McDonalds franchisee considers using number plate tech to stop litterbugs

Kevin Foley, franchise owner at the Brundall A47 McDonalds, with the electric car Pod Point charging

Kevin Foley, franchise owner of McDonald's Cromer and seven other branches of the restaurant around Norfolk. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

Litterbugs with a taste for Quarter Pounders and Chicken McNuggets could be caught out by number plate cameras, under plans being considered.

McDonald's Cromer franchisee Kevin Foley said he was considering using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology as part of a crack down on litter around the new store, which opened a month ago off Holt Road. 

Mr Foley, who also runs seven other McDonald's branches in Norfolk, said the idea came up at a meeting with North Norfolk District Council and North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. 

He said: "I'm looking into it to see whether it's got legs, and I've spoken to a few ANPR professionals to see if we could possibly integrate it."

Under the idea, the number plates of vehicles at the drive through would be scanned and automatically printed on the customers' receipts, meaning it could be identified if it was thrown away along with discarded packaging. 

ANPR could be a way of reducing littering around McDonald's branches. 

ANPR could be a way of reducing littering around McDonald's branches. - Credit: Chris Bishop

The scheme has already been trialled in Basildon, but Mr Foley said the concept was not without its challenges. 

He said: "There is a question of whether it is intended littering, or whether it's blown out of someone's window, or fallen off a bin lorry. We've got two restaurants in Yarmouth and the biggest problem there is with the seagulls pulling the rubbish out of bins looking for food.

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"We're always looking into anything that could reduce litter. It's very easy to say the technology is there but it's a question of whether that bag or rubbish that was found was purposely thrown out of the window of a car."

Mr Baker said the idea had originally been brought up by a constituent.

He said: "We asked if this could be looked into further. Anything that could be used as a deterrent to stop people littering is a positive step forward." 

Also discussed at the meeting were littering hotspots identified around the new Cromer store, which Mr Foley said included Cromer skatepark and Runton Road Car Park. 

He said he was spending more than £12,000 on a new electric van which would be driven around Cromer on clean-up patrols three or four times a week, in addition to the daily litter picking the store's two caretakers already carry out.  

Mr Foley said they were also working with NNDC on providing funding for new bins around Cromer, and would work with the council on the issue of roadside littering.

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