A local fly-tipping hotspot in Dartford which saw the council removing up to three tonnes of fly-tipped material each week has been left 'recognisable' and clean after new camera technology was used as a deterrent.

The community recycling centre off Birchwood golf course has been a heavily hit by illegal fly-tipping for years, a regular dumping ground despite the use of covert and overt cameras, signage and other measures.

Dartford Borough Council said the fly-tipping, typically around three tonnes every week, was putting a lot of pressure on a very small team.

CCTV cameras were in place before, and were capturing around 50 incidents of fly-tipping a week at the spot, but they weren't always able to pick up on the vehicle's registration plate, making it tricky to identify the offender and provide solid evidence when issuing fines.

As this issue continued, more and more people carelessly dumped their rubbish at the fly-tipping hotspot, meaning that the local public were unable to use the centre for its real purpose and causing further environmental damage to the Dartford region.

So WasteWatch Cam was installed six months ago, and the area is nearly spotless, with the cameras working as a significant deterrent to would be fly-tippers.

News Shopper: Birchwood Road, Dartford, after WasteWatch Cam was installed.Birchwood Road, Dartford, after WasteWatch Cam was installed.

Just seven fly-tippers took place in the first month it was installed, with all of them captured, issued Fixed Penalty Notices and all of them were paid.

Dartford Borough Council is now deploying WasteWatch Cam to a number of other locations around the county infamous for their fly-tipping, including a lay-by outside New Barn.

A spokesperson from Dartford council added: “The camera is taking huge pressure off my small team and I cannot endorse this solution enough.”

The technology system was created by three companies, Business Insight 3, Kingdom Systems and Kingdom L A Support.

They have harnessed advanced technology combined with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to not only detect the fly-tipping offences in real-time, but also see to it that the individual is held accountable.

Once the camera is in place, it uses video analytics to detect cars that arrive on-site, people getting out of cars and even the objects they are discarding of – be it as small as a fast-food bag, or as large as a washing machine.

The amount of light there is also doesn’t affect its capabilities, being able to identify these movements equally well from day to night.

This data is raised as an instant alert, with all the supporting details such as screenshots of number plates, faces and objects passed to the experienced in-house team who take immediate action in the form of fines, warnings and – where that is not followed through – prosecution.

“Local authorities like Dartford Borough Council do not have the time or resources to be trawling through hours and hours of CCTV footage in the hopes to capture fly-tippers, only to find that the resolution is so poor that they can’t make out a number plate”, explains John Roberts, Head of Local Authority Support at WasteWatch.

“The only other alternative is for local authorities, who definitely have better things to do, to manually search through the waste to find some kind of form of address that could identify the culprit. Neither make sense – from a cost, time-management or effectiveness perspective.”

“But, with WasteWatch Cam in place, fly-tippers are correctly identified, alerts are raised and FPNs are issued – sometimes before the offender has even driven away from the area. And this is completely end-to-end, wasting no council or authority resources and is accurate every time. It’s also free to councils as long as a certain number of tickets are raised.”

Richard Eaves, Head of Technology at WasteWatch, adds: “We’re so pleased with the difference that WasteWatch Cam has made to this fly-tipping hotspot in the Dartford region. Seeing incident numbers dropping and the space finally looking clean and tidy makes all of our work worth it.”