Peterborough council tracks fly-tippers with AI cameras

By Katy Prickett and Joanna TaylorBBC News and Local Democracy Reporting Service
Emma Baugh/BBC Paul Putnam and Michael LeeEmma Baugh/BBC
Earlier this year, the BBC joined staff at Peterborough City Council as they collected fly-tipped rubbish

Cameras fitted with artificial intelligence (AI) are being used to catch people who illegally dump waste.

The technology used by Peterborough City Council (PCC) helps identify images of dumped rubbish and pinpoint the moment the discarded waste appears.

The number of fly-tipping incidents being reported in the city increased during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

A report presented to councillors wrote: "Fly-tipping continues to be an issue across the city and country."

Emma Baugh/BBC Fly-tipped rubbish in PeterboroughEmma Baugh/BBC
Thousands of cases of fly-tipped waste are recorded in Peterborough each year

There were 9,748 fly-tipping incidents reported in Peterborough in 2019, but 11,517 reported in 2020.

A slightly higher figure of 11,972 incidents was logged last year, the council said.

The report was presented to PCC's climate change and environment scrutiny committee earlier this month.

PCC issued 107 fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping between April 2022 and March 2023. It hoped the cameras would improve its enforcement rates.

A council spokeswoman said three sets of cameras were being deployed and they had been in use for "several months."

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