Local authorities are about to get tough on drivers who throw litter from their vehicles by fining them up to as much as £120. From April 2021, anyone caught by another new camera system throwing as much as a cigarette butt out of their vehicle window will be fined under a new anti-litter scheme.
Litter can take years to breakdown and degrade, Highways England reported somewhere in the region of 200,000 sacks of litter, ranging from coffee cups to the remains of nappies are removed from England’s roads every year.
Refuse found on motorways has even included larger items like construction waste falling from poorly secured cargo on lorries.
Following the ‘Great British September Clean’ organised by Keep Britain Tidy, Highways England’s Freda Rashdi said: ‘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 spent improving the network.’
Millions of wildlife species die every year after accidentally trapping themselves in discarded litter.
According to a recent report in the Times, ‘Littercam’ is new camera scheme set to catch motorists in the act of littering, Maidstone Council in Kent will be running the first pilot scheme in the UK.
Just 200 fines for littering were issued by Maidstone Borough Council in 2020, but the chairman of the housing and environment committee, hopes this new scheme will see an increase in fines now there is a zero-tolerance policy in place.
Other councils are already in talks to start using the new technology, including Wigan and Sheffield.
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Very similar to the maximum on-the-spot fines of £150 in England, ‘littercam’ fines will start at £90 and rise to £120 if unpaid for 15 days after first being issued.
On high streets, minor roads, as well as motorways, this new technology will provide councils with photographic footage as evidence along with the vehicle number plate or trade plate details if applicable, to help catch motorists who break the law.
Now actual evidence will be sent off to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which is part of the motor trade industry, they will report back to the council with all the registered motorist’s details so the offender can be issued with a penalty fine, anyone questioning the fine can access actual footage of the incident on the LitterCam portal.
Allison Ogden-Newton, of Keep Britain Tidy said: “We can’t go on like this. There are British roads that we are aware of that never get cleaned. It’s desecration.”
Patron of Clean Up Britain, Jeremy Paxman, said: “The public should take responsibility for their rubbish instead of relying on others to pick up their mess. What goes through people’s minds, I guess, it that they want to keep the inside of their vehicle clean and therefore throw the rubbish out without realising they’re making it a problem for everybody.”