for widespread use of litter-cams. Deploying the national automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) network on this task could make a big impact on cracking down on litter offences.
Fines for dropping litter from a vehicle range from £90 to £120. It is a huge problem across the UK – leaving many A roads and motorway slip roads looking like tips. The rubbish can be a hazard for other drivers if blown into the paths of cars or for wildlife.
The ANPR network, which has 11,000 cameras around the country is used to monitor vehicles including tracking stolen cars and movements by criminals. The Government has said it is not currently possible for the cameras to detect litter crime.
In a written response to a question by Miss Villiers, environment minister Rebecca Pow said ”the ANPR cameras are not suitable for use in gathering evidence of littering or fly-tipping in progress due to the system recording vehicles images and number plates only. However, Miss Villiers called for the option to be explored in the future. She said “Why not adapt and upgrade these cameras so they capture images which be used to fine people who throw rubbish out of cars?”
I believe we should all be thankful to the many older volunteers who clear the rubbish from our villages and towns. It’s a shame they are unable to put their spare time towards helping those who really need it and not clear up after the selfish few.
21st April 2021
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