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Westminster Council deploys AI against fly tippers


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Fly tipping site
Image source: Orton

Westminster City Council has deployed a combination of CCTV cameras and AI technology to catch fly tippers in the act.

It has begun a year-long trial of the technology at three hotspots where the problem is particularly bad and may introduce them in other areas in the future.

The council is working with technology supplier Vodafone and waste collection company Veolia on the initiative, as well as interacting with local businesses and residents encouraging them to organise collections for bulky waste. 

The cameras are not in continuous operation, but are trained by the AI to recognise what is likely or unlikely to be a case of fly tipping, and take stills of the former including a vehicle’s number plate to send with alerts to the council’s inspectors.

They are then able to review the footage and request driver details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and follow up with charges. If no driver is identified, the cameras can be used to build up a picture of what time fly tippers operate so that the council can intercept them in the act.

Disgraceful behaviour

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, cabinet member for city management and air quality, said: “Our teams work tirelessly to keep Westminster’s streets clean and tidy. We want to stamp out this disgraceful behaviour of abandoning household waste, soiled mattresses and building materials on the street.

“This ingenious technology will catch people out red handed to ensure they don’t do it again.”

The council said that since 2018, there has been a significant influx in fly tipping around Westminster with offenders dumping waste such as white goods, furniture and even toilets and kitchen sinks.

Problems with fly tipping have been a source of annoyance for residents with over 1,700 offences being recorded so far in 2022-23. In one hotspot alone there have been 192 events recorded in the last year.

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