Posted by: bluesyemre | September 1, 2021

Littercams (Smart Cameras) will be used to fine Littering Drivers £120

With littering surging by 250% over the last year, Maidstone is trialling technology from ‘Littercam’ to catch drivers in the act.

Drivers lobbing rubbish out of their cars has been a problem for years, but amidst the backdrop of Covid-19, it’s only gotten worse.

The Sunday Times recently reported that litter pickers arranged by the local council in Mainstone collected an astonishing 1950 tonnes of litter over 12 months. This represents a 250 per cent rise on the year before, costing the local council £1.2 million.

For those who are contributing to that figure from cars, enforcement is easier said than done. Up until now, this has required someone being caught in the act and slapped with a fixed penalty notice, which very rarely happens. One solution being trialled is a smart surveillance system called ‘Littercam’.

According to the company that makes it, the patent-pending technology “uses Artificial Intelligence to remotely detect vehicle-based littering offences”. It can detect items as small as cigarette butts.

The footage is securely sent to a human to ensure the machine hasn’t made a mistake, at which point the DVLA is contacted to obtain the details of the car’s registered keeper. A week or two later, they’ll have a lovely fine of up to £120 landing on their doormat.

The cameras will be rolled out first in Maidstone, with Wigan soon following. There are plans to introduce them in Sheffield too, and if these early trials are successful, other regions will no doubt want in. In Maidstone, it’s hoped the technology will help increase annual fixed penalty notices from around 200 to over 1000.

Detecting cigarettes thrown from vehicles is not an easy task due to the size of a cigarette end. This video shows a LitterCam prototype showing detections of cigarette butts been thrown from vehicles at distances spanning 15 to over 55 metres away. LitterCam’s vehicle based littering detector technology has been designed to equip litter authorities with an effective solution, enabling them to use the civil littering powers for the offence of littering from vehicles.

Improving local environmental quality could be arguably best tackled by creating a strategy that focuses on reducing drinks on the go related litter. Defra’s June 2020 litter composition report (…) set out that 75% of litter by volume comprised of drinks on the go litter. Watch this video to see detection of the littering of drinks stirrers, single use cups, plastic bottles and cans.

CCTV cameras will soon have a new target – litter louts. AI software can now match footage of motorists throwing rubbish to their car’s number plate and issue an automatic fine of £90. The first trial of the potentially controversial new system will begin in Maidstone in Kent in a few weeks with other councils expected to follow.

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