Litterbug drivers caught on camera to be hit with £120 fines

Litterbug drivers caught on camera to be hit with £120 fines
A new camera scheme is set to clamp down on motorists who throw litter from their windows, fining them up to £120.

As of April, LitterCam will be used by Maidstone Council in Kent, in the country’s first pilot scheme to spot drivers discarding of things like cigarette butts and apple cores, The Times reports.

Fines will begin at £90 and rise to £120 if left unpaid for 15 days – not far off the maximum on-the-spot fine in England of £150.

The new software will capture and scan video footage and photographic evidence of the guilty drivers’ number plates.

Evidence will be sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which will inform the council of the registered motorist’s details. The offender will then be issued with a penalty through the post, and can access the footage on the LitterCam portal.

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Around 200,000 sacks of litter are removed from England’s high streets, minor roads and motorways every year, full of everything from coffee cups to fast food, nappies, cigarette butts and apple cores, according to figures from Highways England.

Refuse found on motorways has included larger discarded waste, such as building materials, which has slipped from poorly-secured cargo on lorries. Despite this, offenders are rarely caught and fined with only the wardens on patrol currently responsible for catching those in the act.

Maidstone Borough Council issued 200 fines last year for littering, but Derek Mortimer, chairman of the communities, housing and environment committee, hopes this figure will rise into the thousands with the new camera scheme and the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy.

Mr Mortimer said: “It takes years for a cigarette butt to degrade, so we are saving the planet one step at a time.”

Other councils, including Wigan and Sheffield, are also considering using Litter Cam, as are Transport Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive 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.”

She also highlighted the impact on wildlife, with a whopping 3.2 million voles, shrews and mice dying every year after accidentally trapping themselves in discarded bottles and cans. 

Presenter Jeremy Paxman, who is also patron of Clean Up Britain, said the public should take responsibility for their rubbish instead of relying on others to pick up their mess.

He added: “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.”

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