New artificial intelligence cameras are set to be installed on motorways to catch litter louts red-handed.
High-tech AI cameras will be put in place in lay-bys in the coming weeks as part of a trial to detect littering drivers and issue them with fines of up to £100.
The cameras will be able to scan the area to spot people throwing rubbish out of their vehicles and automatically send images to an enforcement control room.
It marks a significant change from the current process, whereby enforcement officers have to trawl through hours of traditional CCTV footage to identify offenders.
Under the new AI system, the control room will review images immediately and issue a fixed penalty charge to the person registered to the number plate.
National Highways has teamed up with East Hampshire county council subsidiary ECHS, who will manage the cameras and issue the fines, as the highways body does not have the power to take enforcement action.
It hasn’t been confirmed exactly where the cameras will be placed, but they are expected to be dotted across the south east, with a few likely along the A3 in Hampshire.
Pressure has been building on National Highways to clean up the road network across the country.
Last month, transport minister Richard Holden admitted almost 40% of National Highways roads were graded below B for litter, which means significant levels of rubbish were found.
Campaign group Clean Up Britain said in February that it would launch legal action against the highways body unless the litter situation on the country’s motorways improves, reports The Telegraph.
John Read, founder of Clean Up Britain, said the group has been filming major roads to show people the scale of the problem.
He said: ‘The British public need to see what a disgusting, filthy, rancid country they live in. It’s really sad to say that but it’s true.
‘And we seem to have lost our pride and respect in Britain. We need desperately to get it back because at the moment the country looks like an open cast tip.
‘It really does, it looks like a rubbish bin. We can do so much better than that, but we need to start really understanding it’s a major problem.’
Freda Rashdi, head of customer journeys at National Highways, said: ‘Littering is a social problem across the country and we’re working hard to tackle it on our roads.
‘We regularly carry out litter-picking activities across our roads and are actively exploring other initiatives to address this problem.
‘But if people don’t drop litter in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up – so we urge road users to take their litter home instead of throwing it out of their windows.’
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