To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what meetings his Department has had with fast food outlets on using vehicle recognition technology to print number plates on take-aways, to make it easier to trace people guilty of littering and fly-tipping.
Defra has not held meetings with fast food outlets specifically on using vehicle recognition technology to print vehicle registration numbers on take-away packaging. We do not think it would be appropriate to require take away vendors to implement such a system due to the additional regulatory burden it would place on these businesses. However, we strongly support voluntary initiatives to reduce littering and we know that some fast-food outlets have piloted similar schemes with some success. The success of any such scheme would be dependent on the willingness of the local authority to follow up with enforcement. Local authorities have the autonomy to decide how to prioritise their enforcement activities.
We believe that businesses should try to reduce the amount of litter their products generate. The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of particularly problematic litter, including fast-food packaging, smoking-related litter and chewing gum.
Our forthcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging will require producers to cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life, including litter. We plan to undertake a second consultation on EPR for packaging in early 2021. In preparation for that consultation, we are currently reviewing the proposed timeline for its introduction.