Councils ‘hope for CCTV litter crackdown’

Local authorities may use CCTV to identify those caught dropping litter on the roadside, a newspaper report suggests.

The Times quotes environment minister Joan Ruddock as saying many councils are keen to adopt fixed-penalty notices of up to £80 for littering if drivers can be caught using footage.

Those caught littering would not receive a criminal record or points on their licence but would be subject to prosecution if they failed to pay the fine, it reports.

Lobby groups like the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are calling on the government for harsher measures to ‘stop the drop’ and the calls of president Bill Bryson for harsher action are being met with sympathy by Ms Ruddock.

“I share Bill’s anger and concerns about the blight to rural areas,” the Times quoted her as saying.

It follows the revelation yesterday that Poole borough council used covert surveillance against a family they suspected of not living in a local school’s catchment area.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which is usually reserved for the monitoring of criminal and terrorist suspects, was used by the council and has sparked concerns about town halls’ growing preparedness to turn Britain into a ‘surveillance society’.

According to today’s Telegraph newspaper there are now over 1,000 applications a month for “directed surveillance” by councils and government departments.

Poole borough council’s director for children’s services John Nash told ITV’s Evening News programme the case was “justified” because of the need “to be fair to all parents”.

Human rights group Liberty said the surveillance was “ridiculously disproportionate”, however.